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Literature / Death Wish

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Death Wish is a 1972 novel by Brian Garfield.

After his wife and daughter are assaulted in his apartment, accountant Paul Benjamin starts resenting how "softly" crime is being handled, and decides to take a more direct approach on law enforcement in his neighborhood.

In 1974, a successful film adaptation starring Charles Bronson was made. In 1975, a sequel novel titled Death Sentence was released (which was also adapted into a film in 2008). 2018 would see the original novel get adapted again, this time starring Bruce Willis but moving the location to Chicago instead of New York.


This book has the examples of:

  • Angst Coma: The trauma that Carol went through eventually puts her into a vegetative state.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: New York is portrayed as a scum-infested city full of crime.
  • Karma Houdini: The perps that assaulted Paul's wife and daughter are never caught.
  • Mercy Lead: A policeman runs into one of Paul's vigilante acts, but he gives him time to leave the crime scene.
  • No Ending
  • Sock It to Them: Paul initial choice for self-protection is a sock with a roll of quarters in it.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Paul notes to himself how often this trope is used to defeat the "blackhats" in movies.
  • Vigilante Man: What Paul becomes one by the end of the book.