It seems as though people really like this book or they really don't. Thems that don't get kind of pissed when they hear the people who really liked it say they really liked it. Odd. Me? I really liked it.
Oh, I wasn't crazy about how things resolved and kind of saw some of it coming but I'll trade that slight dissatisfaction with the number of times I laughed out loud or reread a paragraph because it provided me one of those breathless moments I love when I read, something that hasn't happened in a while (great line on page 157 about fathers and sons, for example). Clarke shines throughout the book with what becomes a strange detective story and a cast of oddball characters in odd situations. And did I mention it's funny? I think it's deserving of the attention and acclaim it has received. Others would disagree but the book evokes a reaction or a feeling one way or the other and that is testament to his skill as a writer. I've read books I liked and others I didn't but 6 months later, I couldn't tell you what they were about. Love or hate Arsonist's, I think it'll stay with you for a long time.