The focus is on the interplay behind a handful of friends and family who find themselves together at the family patriarch's funeral when all hell literally breaks loose. The characters each represent a point of view about faith and spirituality; at least the males do. I was very disappointed at the lack of strong female characters; despite being half the cast their entire job is to cry, bandage wounds and die.
The characters all blend together in my head. Max stands out as the main protagonist with the most "screen time", and his uncle Buddy stands out because he was such an asshole. All the other characters seem like shades of each other; they only stand out uniquely in one on one conversation but are immediately forgotten again. This may be because they are all white, hetero and middle class.
The action was very well paced, but the violence wasn't as gory as I like. The action did keep moving the story along though. There were no steamy scenes, but given the scenario and the pacing sexual encounters would not be appropriate.
About half way through the book I realized the main protagonist Max is an allegory for Jesus in the days before his crucifixion, and I was able to wade through the author's sermons because I was looking forward to the next reference. I wasn't disappointed, and the climax wherein Max all but cries "Why hast thou forsaken me??!?" was very well played.
Even though I found myself rolling my eyes at the christian point of view, the story is well constructed and the writing solid despite the weak characterization. I made a point of finishing it to claim the moral high ground; I may not agree with the points the author wants to convey, but I'm man enough to listen to all of them.