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Death Wish by [Garfield, Brian]
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Death Wish Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

One hell of a book a concrete jungle cliffhanger --Robert Ludlum

A scary novel --The New York Times

About the Author

Brian Garfield has an MA from the University of Arizona and is the author of more than twenty novels, several nominated for awards, and of numerous short pieces. Over 20 million copies of his books have been published worldwide, and several films are based on his work. He divides his time between California and New Mexico.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 543 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road (14 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006ZE1JA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #822,343 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Death Wish is an excellent novel about vigilantism. When tragedy strikes Paul Benjamin's life he slowly develops into a serial killer. What makes the story special is that it isn't about revenge so much as anger. In a bad thriller Benjamin would track his wife and daughter's attackers and kill them one by one, receiving easy catharsis. But here the crime which drives Benjamin's psychosis is left unsolved, and he ends up tracking and killing random criminals.
In one harrowing scene he's accosted by a mugger near his home, and dispassionately shoots him. The mugger, a shivering drug addict, is not evil but pathetic. We believe him when he says he doesn't want to hurt Benjamin. He's just desperate for money, so his murder leaves us not titillated but sad. It's a great author who can make us sympathise with victims of vigilantism and not just pander to our blood lust. My pity was stirred even when he tracked a man about to rob a sleeping vagrant. Faced with the barrel of a gun in a lonely park, the man betrays how scared he is, and that moved me.
I'd recommend this novel to anyone who thinks they identify with vigilantes. The loss Benjamin suffers is appalling, and on that level his descent is understandable. To see his once bright, promising daughter become a vegetable warps him powerfully, as do the details of his wife's murder, and then he makes the wrong choices. What happens explains but doesn't excuse what he becomes.
He is, quite simply, a murderer, and the great thing about Death Wish is that it understands that. While his daughter's husband struggles to draw her out of herself Benjamin loses interest, too focused on waging war against lowlifes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The basic premise of the book focuses on an average white collar guy with liberal values who goes through a very unsettling transformation into a vigilante killer. This metamorphosis is the direct result of his family being attacked by merciless assailants. People may have watched the film, but this book is a different creature altogether. It's a serious and sober analysis of the character's mental breakdown, and the personality that emerges from the despair.

One example worthy of note is when he sees a group of teenagers. He views them with distrust and suspicion, whereas he self-acknowledges that before the attack on his family he would have been thinking along the lines of voting for community resources to go into a sports project of some description to engage them.

The book's not oversized and can be read in a short space of time which makes it perfect as a bridge to jump directly into the sequel which is Death Sentence.

I found the film entertaining and it achieved what it wanted, i.e. to make you root for the victim and relish the summary justice he delivers to them in unwavering fashion, but, and this is the big BUT, the book begins to make you consider the ill effects of vigilantism on the character. It grips you rather than entertains you, but is all the more compelling for it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Surprisingly, much better than the Michael Winner film - less lurid and more cerebral.
Nevertheless, somewhat uneven.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 33 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! Better Movie! 27 Jan. 2007
By Paul Manfredi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I finally ordered a used copy of this book after having owned the movie on DVD for years. I loved the movie and always wondered about the book. It's very easy to read and keeps your attention. I was flying through it faster than most books that I read. It's always a good sign when you cannot put a book down! The book's lead character is a middle-aged man who is not in good shape, who is a liberal and who goes through dramatic change to become a vigilante because of what happened to his wife and daughter. As I read this book, I preferred picturing the great Charles Bronson as the lead character. He was so great in that movie! The book ending isn't as good as the movie ending, but it's still a good book and I recommend it.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing Act Three 1 Dec. 2011
By asf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After finishing this book, my feeling is that it's missing its third act. Act One is the tragedy which befalls the protagonist's wife and daughter. Act Two, the evolution of his mental and physical reaction. If you've seen the movie, this book proceeds fairly close to it, although here "Charles Bronson's" son-in-law has a much bigger role. Also, the police have an insignificant part to play in this (relatively short) novel.

