Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Synopsis from Amazon:
A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene’s gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the ‘dangerous edge of things’.
I picked up this book for part of my dissertation reading (the portrayal of Brighton in fiction) and wow, it certainly portrays life in the town in a dark, horrific way. Brighton Rock follows Pinkie, a heartless man as he tries to become a gang leader. He kills a journalist without any remorse. Just as he thinks this is the start of big things, he starts to be hunted down by Ida Arnold, who wants justice for Hale’s death. As events unfold Pinkie takes all sorts of measures to remain safe and in control, including more death, but he may just have underestimated Ida…
I didn’t know what to expect when starting this book, especially as the opening line is:
“Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.”
I actually enjoyed this book. It was a slow read, and sometimes I got a little bored but overall it was exciting, with murder, fear, love and suspicion. The book shows a dark side of Brighton, with gang wars and dingy hide-outs. The ending was not what I expected either – and probably not how I would have written it, but a good way to end the book.
I liked Ida best. Pinkie was too arrogant and moody for me – he had lots of mood swings, which although fitting for his character, did annoy me somewhat after a while. Ida on the other hand, she was big and brave. She was clever and determined – and not easily scared. I think she was the most courageous character in the book.
Although written in the 1930s, this is a good crime novel, and just as exciting as modern-day thrillers. If you like suspense, and adventure, this book is worth reading.