Pigeon English By Stephen Kelman

Bloomsbury

ISBN: 978-1408810637 (Paperback)

Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a block of flats on an inner-city housing estate. The second-best runner in the whole of year 7, Harri races through his new life in his personalised trainers – the Adidas stripes drawn on with marker pen – blissfully unaware of the very real threat all around him.

With equal fascination for the local gang – the Dell Farm Crew – and for the pigeon who visits his balcony, Harri absorbs the many strange elements of his life in England: watching, listening and learning the tricks of urban survival.

But when a boy is knifed to death on the high street and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start his own murder investigation. In doing so he unwittingly endangers the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to try to keep them safe.