I always felt that the movie could have been a great film, if only it had more subtext and psychology. The opposite is true of this book: it could've been a great book if it had more action. Things were just getting started when the book ends, in very anti-climactic fashion. Some sort of Act Three is needed, whether it's the protag's downfall or the climax of some outrageous plan of his, or even how it played out in the movie.

On the plus side, I really liked the author's writing style, and some of his metaphors are superb. I thought the scene where "Bronson" reads a newspaper psychiatrist's interpretation of the vigilante (Bronson himself, of course) in a guest bathroom was brilliant. Overall, however, the book was only OK.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captures a moment in time 19 Oct. 2013
By Marc Stephens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Much like "Taxi Driver", which this preceded by several years, "Death Wish" (both the book and the film) capture a moment in time -- the mid-1970s, when New York City seemed ungovernable and the entire country suffered from a 60s hangover. The world seemed so violent, so hopeless. The fact that we've made so much progress since then often goes unappreciated. But I think anyone reading this book in 1974 would be hard-pressed not to sympathize with Paul Benjamin's actions, and perhaps even cheer him on a bit. This is a cathartic book, and it still takes the time to develop Paul's character.
22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EASILY GARFIELDS BEST 16 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THIS OF COURSE WAS THE SOURCE FOR THE CHARLES BRONSON MOVIE,BUT ITS A LITTLE MORE LIBERAL ,WITHOUT THE GLORIFICATION OF VIOLENCE.I READ AN INTERVIEW WITH GARFIELD ONCE,AND HE SAID THE IDEA FOR THIS CAME FROM THE TIME HE RETURNED TO HIS CAR FROM DINNER LATE ONE NIGHT AND FOUND THAT SOMEONE HAD SLASHED THE VINYL TOP.....HIS FIRST THOUGHT WAS''ID LIKE TO KILL WHOEVER DID THIS!''....THEN HE THOUGHT,''IMAGINE IF SOMEONE ACTUALLY DID THAT?''WELL,MOST PEOPLE WOULDNT GO AS FAR AS THE MAIN CHARACTER HERE,AND WE'RE NOT SURE WHAT MAKES HIM GO OVER THE EDGE.....BUT HE CANT COPE WITH THE LOSS....AND SO THE TALE OF REVENGE BEGINS......THE ENDING IS DIFFERENT,AND READERS HOPING FOR THE ALMOST SADISTIC VIOLENCE OF THE FILM WILL BE DISAPPOINTED HERE BY THE LIBERAL APPROACH GIVEN THE SUBJECT MATTER........GARFIELD WROTE A SEQUEL TO THIS A FEW YEARS LATER TITLED''DEATH SENTENCE''......BUT WASNT NEARLY AS GOOD AS THIS.......GARFIELD IS AN EXCELLENT WRITER WHO IS ALMOST FORGOTTEN TODAY......BUT HE WROTE MANY GOOD BOOKS[MY NEXT FAVORITE WOULD BE ''NECESSITY'', WITH ''''RECOIL'' AND'''TERRY CONNISTON?'',NOT FAR BEHIND].........I BELIEVE ALL HIS BOOKS ARE NOW OUT OF PRINT,BUT IF YOU CAN GET USED COPIES,I HIGHLY RECCOMMEND ALL OF THEM.......
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feels like it's missing some. One of the few cases where I prefer the movie. 29 July 2015
By Mark Polino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Death Wish wasn't bad, it gets extra credit for making the protagonist a CPA. In the movie Charles Bronson's character is an architect because they didn't thing audiences would buy a CPA as a vigilante. As others have mentioned, it feels like this book is missing something, like a third act. Half the book is build up to an awakening and the ending comes too fast. Still, it's fun to see where the movie came from. This was one of the few cases where I thought the movie was actually better than the book.
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