As Rob reaches the end of a seven year stretch inside, he winds up in an open prison in Brixton. Each morning, he exits the prison gates and begins the short walk to a local charity shop, where he spends the day in the backroom sorting through other people’s discarded belongings. All he needs to do is keep his nose out of trouble and in just a few months’ time, he’ll be out for good.
One morning in the bustle of commuters on Brixton Hill, Rob notices a well-dressed woman trip over. He helps her up and they exchange a few words before parting ways, but she’s made a lasting impression on him. From that day on, Rob keeps an eye out for her – and always seems to get lucky with a sighting. Despite coming from very different worlds, the pair slowly become acquainted and Rob gets increasingly desperate to hide his current residence from her.
But who exactly is this woman who seems to have a growing interest in him? Rob must be very careful – one false step and it could set him back years…
Brixton Hill is an addictive, well-written novel about Rob, nearing the end of his sentence in an open prison in Brixton, and going out to work in a local charity shop. At this stage, Rob just needs to keep his head down so he can be released as planned in a few months. He gets talking to Steph and is captivated – and soon looks forward to seeing her every day… but is she hiding something from Rob?
I really liked the way this novel was written – it’s got tension and mystery but none of it is presented in an overly dramatic way. It’s quite understated really; very much the opposite of ‘non’stop action’. I don’t feel like anything was added to the story just for shock value or to create drama and it all feels quite authentic and realistic. It’s quite a slow burner, which no doubt reflects the very nature of prison itself, and yet I still felt myself not wanting to put the book down, at all – it’s addictive reading. I also enjoyed finding out more about open prisons and how they work.
I don’t want to give too much more away about the story but I would definitely recommend this atmospheric, intriguing read.