This is your textbook example of a 3 star book. Right between all the good and all the bad books. The story was gripping, the moral dilemmas were interesting, the build-up was well carried out.
It worked as a satire on media, violence disguised as art and entertainment and basically our society that doesn't want to take responsibility for anything. There is a whole industry dedicated to finding the culprit of just about anything that goes wrong in your life, and check this - that's never you!
So all the above were the good bits. The premise was good. The characters... well, not so much. For example we had teenage American white trash speaking like British comics. Sometimes they would speak with a complete disregard of grammar rules and showing an IQ of bonobo chimpanzees, but when Elton thought of something funny they would all of a sudden produce eloquent complex sentences like:
"Well, I guess a plan to avoid being executed for murder, Bruce. I can't think of an agenda more immediate than that for people in the position me and Scout find ourselves in". That is sarcasm! Two American teengers with half a brain between both of them would not be sarcastic.
At some point Ben Elton must have realised he let it go too far and that two teenagers who drop out from school when they were 13 could not possibly be able communicate like that so he made a desperate effort to explain it through his narrator. Well, apparently it is because they watch a lot of television. They watched television all the time and that made them smart. Good news, if watching television makes you so smart we have a generation of geniuses entering the labour market right now.
My other complaint about this 'viciously funny satire' is, well, that it wasn't. Funny, that is. That might be me, though. There are other things that other people find hilarious and I don't. Like Little Britian, for example.
There was one scene in the book that did make me chuckle, when Elton's narrator was taking the piss out of mornings shows on tv. God, how I hate those. Just because it is 8 am and our brains haven't fully woken up yet doesn't mean you should treat us like imbeciles. So other than this scene, Eltone was mildly amusing at best. But he did try very hard. Too hard.