This book is set in your basic, criminals in a fantasy city, setting and structured as a mystery (which I enjoy). We follow the exploits of genius con-artist Locke Lamora (surprise!) as he runs an extensive scam on the city's nobility only to find himself embroiled in another person's scheme.
On thing that stands out is that the book contains two stories. The main storyline and an additional one that takes place in Locke's childhood. This is done in a way so that the latter supports the former, which eliminates the need for lengthy explanations in the 'main' storyline.
The mystery is a solid one as well and the book doesn't eschew the use of violence and causing casualties.
Very enjoyable if you like these sort of stories or mysteries in general. Will certainly read the next book as well.