Today's São Paulo, where great wealth and grinding poverty exist side by side, is a star player in Scudamore's absorbing second novel (after The Amnesia Clinic). Born in the slums of São Paulo, Ludo dos Santos lucked out when, as a child, the extravagantly wealthy Zé Fischer Carnicelli took in Ludo and his mother, giving her a job as domestic help and him a safe place to live. Now grown, Ludo is having trouble finding his way: the company he works for profits by exploiting those unlucky enough to live in the slums; his boss is perpetually disappointed in him (late night partying has Ludo snoozing on the bathroom floor at work); and he's having sex with Melissa, a married woman who happens to be his adoptive sister. But what begins as an innocuous run-in with a street kid launches Ludo on an existential quest that could have mortal implications. Issues of race and class spark a wily, layered, and savvy narrative ("money makes you whiter," Ludo says) where nods to Great Expectations coexist nicely with Scudamore's morbid humor and blistering social commentary.