I don't think Ties of Silver
was an unqualified success. If nothing else, it was really educational.
For me, part of the problem might have been the pace and timbre of the reading. I understand why the growly voice and the measured, deliberate reading. I found it difficult to listen to on my car speakers though. (It was easier when I switched to headphones after I'd finished my commute.) The pace didn't draw me in, especially since the first half hour or so is structured exactly as I'd expected the story to be. (I should point out that the reading is actually quite good, just not for me. I think I'd have enjoyed the story more had I read it. However, I might have skimmed until the good part.)
The story, however, does hit the heights of awesome in its back half. Those who find the first half compelling enough to stick with it will be amply rewarded. This makes me think that it's never too late to hit the heights of awesome... as long as you can pull the readers with you until then.
In any case, lots of gritty, well-defined atmosphere. The story is mostly by the numbers but exceptionally well done. If I had to quibble, romanticization of the ghetto generally sits with me the wrong way and this story isn't an exception. Given a choice of whether to be ghettoized or not, there's a real cost to voluntary ghettoization. The story recognizes this by listing the benefits of not being ghettoized, but that feels dry and abstract.
The story ends pretty much the way it had to end for everything to pay off. I just wish it hadn't stacked the deck.