Review: Death Wish

Publisher Description

When his wife and daughter are attacked in their home, Paul Benjamin’s world collapses. Drug addicts have broken into his cozy Upper West Side apartment, leaving his wife dead and his daughter comatose. After his shock wears off, and frustrated by police inaction, Benjamin decides to take justice into his own hands. But as he pursues criminals solo, Paul’s vigilantism threatens to spin out of control and destroy him as well.

Death wish book vs movie: Thrilling Reads Review

I watched that old Charles Bronson movie and one of my favorites, Death Wish on HBO Max, a film that resonated with me since my teenage years.

Jeff Goldblum Death Wish Freak #1

Side note: I forgot that a young Jeff Goldblum played a gang leader! He was credited as “Freak #1.”

I hadn’t read the book it was based on, so I figured it was time to rectify that! The book “Death Wish” was written by Brian Garfield and published in 1972.

I’ve enjoyed reading thriller novels that were the bases for movies I love — after watching the movie first, like Jaws, Marathon Man, and The Day of the Jackal.

The book was quite different from the movie. One difference was that they renamed Paul Benjamin to Paul Kearsy. And in the movie, Charles Bronson seemed to enjoy being a vigilante and didn’t have any issues blowing away thugs. Just like in that iconic last image in the movie, after he moves to Chicago and smiles while finger-shooting thugs.

death wish vs movie. Charles Bronson finger shooting.

The book takes more of a nuance approach showing the character’s struggling with the moral ethics of what he has become. I found the novel’s exploration of moral quandaries both profound and thought-provoking, offering a more realistic perspective compared to the film’s straightforward vengeance saga.

Garfield doesn’t get too preachy though, and it is an action-packed and enjoyable thrilling read. At a lean 160 pages, it’s a quick, but enjoyable read.

If you’re intrigued by the interplay of ethics and action, this read is for you.

It's safe to say that Alan Petersen loves mystery and thriller books. He writes high-octane thrillers, hosts the MEET THE THRILLER AUTHOR podcast, and reviews thriller/mystery books.

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