This masterpiece of psychological realism is often considered Graham Greene's best novel, a classic of its kind. It is a fascinating study of evil, sin, and the "appalling strangeness of the mercy of God."
Set in Brighton, England, among the criminal rabble, this book depicts the tragic career of a seventeen-year-old boy named Pinkie whose primary ambition is to lead a gang to rival that of the wealthy and established Colleoni. His calamitous childhood and repressed sexuality combine to create a force of evil that is both fascinating and repellent. As a Catholic, he is convinced that his retribution does not lie in human hands and is therefore not prepared for Ida Arnold, Hale's avenging angel who takes up the challenge of bringing justice to the contemptible Pinkie.