Nick Triplow’s soulful biography of enigmatic British crime fiction pioneer, Ted Lewis (author of Get Carter), is one of those rare works of literary investigation that relentlessly asserts its own status as art. Like Philip Hoare’s Melville in The Whale or James Sallis’ Chester Himes: A Life, Triplow more than uncovers the forgotten godfather of the modern British crime story; he also spins a noir morality tale with a poetry all its own.
Mike Hodges’ 1971 cinema classic was based on a book called Jack’s Return Home, and many commentators agree contemporary British crime writing began with that novel. The influence of both book and film is strong to this day. Lewis never lived to realize his legacy.
Ted Lewis is one of the most important writers you've never heard of. Born in Manchester in 1940, he grew up in the tough environs of post-war Humberside, attending Hull College of Arts and Crafts before heading for London. His life described a cycle of obscurity to glamour and back to obscurity, followed by death at only 42. He sampled the bright temptations of sixties London while working in advertising, TV and films and he encountered excitement and danger in Soho drinking dens, rubbing shoulders with the “East End boys” in gangland haunts. He wrote for Z Cars and had some nine books published. Alas, unable to repeat the commercial success of Get Carter, Lewis’s life fell apart, his marriage ended, and he returned to Humberside and an all too early demise.
Getting Carter is a meticulously researched and riveting account of the career of a doomed genius. Long-time admirer Nick Triplow has fashioned a thorough, sympathetic, and unsparing narrative. Triplow is at once a cold case detective and a Boswell of the backstreets. Required reading for noirists, this book will enthral and move anyone who finds irresistible the old cocktail of rags to riches to rags.
About the Author
Nick Triplow is the author of the south London crime novel Frank's Wild Years and the social history books The Women They Left Behind, Distant Water and Pattie Slappers. His acclaimed short story, "Face Value", was a winner in the 2015 Northern Crime competition. Originally from London, now living in Barton upon Humber, Nick studied English and Creative Writing at Middlesex University and, in 2007, earned a distinction at Sheffield Hallam University’s MA in Creative Writing. Since completing his biography of British noir pioneer, Ted Lewis, Nick has been working on new fiction.
Praise for Nick Triplow's Getting Carter
“Triplow does a fine job of demonstrating why Lewis's work should be rediscovered.” —Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph
“Triplow is unsentimental in his study of a man whose work offers much to admire. Perhaps this fascinating portrait is the beginning of an overdue revival.” —New Statesman
“This is an informative book, one that any lover of crime fiction should read... Triplow’s writing is an engaging style what makes this book a pleasure and an education to read this book.” —Paul Diggett , Nudge Books
“[Triplow] is the kind of rigorous biographer Lewis deserves, and Getting Carter is an essential read.” —Ray Banks, Noir City
“Getting Carter includes plenty of wonderful detail about the making of the film… there is much more to Lewis than this cult movie, as Triplow makes clear.” —David Collard, Times Literary Supplement
“An invaluable study and biography of British writer Ted Lewis. Indispensable.” —Maxim Jakubowski, Crime Time
“Triplow’s excellent biography rightly puts the spotlight back on one of the crucial figures of British crime writing, whose best books have a raw truth and a power which deserve to be far more widely known and appreciated.” —Max Decharne, The Spectator
“Ted Lewis: criminally overlooked.” —Sunday Times Crime Club
“Nick Triplow's book has brought [Ted Lewis] brilliantly back into the light.” —Mike Hodges, Director of Get Carter
“A fantastic bit of work.” —Jon Wise, Sunday Sport
“Triplow manages to extract several noteworthy points from what might seem to be the unprofitable wreckage of a wasted life – a major achievement as he has had few primary sources to work with.” —Nicky Charlish, 3am Magazine
“Triplow's solid biography and find critical analysis ought to ensure that Lewis finally gains the wider readership his books clearly deserve.” —Yusef Sayed , Lincolnshire Life
“Let’s just say Lewis’s contribution to our culture deserves greater appreciation. Nick Triplow’s book should help.” —Martin Cloake, Medium
“An exhaustively researched, brilliantly crafted recounting of the turbulent life of one of crime fiction’s most influential authors.” —Howard Linksey
“Exhaustive, informative, incisive and a damned good read... you're in for one hell of a ride.” —Martyn Waites, Crime Time
“A well-written labour of love by Triplow.” —Modculture
“The author’s knowledge of his subject is exceptional, and his unfailing respect makes for an elegant, enthralling reading experience… Truly a treat for noirists.” —Joanne Owen, LoveReading
“Simply stunning. Getting Carter is a brilliant character study, a gripping gangster story and an incredibly moving examination of friendship, family, loyalty and loss. Highly recommended.” —Paul D. Brazill
“Comprehensive biography delivers everything you wanted to know about the rise and fall of an influential writer.” —Euro But Not Trash
“Triplow’s writing is always elegant and perfectly at the service of the material.” —Barry Forshaw, Crime Time
“A triumph.” —Ben Myers, Author of The Gallows Pole, Beastings and Pig Iron
“Getting Carter is a fascinating and perceptive examination of alcoholism, lowbrow culture in the post war era, the changing nature of publishing, and how all these factors intersected with the maelstrom of one talented but very flawed crime writer’s life. It is an essential read not only for fans of British crime fiction but scholars of noir culture more generally.” —Andrew Nette, Pulp Curry