Read Get Carter by Ted Lewis Mike Hodges Online


Famously adapted into the iconic film starring Michael Caine, Get Carter—originally published as Jack’s Return Home—ranks among the most canonical of crime novels.With a special Foreword by Mike Hodges, director of Get CarterIt’s a rainy night in the mill town of Scunthorpe when a London fixer named Jack Carter steps off a northbound train. He’s left the neon lights and moFamously adapted into the iconic film starring Michael Caine, Get Carter—originally published as Jack’s Return Home—ranks among the most canonical of crime novels.With a special Foreword by Mike Hodges, director of Get CarterIt’s a rainy night in the mill town of Scunthorpe when a London fixer named Jack Carter steps off a northbound train. He’s left the neon lights and mod lifestyle of Soho behind to come north to his hometown for a funeral—his brother Frank’s. Frank was very drunk when he drove his car off a cliff and that doesn’t sit well with Jack. Mild-mannered Frank never touched the stuff.Jack and Frank didn’t exactly like one another. They hadn’t spoken in years and Jack is far from the sentimental type. So it takes more than a few people by surprise when Jack starts plying his trade in order to get to the bottom of his brother’s death. Then again, Frank’s last name was Carter, and that’s Jack’s name too. Sometimes that’s enough.Set in the late 1960s amidst the smokestacks and hardcases of the industrial north of England, Get Carter redefined British crime fiction and cinema alike. Along with the other two novels in the Jack Carter Trilogy, it is one of the most important crime novels of all time....

Title : Get Carter
Author :
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ISBN : 9781616955038
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Get Carter Reviews

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-05-15 09:59

    When his brother dies in a drunk driving accident, Jack Carter comes back to his home town for the funeral. Since his brother never drank, Jack is suspicious and digs into his brother's final days to figure out what happened.Get Carter is a dark murder mystery. Set in 1960s England, it features a bad man in a world of other bad men, looking for his brother's murderers. It was adapted into a classic movie in 1971 starring Michael Caine and a lackluster movie starring Sylvester Stallone in 2000.Jack Carter walks through a spider's web of shifty English gangsters, each one dirtier than the last, trying to figure out what exactly happened to his brother. What he finds isn't pretty. Jack's conflicted feelings about his brother give the book an added dimension, keeping it from feeling like a simple revenge book.The novel is heavy on atmosphere and dialogue but short on action for most of the book. When the action finally does come, it's as brutal as a head-on collision. Pretty much everyone Jack encounters is a filthy, smegging, lying, smegging liar and it's pretty satisfying when the parties responsible for Frank's murder get their comeuppance.As I said before, the book is high on atmosphere. I kept picturing Ewan MacGregor or Jason Statham circa 2000 in the title role. I'd be surprised if a remake wasn't at least considered as a Jason Statham vehicle at some point. It could easily be dumbed down for the crap he usually stars in and it would have to be better than the Sylvester Stallone version of the film.It's easy to see why Get Carter was a big deal in Britain when it was released. Four out of five stars.

  • Paul
    2019-05-21 09:53

    2.5 starsClassic British noir; properly titled Jack's Return Home. I understand why the film version is Get Carter; much snappier. It was written in 1970 and is actually set in Scunthorpe; my hometown, which is why I read it (the blurb is wrong, it's not Doncaster, Jack just changed trains there). The plot is fairly similar to the film, with a few variations. It is very much a book of its time and some of the dialogue is a little obscure ("she was a bit Harrison Marks"; I had to look that one up).The geography is a little out at times; some of the road names were accurate others not; but it wasn't far out. The descriptions of the steelworkers pubs was accurate and the casual violence of the area is true to life. The arrival of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent is depicted, along with the tensions created in the local community. The language is very strong, the women are there as sexual objects or as victims of casual violence. Now I reflect on it, the treatment of all of the female characters is brutal. Carter is an anti-hero; the only reason he is creating havoc is because it is his neice who has been exploited. If it had been someone else's he would not have been bothered. He is a cog in the wheel and ultimately stands no chance of winning. The faults outweighed the nostalgia, but I had to read it; there aren't many novels set in Scunthorpe!!

