The book is obviously based to a certain extent on Gores' own life. He says in the preface, "In Cases I have tried to mix fact and fiction so thoroughly that nobody -- not even myself -- can now untangle them." I think it's pretty easy to untangle them in some instances, but if I say too much about that it might spoil some of the fun of the book, which is a wonderful depiction of the time and the places (especially San Francisco) that Dunc describes.
This is a fix-up book, and a lot of it was published as separate stories in various places, but don't let that fool you. Everything is connected, even a lot of things you might not expect, and it all pays off with a series of little explosions in the final chapters that are hardboiled to the core. Great stuff, and it proves again, as if any proof were needed, how much we lost when Joe Gores died.