If you’ve never seen the Michael Caine film based on this book, you’re missing out on a British film classic. If you haven’t read this book, however, you’re missing out on even more.
After his brother dies under suspicious circumstances, Jack Carter returns to his hometown to find out what exactly happened. Jack himself narrates the story in a cold, calculating manner, giving the delicious revenge yarn that much more of an edge. This is not a sentimental guy prone to cliched monologues – Jack Carter is a machine with a job to do.
Saying more about the plot would be a bad idea, since this is very much a plot driven book. Author Ted Lewis paints sceneries perfectly with a few sentences, and the Jack Carter character is just as intriguing in the book as he is in the film. The book adds to the story, giving some more background to the tale, particularly with relation to the relationship between the Carter brothers.
There is plenty of crime literature out there nowadays, not to mention gangster films. Get Carter was a major building block in creating the modern crime genre, and upon reading it you notice just how much Lewis’ style and the tale he weaves have inspired what we see on the big screen and read in crime novels today. I wouldn’t be surprised if Quentin Tarantino studied this book before embarking on his career of writing deliciously nasty, übercool characters and dialogue.
Read the book first, then see the film. Comparing the differences between the two adds a whole new layer of fun to the experience.