  • James Thane
    2019-05-21 15:58

    This book was originally published in 1970 as Jack's Return Home. Then in 1971, it was filmed as Get Carter starring Michael Cain, and the book was subsequently re-released with the new title. This is a very dark, hard-boiled novel and it is credited with helping start the noir school of British crime fiction.The main protagonist, Jack Carter, works for a pair of dodgy blokes named Gerald and Les who skate along the edges of the law. Jack is skating right out there with them on ice that's even thinner, given that Jack is also conducting a clandestine affair with Gerald's wife, Audrey.As the book opens, we find Jack on a train, returning to his home town of Doncaster. He's going back to attend the funeral of his only brother, Frank. The authorities report that Frank died, driving drunk and crashing his car after drinking most of a bottle of Scotch. The only problem with the official scenario is, as Jack well knows, that Frank didn't drink Scotch.Jack and Frank have been estranged for years, but Frank was still his little brother and Jack still carries very fond memories of the time they spent growing up together. Jack is also concerned about the fate of Frank's fifteen-year old daughter, Doreen, who is now orphaned. Mostly Jack is enormously pissed at the people who killed his brother and who didn't even trouble themselves enough to make the "accident" look legitimate.Once the funeral is over, Jack begins poking around the dark underbelly of Doncaster in an effort to determine what Frank might have been involved in and who might have been angry enough with him to kill him. In the process, he's going to have to deal with a lot of lowlifes and upset more than a few apple carts. Jack couldn't care less, and when the local crime bosses decide that it's time to get Carter, Jack will only be too happy to meet them halfway.This is a lean, spare novel that's very well written and which should appeal to anyone who likes their crime fiction dark and unnerving, populated with few, if any, redeemable characters.

  • Greg
    2019-05-03 16:00

    It has more to do with the introduction to the book, written by Mike Hodges who directed the Michael Caine film classic of this, but I couldn’t stop hearing, “In a costal town, they forgot to shut down….Come Armageddon, Come Armageddon Come” in my head over and over again while reading this. The novel opens with a lone man travelling into a city. He’s returning to the town (ok I said city, but I have my reasons) he grew up in. Why? Don’t know, but this will unfold fairly soon. Instead it opens with this man. The town. Him arriving. And as he starts to go about his business the reader finds out that he’s returned home because his older brother has killed himself drunk driving. He’s there for the funeral. He’s there because his brother is the boring type, the one who will only drink a half pint of bitter after work. The type that when he does go to get pissed never brings his car. He’s responsible and boring. He’s a square. In Ellroy speak, a geek. This lone man is part of the crime syndicates down in London. He’s here to bury his brother and find out who killed him, because the boring fucker wouldn’t have done this to himself. His name is Carter, and he is here for revenge.I can’t help thinking of this in light of another character who readers are introduced to as he walks meanly across the George Washington Bridge with revenge and murder on his mind. He’s even got a similar name, Parker (although Carter does have a first name, Parker is only Parker).I don’t know if Get Carter has any debts to pay to the Richard Stark series that began eight years previous to it. But it is interesting to look at Hunter and Get Carter together.Both are basically revenge books. Someone fucked with the main character and he’s going to make them pay. Parker is clear right from the get go about who is going to go kill, there may be a little mystery to it, but he pretty much knows who he has to get to. Carter, first has to play amateur sleuth to find out who is responsible for his brother’s murder. Where one is fairly straight forward crime fiction the other dabbles in the traditional mystery novel with a host of red herrings and things thrown in. Personally, I prefer crime to mystery, but both are quite enjoyable when they are done well. And Get Carter does the mystery part of the story serviceably well. The Parker novels are written in no-frills muscular prose, like the protagonist there aren’t any niceties. A job has to be done so it is done. In Get Carter, Ted Lewis is taking a page from Raymond Chandler and the prose becomes almost a character in the book. I don’t want this to sound too disparaging but there is a Literary-ness to the book, the feeling that the author is trying to transcend the genre. And from the introduction it sounds like he was, he was adding something to the crime novel as it was being written in England at the time, he was adding a roughness and some of Chandler. Chandler’s not the worst person to try to write like. His novels are possibly some of the best written pieces of American fiction of the 20th Century. But he is still a mystery writer. And straight forward mysteries are not exactly fun to read. Mysteries are convoluted. They test the reader with their sleights of hand and misdirection. In a certain sense you read them to be duped and cheated in the same way people go see illusionists to be deceived, it’s all part of the fun. Mystery’s close relative and shelf-mate Crime Fiction doesn’t deceive. The tricks reader needs to be taken along and walked along with the characters as the crime is committed. There can be some mystery involved, but big inductive leaps and trickery will tax the credulity of the reader. You want to see the intricacies that go into say pulling off a heist, but there needs to be a believability involved. That believability can’t just be taken at face value though the way that strange solutions to whodunits can and still be successful.And that is the problem I had with Get Carter. As a mystery novel and as a piece of literary fiction it was spot on. But it was also playing at being a crime novel and when the time came for Carter to seek his revenge the author couldn’t shift gears out of being a clever mystery writer and being the sort of writer that Stark is. Revenge is a serious business and doesn’t feel quite right when it’s wrapped up in too cute and clever devices that rely one an inordinate amount of coincidences (or a giant stretch of the readers imagination about the abilities of the protagonist) to pull off. For me the novel was too cute and it was the blurring of if this novel was striving to be a mystery in the classical British sense or an American crime novel that created a kind of weirdness that I found a little unsettling. The book was probably better than the three stars I gave it, but in comparing it to other crime novels that I have enjoyed and loved I found it lacking. It is a fun read though.

