When I was little, I always thought it would be pretty much the best thing ever to live in a beach town or a ski resort town. The vacation fun never stops when you live there year round, right? Right? While on the vacation, I used to imagine the house my family would live in and what our day to day existence would be like. Fortunately (though perhaps unfortunately for 11 year old me) my parents knew better and dutifully returned all of us to our non-beach, non-ski resort town at the end of every vacation.
The characters in Brighton Rock do live in a resort town. It is nothing like a daily vacation that I used to dream about when little, though. They are gang members in a mob of young thugs that is falling apart. They continually try to consolidate their power against the rival (and much better funded) Colleoni gang, only to be thwarted at every opportunity. Basically, they kill someone, then to cover their tracks, they keep having to kill other people, until there are like 2 gang members left. Plus the head of the gang figures he has to marry a local waitress who has a clue to the murder so that she cannot testify about what she saw. The book is dark and sad. I couldn't help feeling bad for Pinkie, the mob leader, and Rose, the young woman who he marries. They are just sad, sad people.
I liked this book though. I liked how it was set up with the gang members constantly trying to outwit Ida Arnold, who has seen something and is out to discover the truth about the original death.