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Get Carter

(Jack Carter #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,083 ratings  ·  152 reviews
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. ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published 1992 by Virgin (first published January 1st 1970)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,083 ratings  ·  152 reviews

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Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
2.5 stars
Classic 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
Dan Schwent
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books, 2016
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.

Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Guido Tenconi
”’What are you going to do if you catch who did it?’ she said.

‘What do you think?’

Another silence.

‘Why?’ she said.

‘He was my brother.’

She sat down on the bed

‘You’ll just kill them? Just like that?’

‘If they didn’t kill me first.’

‘Could you do it? I mean without worrying about it?’

‘Anybody could if it was their own flesh and blood as was involved and they knew they weren’t going to get caught.’

‘And you’re not going to get caught?’


‘How do you know?’

‘Because I know.’”


It’s been a while since
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard-man Jack Carter returns home to Doncaster following the unexpected death of his brother Frank. Straight away the scene doesn't seem on the level; firstly, the cause of death (Frank, drunk, allegedly drove his car of a cliff) doesn't fit given Frank hardly touched the hard stuff, secondly, Jack's bosses, the criminally inclined Les and Gerald don't want Jack putting noses out of joint down in Doncaster for fear of him endangering their criminal enterprise.

What follows is a rampage of violen
James Thane
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 t
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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 w
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-as-night
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
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
Psycho runs amok in a northern English town (not Doncaster) to revenge his brother’s death. Satisfyingly grim but I missed some leavening wit or intelligence. Good read but no Red Harvest.
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, wi
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, favourites, 1970s
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
Mar 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Little idea what this would be going into it, other than it was the basis for one of Michael Caine's earlier - and apparently iconic - film roles. Good, but much darker than I anticipated - at least in this book, Lewis is almost like a British Jim Thompson, with nary a sympathetic character in sight, (even including the oft-abused women). And the book is very British, and very old (1970), so there are a lot of references like "a crooner in a John Collier suit was trying to sound like Vince Hall" ...more
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
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, remarkin ...more
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: noir
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.
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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, fl ...more
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime, thriller
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
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Roger Cottrell
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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! ...more
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Tough crime novel by British novelist Lewis. Protagonist Jack Carter, a London hit man, returns to his provincial home city to find out who is responsible for the death of his brother in a faked accident. Sherlock Holmes would not approve of Carter's detection techniques, but they certainly are effective. ...more
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
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.
Cosmic Dwellings
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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' t ...more
Paul Finch
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It’s the late 1960s in Scunthorpe, and Jack Carter is coming home.

Jack, born and raised in the northern steel town, left home quite some time ago to make his fortune in London, and, being a handy lad and inclined towards pitiless immorality, he eventually found his place as a mob enforcer. Since then, Jack has done all kinds of awful things at the behest of his employers, East End racketeers, Les and Gerald Fletcher, and in so doing, has earned himself a real reputation
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tawdriness you have made your masterpiece...Published under the title 'Jack's Return Home', Ted Lewis' novel was the source for 'Get Carter', the greatest British crime film not directed by Hitchcock. Both novel and film are modern day 'revenger's tragedies', but whereas the film is able to juxtapose the sordidness of its content with the modernist touches of its score, lighting and decor, the book is never less than knee deep in squalid doings. The location is an anynomous steel town somewhere ...more
Dominic Carlin
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
A quick and fun one which didn't make me feel like I was reading a book. ...more
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Well now.

As the saying goes, it's grim up north. The grimness undoubtedly is multiplied when you're hired crime muscle normally found in London, and you're only headed back to your northern home town because your brother has died.

Sorry, "died".

This is how we find Jack Carter: a cool mix of suspicion, grief and nice suits paid for with ill-gotten gains, training it north to find out what the fuck's gone on with his brother, and – most importantly – who's to blame.

Like pretty much everyone else
Sep 05, 2016 rated it liked it
"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, Hob ...more
Robert Starr
Nov 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was tough to get through, which is impressive because it wasn't especially long, dense, or literary. I guess the British slang was a little weird, but that wasn't what bothered me. If I could identify a culprit, it was that Lewis went into such absurd detail describing actions and surroundings that didn't matter. If I read carefully, I'm sure I could piece together a map of every single location in the book, but what's the point? It gives me a greater appreciation for writers like Chandler ...more
Ronald Koltnow
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
To be published by Soho Syndicate in September 2014

GET 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 descrip
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Ted Lewis (1940 – 1982) was a British writer born in Manchester, an only child. After World War II the family moved to Barton-upon-Humber in 1947. He had a strict upbringing and his parents did not want their son to go to art school, but Ted's English teacher Henry Treece, recognising his creative talents in writing and art, persuaded them not to stand in his way.

Lewis attended Hull Art School for

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