  • Tfitoby
    2019-05-21 10:00

    Tell him. Tell him, I'm f*cking coming!Originally titled Jack's Return Home this 1970 novel from Ted Lewis is the story of Jack Carter and his return to Doncaster from London after the death of his estranged older brother. Jack is certain that it was murder and will have his vengeance in this life or the next.Taking place between Thursday Night and Sunday morning there's no time to blink let alone breath as Carter tackles his problems at an unrelenting pace. Having as much in common with kitchen sink dramas such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning as violent revenge thrillers like The Hunter the bodies still manage to pile up by the final page thanks to Carter's no holds barred attitude.Lewis really captured the time and place with his prose, the description of working class lifestyles in Britain in the 70s painted in true grim light and the attitudes are guaranteed to shock in this age of cotton wool and insane politcal correctness. Not that I'm advocating violence towards women, rape, murder and mayhem, underage pornography, bent cops, paki bashing or anything else that takes place during these three days but I think ignoring the fact that it actually used to happen and still does happen is even more absurd than those who perpetrate such things; there's no revelling in the gruesome details, this is the true bleak reality of it and Lewis makes it clear that it's not a glamourous life.Carter is a fascinating mix of hard case hitman, hard boiled hero, cocky geezer, frightened boy; regret filled and growing old, a little bit of Alfie, a major influence on The Limey and if Guy Ritchie hadn't read it he at least saw the movie before making Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. Incredibly this novel was the basis for three movie adaptations but I think it's fair to say that none of them captured the true essence of the book. Michael Caine may have come closest in 1971 but having seen it a couple of times I know for a fact it was toned down and several aspects changed despite my having forgotten the entire plot by the time it came to reading the book. Of the two American versions I would recommend the blaxploitation version Hit Man over the Stallone abomination every time.Ted Lewis died at the horribly young age of 42 but wrote several more novels after this one, I think after the brilliant promise shown in this novel I will have to check out more of his work.

  • Israel Montoya Baquero
    2019-04-30 12:53

    "Carter" es, por decirlo finamente, como si alguien te golpease los cojones con un bate de baseball...varias veces. Un libro duro, lleno de tipos duros, donde ocurren, duras. Y no esperéis que los desgraciados que pueblan estas páginas sean el prototipo hollywoodiano de "gánster simpático y con principios morales y blablablabla", aquí solo hay gente jodida, que hace cosas jodidas y que terminan jodiendo la vida de los que les rodean.Y, si, imaginarse a Michael Caine como Jack Carter, sinceramente, le da un puntazo cojonudisimo a la novela.

