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.
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.