Old reads that are good: An unfamiliar killer

by gbcpl on September 8, 2011

You’re not going to know the name Jim Thompson, pills more about but let me allow someone you do know to comment on this extraordinary long forgotten writer: “The guy was over the top. The guy was absolutely over the top. Big Jim didn’t know the meaning of the word stop. There are three brave lets inherent in the forgoing: he let himself see everything, more about pharm he let himself write it down, price then he let himself publish it.”

That was Stephen King saying that.

Jim Thompson (1906-77) died in obscurity. Only in the late 1980s and 90s did his work start to garner increased appreciation from critics and readers alike. The bulk of Thompson’s creative output was in the 1950s when he penned a number of pulp-noir crime classics like Savage Night (1953), The Getaway (1959), After Dark, My Sweet (1955), and what is widely considered his best novel, The Killer Inside Me (1952).

The Killer Inside Me is told from the viewpoint of Lou Ford, a deputy sheriff in a small Texas town. Lou has what he terms a sickness, a nearly uncontrollable urge to act out violently. Appearing dull-witted, Lou is actually a calculating and cold-blooded killer in a book that celebrated director Stanley Kubrick called “probably the most chilling and believable first person story of a criminally warped mind I’ve ever encountered.”

But be warned: Reading Thompson is like being punched in the gut. Repeatedly.

Roll with the punches and enjoy.

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