Get Carter (Allison & Busby Classics) Paperback – 1 Nov 1992
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`It's only lately people have started calling him the greatest
British hard-boiled writer. Him and Jack, the original hard men'
`This is a top read with a breezy style that unweaves like a good
pub story' -- Loaded
Doncaster, and Jack Carter is home for a funeral - his brother's. Frank's car was found at the bottom of a cliff, with him inside. Jack thinks that Frank's death is suspicious, so he decides to talk to a few people. Frank was a mild man and did as he was told, but Jack's not a bit like that.
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I couldn't read the book without picturing Michael Caine. Some of the word banter is nicely written has been transfered directly to the film likewise some scenes. The book itself spends more time on Cater's relationship with his brother and Doreen (which is not in the film) and the chapters with Glenda (and Albert) slightly more convoluted and not as menacing. Surprisingly Eric is just a bit part and not the evil weasel portrayed in the film.The basic dark sleeze of gangster Britain in the 60s is there
I guess without loving the film, I would only rate the book as average as the end is inconclusive, but recommend both as a contrast
Like you need me to tell you, this is a classic 'avenging angel' tale, and Jack Carter, the avenging angel, will not rest until there is full restitution for some serious sins.
Putting the film to one side, the book stands on its own merits. What Ted Lewis achieves brilliantly, in common with all great genre fiction, is to say something else about the world. In this instance he evokes the late 1960s, and the Britain I remember vividly as I grew up in the 1970s. A violent, bored, depressed place trying to come to terms with the slow death of traditional industries and pre-War certainties.
Ted Lewis also skewers that ambiguous strata of society where criminality and respectability combine. This a world where very nasty things happen - brutality, exploitation and casual violence are the norm. "Get Carter" nails the grim humour, the squalor, the boozers, the snooker halls, the fights whilst telling his compelling tale of revenge and family loyalty. The reason the film is such an enduring classic is because Ted Lewis wrote "Jack's Return Home" (retitled "Get Carter" after the film was released), a perfect crime novel, and essential reading.
Anyone who enjoys this book, and is looking for something with similar qualities, should read Derek Raymond's Factory novels.