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After Dark, My Sweet [Paperback]

Jim Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.95
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Book Description

Aug. 11 1990 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
William Collins is very handsome, very polite, and very friendly. His is also dangerous when aroused. Now Collins, a one-time boxer with a lethal "accident" in his past, has broken out of his fourth mental institution and met up with an affable con man and a highly arousing woman, whose plans for him include kidnapping, murder, and much, much worse.

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Review

'Published as part of the Crime Masterworks series, this reissue showcases one of Thompson's greatest criminal treasues.' GOOD BOOK GUIDE One of a series of crime masterworks, past classics that have clearly stood the test of time and are being re-issued... Thompson's work is often categorised as hard- boiled and violent but there's a depth to it that takes it beyond pulp fiction. After Dark, My Sweet is well worth seeking out. MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS 'This celebrated pulp thriller, brought to a new audience courtesy of Orion's splendid Crime Masterworks series, features three of his most memorable creations... Thompson portrays his people with light and shade and the ending is one that will linger in many readers' memories.' -- Martin Edwards TANGLED WEB 'This is a classic 1950s pulp fiction from a master of the genre...Call him hard-boiled or noir as you will, Thompson is at heart simply a fine writer, and a master of the art of exposing the frailty of the human psyche.' -- Ian Morson TANGLED WEB --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

(1906 - 1977) James Meyers Thompson was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. He began writing fiction at a very young age, selling his first story to True Detective when he was only fourteen. Thompson eventually wrote twenty-nine novels, all but three of which were published as paperback originals. Thompson also wrote two screenplays (for the Stanley Kubrick films “The Killing” and “Paths of Glory”). An outstanding crime writer, the world of his fiction is rife with violence and corruption. In examining the underbelly of human experience and American society in particular, Thompson’s work at its best is both philosophical and experimental. Several of his novels have been filmed by American and French directors, resulting in classic noir including The Killer Inside Me (1952), After Dark My Sweet (1955), and The Grifters (1963).

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars not his best, but better than most Feb. 12 2000
Format:Paperback
After Dark, My Sweet is one of the most coherent Thompson novels I've read. Filled with paranoia, booze, hard women, crime & treachery, ADMS is a compact punch that's set on stun. It differs from most Thompson tales in that there are no real throw away chapters. His mental aberrations don't hinder the storytelling, rather they enhance it. It's a short, exciting read that doesn't wander. Thompson didn't always color in the lines, but he sure did with this one. All of the characters are desperate, yet believable. There's Collie, an ex-pugilist & mental patient, Faye, a widowed alcoholic, and Uncle Bud, an ex-cop with no redeeming qualities. The only flaw in their well-planned crime is that they, themselves, are involved. This book reads like a super lightweight fight, you know...the little skinny guys that come out swinging for their lives at the bell and never stop until someone goes down. I've read many Jim Thompson books and I must say that only A Hell Of A Woman, The Killer Inside Me, & Now And On Earth surpass After Dark, My Sweet. A fast read with few flaws is hard to find, but this is certainly one such book. Thompson imitators always fail for one simple reason...they lack the ability to bring an element of genuine insanity to the noir landscape. There are no substitutes & this is one of the master's best efforts. There is also a decent movie adaptation starring Rachel Ward & Jason Patric, as well as Bruce Dern. Read the book first for, while the movie is good, the book is far superior. I am sorry that Jim had to suffer the demons that he did, but I am most thankful for the literary results!
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars a fine slice of Jim Thompson's world... May 27 2003
By lazza
Format:Paperback
It seems that Jim Thompson's world of 1950s down-and-outs, alcoholics, criminals, and the mentally disturbed all come together rather nicely in this short novel, 'After Dark, My Sweet'. The story can be encapsulated as: deranged ex-fighter meets alcoholic woman and her criminally minded ex-cop friend, with whom they all embark foolish on a big crime (no spoilers here). As usual Jim Thompson captures perfectly the bleak ambiance, and the characterizations are spot on.
While the book is perfectly fine it is not in the league of the author's best works: 'The Killer Inside Me', 'The Getaway', and 'The Grifters'. All these books are somehow special in terms of pathos, horror or surprise. They are deserved to be called classics. 'After Dark, My Sweet' is not a classic, and I have no idea what the title means (..it has nothing to do with the story).
Bottom line: a worthy read, especially suited for Thompson fans.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius! Dec 23 1999
Format:Paperback
Trademark Jim Thompson characters and twists. But in this incarnation the formula is twisted and blended into perfection. If you only could read on Jim Thompson novel (which would be a crying shame) I would recommend After Dark my Sweet. Every character is well developed and seems real. The subject matter is still very relevant,not as dated as other Thompson fare like Pop 1280 and South of Heavan.
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars A good intro to Thompson's dark world June 23 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
One of the most suspensful books in recent memory. Every time you get lulled into a sense of security, Thompson hits you with a haymaker square in the nose. The plot is clever and filled with so many twists and turns that you forget about the stereo-typed "tough guy" characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not his best, but better than most Feb. 12 2000
By Johnny Roulette - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After Dark, My Sweet is one of the most coherent Thompson novels I've read. Filled with paranoia, booze, hard women, crime & treachery, ADMS is a compact punch that's set on stun. It differs from most Thompson tales in that there are no real throw away chapters. His mental aberrations don't hinder the storytelling, rather they enhance it. It's a short, exciting read that doesn't wander. Thompson didn't always color in the lines, but he sure did with this one. All of the characters are desperate, yet believable. There's Collie, an ex-pugilist & mental patient, Faye, a widowed alcoholic, and Uncle Bud, an ex-cop with no redeeming qualities. The only flaw in their well-planned crime is that they, themselves, are involved. This book reads like a super lightweight fight, you know...the little skinny guys that come out swinging for their lives at the bell and never stop until someone goes down. I've read many Jim Thompson books and I must say that only A Hell Of A Woman, The Killer Inside Me, & Now And On Earth surpass After Dark, My Sweet. A fast read with few flaws is hard to find, but this is certainly one such book. Thompson imitators always fail for one simple reason...they lack the ability to bring an element of genuine insanity to the noir landscape. There are no substitutes & this is one of the master's best efforts. There is also a decent movie adaptation starring Rachel Ward & Jason Patric, as well as Bruce Dern. Read the book first for, while the movie is good, the book is far superior. I am sorry that Jim had to suffer the demons that he did, but I am most thankful for the literary results!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and compelling. Aug. 7 2004
By Michael G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The narration in this fascinating gem of a novel is provided by the main character, Collie. Collie is an escaped mental patient and as such he is homeless, friendless and directionless. Quite by chance, he makes the acquaintance of Fay Anderson, a young widow who drinks too much. Fay introduces him to an associate of hers, an ex-cop and two-bit swindler known only as Uncle Bud.