  • Nigeyb
    2019-05-19 08:39

    Having seen the original 1971 classic film version of "Get Carter" umpteen times over the years it was impossible for the film portrayals not to completely inform the story's characters in my mind's eye. This familiarity also meant the story held few surprises (though there are some interesting points of divergence). I would rather have approached this book without these preconceptions. 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, all wedded to a 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 seek out Derek Raymond's Factory novels. 4/5

  • Johnny
    2019-04-22 15:02

    Considering the movie adaptation of this novel is one of my favorite crime films, it's hard to give the book that inspired the movie anything less than 5 stars.That said, the book (originally published as "Jack's Return Home") is a hell of a fun read. Violent and morally complex, the action plays as character study to a man who is on the edge of losing his humanity.Great characters, dialogue, and a strong sense of place. This book deserves to be rediscovered as a hard-boiled classic.

  • Peter
    2019-05-04 09:53

    Imagine The Revenger's Tragedy set in Scunthorpe in the 1960s – a corrupt society, a cast of villains, and here’s Jack Carter, the biggest villain of the lot, back home from London and out to avenge his innocent murdered brother. Very Jacobean and very atmospheric. When he arrives, Jack’s home town is encircled by the flames of furnaces – and his descent into hell begins. There are wonderful descriptions of people and places. Here’s our introduction to one of the local Mr Bigs:“Cyril Kinnear was very, very fat. He was the kind of man that fat men like to stand next to. He had no hair and a handlebar moustache that his face made look a foot long on each side. In one way it was a very pleasant face, the face of a wealthy farmer or of an ex-Indian army officer in the used car business but the trouble was he had eyes like a ferret’s. They had black pupils an eighth of an inch in diameter surrounded by whites the colour of the fish part of fish fingers.”Splendid stuff and Ted Lewis had a savage eye for contemporary detail. Jack’s brother’s forlorn terraced house has all been lovingly modernized in “cherry-red formica” and “fake brassy material” – and there’s even a list of the paperback authors on his bookshelf that tell you pretty much all you need to know about ordinary, innocent brother Frank. The Mr Bigs hang out in hugely expensive but equally tasteless homes. And as for Scunthorpe – it possibly gets a raw deal, and then again possibly not. Here comes the band in a local boozer:“While we’d been talking the band had drifted on to the stage. There was an old fat drummer in an old tux and a bloke on an electric bass and at the organ with all the magic attachments sat a baldheaded man with a shiny face, a blue crew-neck sweater and a green cravat. They struck up with ‘I’m a Tiger.’ ”Classic writing and a classic revenge tragedy. Pity that Ted Lewis has gone...

  • Bernie
    2019-05-06 09:55

    Un muy buen libro!

  • Simon
    2019-04-30 11:38

    Wow, a brilliant book to which one can truly apply Hobbes's description of life in the state of nature: "nasty, brutish, and short". (A Hobbesian book, too, in its depiction of the war of all against all.) Misogyny, both 0f the characters and, I'm afraid, in its totally uncritical portrayal of that, of the book itself, is like a punch in the gut and makes the book hard to read. (Also a very nasty description of the one gay character.) But the book is, undeniably, brilliant - taut, compelling, flawlessly paced, and linguistically virtuosic.Btw, the original title was "Jack's Return Home" and I, for one, think that is a vastly superior title.

