I debated hard on this between a 2 and a 3 star rating. It is fairly well written (at least not in need of an editor and flowed well) and was a compelling enough story. That said, there really aren't any literary merits and there are a few conveniences and just sloppy plot points.
First, the whole Virgil, Boone, Taggart connection was just too convenient. LA is a very big area with lots and lots of people. Boone should not (and plot-wise did not need to) run into Virgil prior to meeting him out at Taggart's ranch for the first time.
Next, at one point Boone notes he as $20 to payday and then goes and buys some stuff, fills his car with gas, and even visits Dr. Ock (a $70 bill). Either be consistent about the cash or don't mention it, I found it annoying.
Third, I wasn't sure why Boone lies to Robo (who knows the Oscar story), but tells the truth to Carl. Why not tell them both the truth (especially if he feels guilty about asking them for help because they have families) and let them decide if they want to get involved.
Fourth, I was expecting Taggart and Olivia to get jumped at the search point (doesn't make sense why it is okay for one guy with a gun to search the car with money but not TAKE THE MONEY!). So, it was a surprise that Spiller was killed...but why would Mando do this and not take the money from Taggart and Olivia at their checkpoint?
I realize that Lange was trying for depth with the characters by allowing us to see inside a lot of people's heads; but I didn't buy it and I despite his effort to show that people have lots of motivations and things are not just black and white I still didn't like the bad guys and was rooting for the good guys.
Finally, the shootout was probably enough at the drop in the ghost town. I thought the explosion was over the top and then the huge wave was just ridiculous. You could feel Lange hoping to segue into a movie with the unnecessary action sequence. Overall it was a fun summer page turner.