Uncle Bud has plans for a crime which will make all three of them rich. Now Collie may be certifiably insane but he is not stupid. He sees Uncle Bud for what he is and initially steers clear. But because he is attracted to Fay and because he has no place else to go, he changes his mind and, against his better judgement, agrees to become part of their hopelessly doomed scheme.

Reading After Dark, My Sweet is much like watching a train wreck as it unfolds. You want to cover your eyes but you can't. Thompson's writing is just too compelling. He masterfully takes the reader on a relentlessly downward spiral into complete and utter chaos while simultaneously introducing unforseen surprises every step of the way.

This is a great novel. Imbued with a palpable aura of impending, inevitable disaster, it grabs you by the lapels and doesn't let go. Jim Thompson was in top form when he wrote this one. Do yourself a favor and read it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius! Dec 23 1999
By "leper2000" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Trademark Jim Thompson characters and twists. But in this incarnation the formula is twisted and blended into perfection. If you only could read on Jim Thompson novel (which would be a crying shame) I would recommend After Dark my Sweet. Every character is well developed and seems real. The subject matter is still very relevant,not as dated as other Thompson fare like Pop 1280 and South of Heavan.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a fine slice of Jim Thompson's world... May 27 2003
By lazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It seems that Jim Thompson's world of 1950s down-and-outs, alcoholics, criminals, and the mentally disturbed all come together rather nicely in this short novel, 'After Dark, My Sweet'. The story can be encapsulated as: deranged ex-fighter meets alcoholic woman and her criminally minded ex-cop friend, with whom they all embark foolish on a big crime (no spoilers here). As usual Jim Thompson captures perfectly the bleak ambiance, and the characterizations are spot on.
While the book is perfectly fine it is not in the league of the author's best works: 'The Killer Inside Me', 'The Getaway', and 'The Grifters'. All these books are somehow special in terms of pathos, horror or surprise. They are deserved to be called classics. 'After Dark, My Sweet' is not a classic, and I have no idea what the title means (..it has nothing to do with the story).
Bottom line: a worthy read, especially suited for Thompson fans.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tight noir plunge into doom Dec 22 2004
By Aco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After Dark, My Sweet actually seems like a love story, a couple days after it's finished. A wayward one at that too. But Kid Collins and Fay Anderson are star-crossed if there ever was a pair, and Thompson never lets you know, if or when they are ever alligned. Thompson keeps you guessing, about the plot between Uncle Bud, Fay and Kid, about who lives, who dies and why, and just what it is that Kid Collins has been running from for so long. Is he a mental case, or a first class con-man/actor bent on hell. There is a wonderful element of psychological chaos to Thompson's story, and it brought out of me a dimension of compassion and empathy, even as these people bang through life, toward doom.
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