  • Jim
    2019-04-28 09:36

    Set in Doncaster in the Seventies, this book is in the great tradition of the It's Grim Up North school, where gritty kitchen sink dramas ground people's noses into the squalour. Jack Carter, eponymous anti-hero of this novel, likes to literally grind people's noses into the sink, or anywhere else handy, in an effort to find out who killed his brother. Refreshingly utterly non-PC, Jack flits around the town back-handing women (because they like it, secretly), being handy with a shooter, remarking occasionally on the multi-culturalism of the area and kicking people around working men's clubs. The pace never lets up as Jack stalks his prey, following the clues and false trails until he catches up with all of them.Despite having seen the movie with Michael Caine several times, I didn't picture him as the lead as I read this novel. Perhaps it's because Caine is a Londoner while the tone of this novel was so unremittingly Northern that a Cockney wide-boy, no matter how hard, would stand out like a Chihuahua at a dog track. I read this book in a day, and it's very few that I can say that about. Excellent stuff.

  • Ugotthemoney Igotthesoul
    2019-05-07 08:03

    “La Velvet Underground no sólo fue el primer grupo punk de la historia sino también el más punk que ha existido. Lo mismo sucede con ésta, la primera y más negra novela británica, oscura desde la ambientación de suburbio siderúrgico inglés hasta la atormentada y ulcerosa alma de los personajes.”.“Vertiginosa. Apasionante. Demoledora. Prueba fehaciente de que calidad y entretenimiento pueden ir de la mano. La novela que más regalaré este año.”.“Qué maravilla. Con la buena literatura vuelas imaginando por encima de las palabras, pero esta novela criminal posee un componente visual extra que consigue que directamente veas lo que lees.”.“Qué gran historia, qué bien tejida y qué oscuros recovecos esconden los personajes. Otro absoluto clasicazo que recupera @sajalin_ed para todos nosotros.”

  • Adam
    2019-05-11 12:52

    Gritty nihilistic British with a furious pace and bad attitude. The industrial backdrop is especially effective. I think I prefer the movie version (the Michael Caine original not the unspeakable remake), especially in regards to the ending. The heir to this in tone is Derek Raymond’s Factory novels.

  • Teresa Alonso
    2019-05-14 14:04

    Sólo quiero decir que es una auténtica novela negra. No he visto aún su adaptación al cine (me refiero a la primera, Get Carter de 1971), pero he podido imaginarla claramente.

  • Tony
    2019-05-22 09:56

    GET CARTER. (1992). Ted Lewis. ****.This novel was originally published in 1970 in the UK under the title, “Jack’s Return Home.” It was an iconic novel among mystery fans at the time, and introduced British noir into the mainstream. There were also two film versions made from the book, neither of which I have seen, but I find that the original production starring Michael Caine is most recommended over the remake starring Sylvester Stallone. It’s the story of Jack Carter, a hit man working for the London mob. He returns to his small town in Northern England to attend the funeral of his brother Frank. Although they haven’t seen each other for years and didn’t get along that well anyway, Carter feels compelled to attend because he smells something wrong with his brother’s death. He was killed in a car accident: going off the side of a cliff whilst driving under the influence. Carter knew that his brother didn’t drink and that he was one of the most careful drivers in the country. Carter means to find out what really happened and gain revenge. We are introduced to the chief criminals in the region who must have had something to do with the death. We are also introduced to the profitable crimes that they are in charge of in the region, including prostitution, pornography, and drugs. The world that Carter discovers under the placid mill town is in direct conflict to what seems to be its personality on the surface. As he slowly uncovers the major operators of the gang, he soon comes to realize that his brother was killed by them because he knew something that he shouldn’t have known. This is a good read, though full of local slang that might throw you at times. My next goal is to find a copy of the first film production and watch it. Recommended.

