I read this after I had read "Rancid Aluminium" which I believe to be the second novel from James Hawes. A lot of the things I really enjoyed about Rancid Aluminium were not so well developed in White Merc With Fins. For a start I have to say what he means are spoilers not fins. Fins are what you have on 1950s cars! The characters are more shallow, and they are shallow because they depict shallow people. I think if I had read this book when it first was published I would have empathised a lot more with the characters in it, especially the "hero" in that I was about his age at the time the book was written and probably shared a lot more of his attitudes then than I do now.
The book almost had a nostalgic feel to it. Perhaps the pop culture references which resonate with the 1990s and the whole feel seems to take me back to those times... I've moved on and so has the world. I think maybe if you weren't a groovy young thing in the 90s (maybe you are a groovy young thing now) then a lot of the charm of the book will be lost on you.
I enjoyed it, but not as much as Rancid Aluminium. I will be reading more of James Hawes work, but I will be hoping to find this the starting point of his writing career rather than the standard of it.