Get Carter by Ted Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
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