Set in South London in the 1980s. Brenton Brown is a 16-year-old mixed-race youth who has lived in a children’s home all his life. He has never met his mother and is haunted by her loss. The best thing happens: Brenton is reunited with his mother, Cynthia. And the worst: he falls in love with his beautiful half-sister, Juliet. At the same time, Brenton meets his Nemesis in the shape of Terry Flynn, a killer who scars him for life. Brenton seeks revenge. All this leads to an explosive climax with the troubled teenager struggling to hold on to his sanity.
Winner Of The London Arts Board's New London Writer's Award
Arcadia Books UK
WF Howes Audio
Play produced by Big House Theatre 2017
(Channel 4 - The story behind Brixton Rock)
‘Brixton Rock is a pacey document of teenage angst… which is why the pockets of humour… prove to be such a triumph. This is a debut which confirms its author…a pro in prose.’
‘The story trundles along energetically but the novel’s real strength lies in the dialogue. Wheatle gives us a fascinating snapshot of black English in the early eighties’
'Alex Wheatle's narrative is pacey; witty; his characters real and recognisable.'
Linton Kwesi Johnson
'Alex Wheatle’s Brixton Rock has initiated the debate on how it feels to be a mixed race Briton.'
'Sharp-edged and sardonically funny, Brixton Rock is Graham Greene for the hip-hop generation - a strong and quirky debut by Alex Wheatle.'
'Wheatle has a powerful subject which he made into a Brighton Rock for contemporary England, a story about the inner life of a wounded social outcast who is redeemed while being a criminal.'
World Literature Today
'A great debut novel. Really, really exciting story… Alex Wheatle will be a great writer…brilliant ending.'
Greater London Radio
'...powerful debut ...a real page turner. The mystery and intrigue just keeps on coming as the suspense builds to an explosive ending.'
The Big Issue
'A powerful first novel… the very best book I have read so far this year…extremely explosive…beautifully descriptive passages which are in a commendable and original style…if you are not thrilled by the book and moved to tears by the final denouncement, you have no right to call yourself a book lover.'
'…an excellent debut… Wheatle's choice of chapter headings reads like a classic late seventies reggae collection… his prose too is liberally sprinkled with knowing references to Marley lyrics,…you're going to love this.'
'Brixton Rock is a funny fast-paced read and shows that Wheatle has definite promise.'