  • Terry
    2019-04-24 14:49

    Get Carter aka Jack Returns Home.English mob enforcer Jack Carter returns to his home town to investigate his brother's murder. It is a classic setup, and used brilliantly here. The book covers roughly three intense days from a Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Jack digs through his past, meeting old friends and old enemies. He gets closer to the truth of his brother's death. His bosses send people to order Jack to stop his activities. When he refuses, these friends are told to bring him back any way necessary. Jack meets his niece, his brother's co-workers and mistress. He peels layer after layer off the sordid side of his old town. As the book races to its climax the action becomes increasingly brutal and unforgiving. Sub plots pile up; the tension is ratcheted ever higher. Jack has the knowledge and the capacity for violence to keep pushing forward with almost no allies against increasing number of enemies.As Jack moves through the town he recalls his past, his childhood, old friends long gone, the old neighborhoods as they were in his youth. It reads like a memoir. How much of the author's own past is used as material in these sections? We may never know, but the detail and precision of the writing reads like the author had intimate knowledge of these people and places.The book is as much about Jack's personality and his relationship with his brother, as it is about the revenge plot. All the characters are effectively drawn. The dialogue is crisp, the scene setting vivid. The plot is almost flawless in its construction. 'Jack Returns Home' is one of the greatest crime novels ever written.

  • Cosmic Dwellings
    2019-05-09 11:51

    Set over a weekend period in October, 1970 this eye-popping piece of underworld anarchy by Ted Lewis, hits the sweet spot of every twist and turn and satisfyingly delivers the goods. Jack Carter returns to the North East to attend the funeral of his elder brother, Frank and his suspicions are gradually confirmed to be true when he uncovers the sordid revelations behind a connected porn racket. The original title of Lewis' novel was 'Jack's Return Home' and years later was retitled 'Get Carter' to tie-in with the smash success of the film adaptation starring Michael Caine. The film was set in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the surrounding area, but here in the novel the setting is believed to be Scunthorpe after our protagonist changes trains at Doncaster to embark upon an explosive weekend of violence and debauchery in which the finale is just as shocking as its film counterpart, only moreso. A heart-banging trip of sheer dynamite with a brilliant main character!

  • Roger Cottrell
    2019-05-20 12:54

    This is the book that became the movie GET CARTER and it's terrific for its fusion of social realist themes derived from the kitchen sink tradition with the pace and structure of an urban thriller or urban western. This was the stuff that made 1970s crime fiction so great. Lewis also invented the regional crime drama. He was the first!

  • Laura
    2019-05-23 16:05

    From BBC Radio 4:Gangland enforcer Jack Carter returns to his hometown of Scunthorpe to investigate the suspicious death of his brother. Nick Perry's dramatisation of Ted Lewis's crime classic.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-05-15 12:39

    Bettie's Books

  • Tosh
    2019-05-23 08:51

    Ted Lewis' uber-British Gangster novel of revenage and.... Cooliness. I am addicted to British gritty crime novels and "Get Carter" is one of the better one's out there.

  • Diego González
    2019-05-19 07:57

    Suelen gustarme las novelas cuyo título es el nombre o apellido del protagonista (o el alias, tanto da). Suelen presagiar personajes intensos, cincelados con la navaja de cortar cuellos que todo buen matón lleva encima siempre, por si acaso. Carter (el título original de la novela es "Jack's Return Home", convertido después en "Get Carter" por la magnífica peli basada en el libro) es un tipo con una misión: descubrir qué le ha pasado a su hermano y, llegado el caso, castigar a los responsables. Así que vuelve a su ciudad natal, una de esas feas ciudades industriales del norte de Inglaterra donde las casas, el paisaje y hasta el mar son del mismo color que el hollín y la mugre que flotan en el aire, para dar caza a los asesinos, si es que los hay, de su hermano. A base de flashbacks nos enteramos de la historia del protagonista y de su hermano, y a base de conversaciones regadas con suficiente whisky como para llenar una piscina, de que todo el mundo miente como un bellaco. Así que a Carter, en un momento dado, se le hincha el escroto más de lo recomendable y empieza a repartir leña como el que distribuye los naipes en una partida de póker. Sólo que con más mala uva. Carter, como casi todo lo que publica la maravillosa Sajalín, es una novela de otra época, con unos personajes hijos de su tiempo y lugar, que llega hasta nosotros casi intacta. Recomendadísima para los fans del género negro.

  • JaumeMuntane
    2019-04-29 09:49

    Impecable historia de venganza con una narración seca, lacónica; un personaje carismático e inolvidable; un retrato del paisaje urbano excelente que se convierte en un personaje más de la historia... Un gran "noir".

