Not a lot actually happens in this novel. A man has been murdered and dumped by a road in West London. His body has been beaten with hammers and is a gruesome mess. The sergeant follows around the wreck of the man's life and listens to a series of autobiographical tapes. There isn't much of mystery, the sergeant knows who did it, although he won't say outright but waits for the criminals to show themselves.
As such it's a strange book, it seems almost autobiographical, the policeman and the victim seeming to be facets of Raymond's (aka Robin Cook's) life, moving as he did in different classes. It's a good read that avoids crime fiction cliché and draws into the grimy underworld of London. It's also strangely out of time, although written in the 80s it could easily be set in the 50s, but with reel to reel instead of casettes.