Sayle has both mellowed and hardened over the years; he's very much more sympathetic to some of his characters than he was in 'Train to Hell', but the world view here is still desperately dark and cynical. The protagonists (who are basically glove puppets for his usual, very funny style of observational surrealism) never achieve any kind of happy ending, and rarely end up better off than they were at the beginning. It's never their fault; they just tend to be in the wrong (or right) place at the wrong time.
Sayle manages to get off some vicious shots at the media world he simultaneously inhabits and despises (what did Vic and Bob - sorry, Nic and Tob - ever do to him?), but the real anger in these cleverly-constructed stories is directed at hypocrisy and stupidity on a wider scale, from rich Londoners living in a self-created bubble, to the Catholic Church, and most successfully in 'The Minister for Death', to society's attitude towards pensioners. Most of the time this works well; occasionally a slightly lighter touch might have worked better.
This isn't really a comedy book - despite the fact it contains some of the funniest stuff I've read in years (the end of 'My Life's Work' may have caused me physical harm from laughing so much). What humour it contains is as black as it gets, but all the more refreshing for being so.
It's unlike anything else you will read for years, which is recommendation enough in itself. If you like Sayle's stuff, buy it. If you're not sure, buy it anyway, as it slips down deceptively easily, but be aware that you'll need a dark sense of humour to get the joke in some cases.