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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 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.
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.
Praise for Get Carter
A Philadelphia Inquirer Best Book of 2014
"Aristotle, when he defined tragedy, mandated that a tragic hero must fall from a great height, but Aristotle never imagined the kind of roadside motels James M. Cain could conjure up or saw the smokestacks rise in the Northern English industrial hell of Ted Lewis's Get Carter."
—Dennis Lehane, author of Live by Night
"Rereading all three books, I was struck by the influence Lewis's novels have had on so many current hard-boiled writers whose main characters are hard cases (certainly Lee Child's Jack Reacher is a literary son). Written in first person and present tense, Lewis' trilogy has an immediacy that belies its age."
—Carole Barrowman, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"Masterful... Lewis had a shrewd eye for the shifting class politics of late-’60s England, the point at which the austerity of the postwar years had melted away and prosperity was slowly creeping into the regions, creating a new middle class."
—Los Angeles Review of Books
"The year's big event in international noir is the republication of the Jack Carter Trilogy by England's Ted Lewis. Few crime writers could inject menace and desperation into small talk the way Lewis did, and he had a fine eye for period detail."
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Incomperable scene-setting and eloquent descriptive prose."
—Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
"Among crime-novel aficionados, it's generally accepted that Ted Lewis established the noir school of writing in Britain, and one novel in particular got it going: Get Carter."
"Lewis remains a sharp social anatomist of the hopelessness and soul-sucking dinginess of his era. Starting with [Get Carter], Lewis sketched the horror of a Britain where home was the kitchen sink, the sodden bar towel, the decrepit industrial landscape: a kingdom from which Carter and his like cannot escape."
—Barnes and Noble Review
"One of the very best tough guy novels of all time."
"Get Carter is one of the most influential works of crime fiction in existence. In the world of U.K. hardboiled literature it’s had the kind of impact that books by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler had on the genre in the U.S."
"It arrived in the post, out of the blue, along with an offer to write and direct it as my first cinema film. Its literary style was as enigmatic as the manner of its arrival. Whilst set in England and written by an Englishman it was (aside from the rain) atypically English. More importantly it ripped off the rose-tinted glasses through which most people saw our mutual homeland. I suspect Ted never shared that Panglossian take on England."
—Mike Hodges, director of Get Carter, from the Foreword to this edition
"Lewis was one of the first British writers in the sixties to take Chandler literally—'The crime story tips violence out of its vase on the shelf and pours it back into the street where it belongs'—and [Get Carter] is a book that I and plenty of other people at the time considered to be a classic on these grounds."
—Derek Raymond, author of the Factory Novels