Over twenty years on, Brenton Brown, the kid from the children's home has made good. He has qualifications, runs his own business and owns his own home, but his past haunts him. He doesn't want to live with secrets and lies from his youth but it's not only his future that will be affected should the truth emerge.
A tutor once remarked on one of my literature essays, that I should remember that characters in fiction are not real people but literary devices. I disagree; when I read, I want the characters to be people I can get to know. Alex Wheatle writes his characters so convincingly that the reader knows them inside out. They may be flawed, they may make mistakes, we may disagree with them but we understand where they are coming from.
Sequels are often disappointing but this one is every bit as good as Brixton Rock, or even better. If I had to, I could make a couple of minor criticisms of this novel; an occasional sentence that could have been reworked, an overused phrase, but these are trifling details compared with the vivid settings, pace, dialogue and plot.
It's not always a comfortable read but I couldn't put it down, except when I had to take a few deep breaths. Read it.