“Brighton Rock” by Graham Greene

I recently read this novel for a seminar I’m taking. I read the back and it caught my attention right away, “murder, menace, and evil.” Now if that doesn’t sound gripping, then I don’t know what does.

The novel was great right from the start. It keeps you in the dark about a lot of things and has twists and turns that make it suspenseful and entertaining.

The novel follows Pinkie, also known as “the Boy,” who is the new head of a mob after the old head of the mod, a guy named Kite, is killed. Pinkie is seventeen and is involved with crime. The back cover says, “Crime, in his dark mind, is a release so deep and satisfying that he has no need for a drink or women or the love of his fellows.”

I’ve read a lot of books and crime fiction, and Pinkie is probably the most evil character that I have ever encountered. He seems like he could be a nice enough guy at the beginning and I just kept hoping that something would change his ways, maybe Rose, a sixteen-year-old girl he meets at a restaurant called Snow’s. Nothing seems to do the trick and even though Rose falls madly in love with him, even though she knows some of his darkest secrets, he treats her horribly. And I mean, really horribly. You should read it to find out. I couldn’t believe the things he did to that poor girl (and no, rape was not one of them).

Throughout the story we learn about Pinkie’s past and are maybe able to somewhat understand why he is the way he is, but it’s still hard to believe that someone this young can be this horrendous.

After killing a man named Fred, a.k.a. Charles Hale, a.k.a. Kolley Kibber, Ida Arnold, a woman who knew “Fred” for a few hours begins to hunt Pinkie down and get justice for his crime. Pinkie tries to hide behind Rose, but that doesn’t seem to help at all.

Apparently Greene write a lot of characters with “colour names,” that is, names that have a colour somewhere in them, like PINKie, for example. Through these characters, Greene is supposedly revealing parts of himself. And if you ask me, that’s a little bit scary! Greene was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during his lifetime and so he went through many highs and lows, but to think that he relates to Pinkie is kind of terrifying.

In my opinion, “Brighton Rock” is a definite must read! It’s gripping, it’s fast, and it’s horrible. What more could you want?

Also, I found this trailer for the movie version and thought it looked really great. Take a look, but be sure to read the novel first. Novels are always better than movie versions.

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