  • JES
    2019-04-25 13:05

    I'd never read the 1970 novel before, but saw its 1971 film adaptation many years ago. I remembered it as a brisk, hard-boiled crime flick, and remembered Michael Caine's take on the protagonist in particular. This is not Batman's courtly Alfred; this is not the charming rogue (whatever his name was) of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Those later Caine parts, vs. Jack Carter, are like Roger Moore's James Bond vs. Daniel Craig's.I can now say that Caine's remembered performance, in other words, matched the novel's depiction of the character perfectly.Jack's an example of what is called, I think, a "hard man" -- underworld jargon for what might also be called, less kindly, a thug. He returns to his hometown after many years for a sad occasion: his brother Frank's funeral.But mourning does not suit a hard man, especially a smart one with a dangerously insatiable curiosity. Before long, Jack concludes that the automobile accident in which Frank died smacks of something other than an accident, after all. The book documents, in Jack's rat-a-tat narrator's voice, the few days it takes him to set things about as right as they'll ever be.Get Carter's prose could serve as a textbook example of hardboiled voice. See?The club was crowded. Old men sat riveted by dominoes. Young men thronged the six dart boards. There was no music, no singing, no women. Just the bad lighting and the good dark brown beer and the plain floor and a bar that was decorated only by some barrels of beer lined up at one end.It's almost Hemingwayish, except that this book's author, Ted Lewis, clearly had no literary pretensions: every monosyllable serves no purpose beyond the story. Even that sample, in its focus on setting, does nothing but frame the canvas. The words and the rhythm are merciless, and, well, that's Jack all over. It kept me riveted, start to finish.So why only four stars? Here's the thing: nothing like softness exists in Jack Carter's world, and he won't pretend it does. Consider his final moment with Frank, by himself beside the casket just before the funeral:"Well, Frank," I said. "Well, well." I stood there for a bit longer then sat down in the dining chair. I said a few words although I don't know what I said and bowed my head on the edge of the casket for a few minutes, then I sat up and undid my coat and took out my fags. I lit up and blew out the smoke slowly and looked at the last of Frank.Nothing soft, see? Nothing sentimental.The resistance to that fifth star is wholly mine, at this moment in the US of 2014. Over the course of the book, Jack encounters a handful of women, all of them with some tie to Frank, and also with one tie or another to Jack's adversaries. He treats them coldly, and occasionally brutally, and reports these ugly moments in flat tones. A common locution: "I gave her one alongside the head."Yes, I know: more considerate physical treatment of these women wouldn't be true to his character, nor to his time (nor to his voice, come to that). But against a backdrop of recent headlines, reading these scenes in Get Carter required of me a lot of mental disengagement.If you can manage that trick more easily than I could -- regarding the story entirely in its own terms, given its setting, time, and characters -- and if your tastes in fiction encompass the noir and the hard-boiled, I have no doubt that you'll reach for the fifth star yourself.Highly recommended.

  • Jane
    2019-04-23 08:03

    "Get Carter" reads just like a fast-paced crime/action thriller; scene by scene, the reader can easily picture the set-up, the characters and the culminating "tipping point" of the moment. Although this is not a book I would have picked up on my own (it's my book club's September choice), I found Ted Lewis' writing refreshing simply in that it is so different from most of what I've read recently (or ever!?). The British references certainly contribute to that, but there's a rough-and-tumble, Hobbesian view of life Lewis employs (lived?) that lends it a distinctive character. Speaking of "character," Lewis' characterizations are first-rate. He borrows a bit from Dickens in that regard, as it's easy to see the type of people the protagonist (Jack Carter) describes. To summarize, Carter returns to his hometown for the funeral of his estranged brother, Frank, who has died in a straightforward manner--drunk, in a car accident--except for the fact that Frank never has been known to drink to excess, and never scotch, in any case. Complicating things are the presence of Frank's (or is she really Jack's?) 15-year-old daughter, Doreen, Jack's mistress, Audrey (the wife of his boss) and all the goons Jack Carter has known through his youth and adulthood--some of whom may be his allies, some his enemies. The dividing line between the two (allies and enemies) is fuzzy, to say the least, but Carter is determined to discover who was responsible for Frank's death, and what it was Frank knew that made him a target for fatal violence. When I ended the book, I noticed a short biography of its author, Lewis, along with a photo of him on a back fly-leaf. Lewis lived from 1940-82, barely surpassing the (assumed) lifespan of his "hero," so I'm guessing he knew a little about the nature of the circumstances Carter endured from...firsthand experience? Seeing his bio and photo made the story that much more compelling.

