This book is nearly the polar opposite of the first book. Where the other was forced and awkward, this one is natural and well-paced, with a storytelling and characterization that doesn't make you resent the characters or the author. It helped that he wasn't interested in "saying something important" which is where his biggest failures came from the first book in the series. The most noticeable issue with this book is it's tendency to overend. He seems to write a natural ending every once every fifteen pages for the last sixty or so pages. Considering the rate at which he improved from book one in the series to book two, I'm not worried about Lehane's ability to sort this issue out in future books.
I'm just glad I stuck with the series after the disastrous first book.