There's a lot of threads here, and like a tapestry, they start out separately and Bagley skillfully, albeit slowly, weaves them together, until they come crashing down on top of each other in the wildest way.
I don't need to go into the plot here too much; let it suffice to say that I enjoyed the novel a lot. It's a realistic, believable crime story with some great touches of dark humor.
The story doesn't move as quickly as the typical crime novel, but nor does it drag. Bagley leads us from location to location, where he displays a real talent for setting the feel of a time and place. At times, it felt a little heavy on detail, but never to the point where it detracted from the story. It's easy to get bogged down in that kind of detail-oriented writing, but Bagley sidestepped that trap nicely.
Bagley also displayed a knack for creating "real" people in this work: his characters were well-rounded, sympathetic and believable. Unlike many crime stories, each of these individuals came across as human beings who had real wants and desires; nobody was two-dimensional or seemed created simply to fill a necessary niche. Charlie "Hag" Hagopian came the closest to that, but with just a slight few peeks into the parts of his past and psyche that Bagley chose to reveal to us, he managed to develop the character just enough to keep him from being a stereotypical redneck psycho.
The novel wasn't perfect, though: there are a lot of copy-edit errors involving missing words and that served as a hitch in the flow of my reading, especially when more than one word could have easily fit into the sentence. There are also a few inconsistencies in the prose, such as a character's name switching from Dean to Terry for a single sentence and a description in one scene that a character couldn't realistically have seen the way he was described as having done so. I had to wrap my head around that one for a minute before just writing it off and moving on. These are relatively minor things, though, that one more editing pass would have caught and didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the book.
As I mentioned, this is not only Bagley's first novel, but his only to date. I wish there were more, because I'd have already bought them. This was an incredibly strong debut and I predict nothing greatness from Bagley's future works.
Very much recommended. You can get yourself a copy on Amazon right here and I hope you do.