A musician turned lawyer struggles with his love life while prosecuting a rape case. Pete Tyler is a former grunge musician turned prosecutor in Seattle, and at age thirty-six (going on forty, he constantly tells people), Pete draws the case of another musician who allegedly date-raped a young, eighteen-year old woman. Pete is infrequently dating a woman named Winter, who works at a club called the Lusty, where she works as a dancer. Pete also frequents clubs, bars, and musical venues, drinks heavily, and goes home with whatever girl will go home with him. As Pete and his co-counselor Scott work to get a plea bargain out of the accused rapist, Keith Junior, Pete meets Esme, a young executive with SubPop records. He also hears that one of his former flames, Beth, is back in town, though nobody seems to know where she actually is. Pete begins to question the direction of his life, especially since he is pushing forty, and begins telling Scott, his mother, and anyone else who will listen that he is getting married - though he doesn't know when or to who. Winter tells Pete that she is in a serious relationship with another man, and that the two are engaged to be married. At the same time, Esme begins hinting to Pete that she wants to move in with him because she is giving up her apartment and maybe going to law school at Yale. Pete brushes her off more than once, until Esme gives up and breaks up with him. The rape case goes to trial, and Pete and Scott do their best to convince the jury that Keith Junior did, indeed, rape the young woman. The jury, however, comes back with a hung verdict, and the judge is forced to schedule a new trial with a new jury - until Keith Junior loudly and publicly announces to the young woman, Amber, that he is sorry for what he did. Pete tracks Esme down to her parent's house, where he tells her that he wants to try again, but Esme is firm - they had their time, and it's over. Pete then finds Winter, who shows off her engagement ring to Pete. Feigning happiness, Pete leaves Winter and heads back into the city to face an uncertain future.
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Best part of story, including ending:
While the characters and story were great, the entire book read like a love letter to Seattle, with a constant litany of names, places, and landmarks that the author knows well, but fly over the head of anyone not from Seattle.
Best scene in story:
I enjoyed the scene where Pete left Scott at a strip club and went back into the city to try and win Esme back. It was a turning point for Pete, even though it was too little, too late.
Opinion about the main character:
Pete is a borderline alcoholic who has grown up in some ways and refuses to grow at all in others, until he begins to look at himself and questions what he's actually doing with his life.