  • Ed
    2019-05-19 09:49

    #1 in the Jack Carter Trilogy. Originally published as Jack's Return Home (1970) it was republished as Get Carter (1971), which is also the name of the 1971 film starring Michael Caine. A tale of revenge in British noir of the 1960s that takes place in the gritty industrial north. Jack Carter - It's a rainy night in the mill town of Scunthorpe when a London fixer named Jack Carter steps off a northbound train. He's left the neon lights and mod lifestyle of Soho behind to come north to his hometown for a funeral--his brother Frank's. Frank was very drunk when he drove his car off a cliff and that doesn't sit well with Jack. Mild-mannered Frank never touched the stuff. Jack and Frank didn't exactly like one another. They hadn't spoken in years and Jack is far from the sentimental type. So it takes more than a few people by surprise when Jack starts plying his trade in order to get to the bottom of his brother's death. Then again, Frank's last name was Carter, and that's Jack's name too. Sometimes that's enough.

  • Ronald Koltnow
    2019-05-16 14:41

    To be published by Soho Syndicate in September 2014GET CARTER is a far better book than it needs to be. If one were looking for a tough guy crime novel, with violence aplenty, sort of like a Mickey Spillane from the North of England, this fits the bill. If one were looking for a British version of Richard Stark's Parker novels, this fits the bill. If one wanted a print equivalent to a Jason Statham movie, this fits the bill. However, Ted Lewis invests this nasty bit of fiction with vivid descriptions of a dying industrial town (the steel mill and the brick factory become characters in the book), the type of place where grim prospects are varnished over by pints of bitter and football. He drops fun allusions to Doctor Who and soft-core filmmaker Harrison Marks. There is humor (grim), social commentary, and mayhem for all in the first book of the Carter trilogy (the others will be coming this fall too). PS. I assume Lewis was inspired by Richard Stark. Does anyone know for sure?

  • Matt
    2019-04-29 07:45

    Jack Carter's a very dichotomous character. He's violent, cool, treats women horribly, a liar, but a guy with a code. When his straight-arrow brother dies, he decides he needs to find out what happened. And so he does.Jack reminds me a lot of my other favorite crime character, Parker; both are determined to the point of blindness, both are pretty much the toughest guy around, both aren't about to be stopped by little things like "the law" and "injury". This is part of why I loved this book.Also, Lewis does a great job of sinking you into a different world (and, for us, a different time; keep Google open so you can find out what some of the brands mentioned are) in a very entertaining way. For such a terse little book (217 pages!), it's packed with a colorful cast of characters who aren't always immediately recognizable.Such a good book, and absolutely worth your time if you like rough, dark crime novels.

  • Susan Bybee
    2019-05-21 09:56

    Gritty, violent and fast-moving story of revenge. London gangster Jack Carter comes back to his hometown in northern England for his brother's funeral. Everyone says that it was a drunk-driving accident, but that's not what Jack Carter thinks, and he's going to find out what really happened and get the people responsible. Suddenly, everyone's out to get Carter.I enjoyed Ted Lewis' tightly coiled writing style. It's very Dashiell Hammett (think Blood Simple)except for the northern England accents, which to my American eye, made even the scummiest of characters a little bit adorable. My only criticism is that there were so many guys out to get Carter that it was difficult to keep track of them all and how they fit into the local crime hierarchy.Get Carter was published in 1970 and an excellent movie version starring Michael Caine as the title character came out the following year.