THE NOVEL BEHIND THE CULT FILM STARRING MICHAEL CAINE Doncaster, and Jack Carter is home for a funeral - his brother Frank's. Frank's car was found at the bottom of a cliff, with Frank inside. He was not only dead drunk but dead as well. What could have made sensible Frank down a bottle of whisky and get behind the wheel? For Jack, his death doesn't add up. So he decides to talk to a few people, do some sniffing around. He does, but is soon told to stop. By Gerald and Les, his bosses from the smoke. Not to mention the men who run things in Doncaster, who aren't happy with Jack's little holiday at home. They want him back in London, and fast. Now Frank was a mild man and did as he was told, but Jack's not a bit like that ...
Originally published as Jack's Return Home in 1970, this impressive novel, the first in a trilogy, inspired the classic 1971 Michael Caine movie. After eight years away from home, London fixer Jack Carter returns to Yorkshire to attend the funeral of his brother, Frank, who was killed in what was officially ruled an auto accident. Despite mixed feelings about Frank, Carter is resolved to learn the truth, and to get revenge if it turns out the death wasn't accidental. Evocative prose, such as a description of the local steelworks "stretching to the rim of the semicircular bowl of hills, flames shooting upwards soft reds pulsing on the insides of melting shops, white heat sparking in blast furnaces," sets this above similarly themed crime stories. Lewis (1940 1982) also manages to inject humor into the mostly gritty proceedings. For example, one obese character is the "kind of man that fat men like to stand next to." Ian Rankin fans who have not yet read Lewis will be pleased.
A must, taught and enjoyable.
Having read GBH I had to read this and was not disappointed. Taught and gritty Carter comes over as more violent and misogynistic than in the film but as in GBH it is all the better for not being too graphic.
It is difficult not to compare it to the film and I found the storylines running in parallel in my head, close but not close enough to spoil it: the ending in the book is better.