Compelling characters and a thriller-type plot make this a good read. It's not quite as fast-paced as a thriller, but the dystopian alternate USA is both vivid and scary.
The book needed both an editor and a copy editor. The author doesn't quite pull off all the tense changes and there are a few annoying misused words. Weird and truly annoying was the overuse of italicized words. It was distracting. I subtracted 1 star for these problems.
If you read Pharmacide AFTER Nelson's other works such as "You Morbund Westfall", you'll feel a bit out of sorts at first. The trip comes on slower and seems more like normal reality at first but the destination is just as wonderful.
The character development is there in spades and the fireworks and tracers are spectacular. You'll enjoy this quite a bit, I do believe. :)