In ‘Jack Carter and The Mafia Pigeon’, the second prequel novel to ‘Jack Returns Home’ AKA ‘Get Carter‘ Jack Carter takes a well earned break in Spain and while reading this novel I felt the author was taking a bit of a break too.
What we have here is a hard boiled British crime novel that has funny moments inbetween. I wouldn’t call it a dark comedy but a slightly more humorous take on the genre. Jack Carter is still as cold and dangerous as ever, yet he is surrounded by more lighter characters that we the readers take less seriously. It’s Carter’s reaction to the situation he finds himself in that makes this funny. There aren’t jokes, but the hard edge of Carter’s personality is sprinkled with a little more dry wit this time around. It’s a somewhat refreshing take compared to doing another straight up crime story. The downside is though that it’s not entirely imaginative, there are elements that are arguably taken from previous Carter novels and there isn’t a sense of a end game as I progressed through the book. Two characters show up near the end of the novel which seem to have been stuck in late to wrap things up after a certain number of required pages had been met.
The resolution of the story, though slightly predictable sucks all the air out of the room and takes us back towards the darkness of the prior novels.
Jack Carter and the mafia pigeon is the last in the Get Carter series of books. Most reviewers rate this fairly low compared to ‘Get Carter’ and ‘Carter’s Law‘. While I agree that it isn’t as good as the novels that came before, it’s still Jack Carter, and an evening with that character alone, his actions and inner thoughts, are enough reason to read this.
Since this is the last of the Carter books to review I’d like to mention the author Ted Lewis. Sadly he died in 1982 at the young age of 42 from alcohol related problems.
Reading his short bio at the end of the book I learned that he was fortunate enough to be recognized with talent at a young aged and encouraged into the arts. There’s a nice note at the end of the book where it mentions how he forwent fairy tales, since they belonged to a bygone generation that once had the luxury to embrace them and gave us realism that he had first hand knowledge of. Although he found success with some of his novels he seems to have struggled as a writer and never reached that place where he is now held today in the eyes of many readers and fans. The Father of British Noir.