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The Killer Inside Me [Paperback]

Jim Thompson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
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Hardcover CDN $118.13  
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Paperback, March 13 1991 CDN $14.36  
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Book Description

March 13 1991 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Lou Ford is the deputy sheriff of a small town in Texas.  The worst thing most people can say against him is that he's a little slow and a little boring.  But, then, most people don't know about the sickness--the sickness that almost got Lou put away when he was younger.  The sickness that is about to surface again.

An underground classic since its publication in 1952, The Killer Inside Me is the book that made Jim Thompson's name synonymous with the roman noir.

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Product Description


"Probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered." --Stanley Kubrick

"Jim Thompson is the best suspense writer going, bar none." --The New York Times

From the Back Cover

"Probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered." --Stanley Kubrick

"Jim Thompson is the best suspense writer going, bar none." --The New York Times

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars No hoky noir crap--the sociopathic real deal May 26 2004
Although crime fiction has never been of particular interest to me, I actually discovered Thompson's "Killer Inside Me" in the horror section of a local bookstore. The cover itself held my attention: a deranged, "Deliverancesque" face grimacing at the jagged orange lines which gave us a clue into the psyche of the protagonist, or rather the anti-protagonist. Along with Kubrick's blurb (I couldn't imagine a better or more believable "sociopathic" narrative than the one Kubrick offered in his classic "Clockwork") I envisioned in my mind a seedy novel which detailed the gleeful rampage of a madman with a badge.
I was dead wrong. Not only is this not your typical "I'm actually a twisted (...) and no one knows it" piece of fiction, Thompson's murderer is in actuality as mind numbingly complex as the beautifully simple, commonplace mentality in which he writes. Lou Ford is a town sherrif with seemingly honest sensibilities, hardline values, and a great deal of empathy for the downtrodden and disinherited. Striking his fellow townspeople as a warm, somewhat monotonous but ever reliable upholder of the law, Ford's slow and fascinating downfall reveals the inner world of a man who is not so much a ruthless killer as a conflicted psychopath attempting to grasp his own identity (which he does not have) within the circumference of his surroundings and by turns tender and vicious relationships with the opposite sex. The brutal scenes in which he coldly calculates and executes those who 'stand in his way' (including women who are seemingly ignorant of 'the sickness' right up until the bloody end) are so divergent from the rest of his narrative that the reader is genuinely shocked and frightened.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Psychological Intrigue April 8 2003
I decided to read a Jim Thompson novel because of Amazon[.com] recommendations. I can honestly say that Amazon[.com] did a good job. What a great jaunt into the amazingly Normal thought processes of a killer's mind. I enjoyed this book immensly, but I think it has to be approached with a certain attitude. First and foremost, this book is noir. It's not the normal Stephen King-ish kind of thriller that most pop-culture oriented readers expect of a book with the likes of "The Killer Inside Me" as it's title. Perhaps my background helps: My parents are both clinical psychologists. I knew what sociopaths and paranoid schizophrenics were before I could write. The brilliance of this book is the simplicity of it. The plot revolves around the "sickness" of Lou Ford, but it's also about a look at a seemingly normal life. Schizophrenics tend to seem normal, and that is where Jim Thompson succeeds. Lou Ford has to "dumb himself down" to maintain a sense of power and superiority over his acquaintances and colleagues. I, personally, loved his confrontation of the doctor that was sent to his house -- he thrives on feeding him book knowledge when he is supposed to be a humble sherriff. Could Lou Ford have been a Hannibal Lector? I think he certainly could have been and was definitely as disturbing a character in his own right. The difference between the characters is that Lou Ford could be your neighbor, your minister, your lover, or your best friend--and you would never know the deprivation inside his mind. To summarize: "The Killer Inside Me" is a wonderful book because of it's noir nature of suspense and it's utter realism to the true world of a killer. I can't wait to read another Jim Thompson book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Killer Inside Me Died of Boredom Feb. 9 2003
I think my own anticipation just murdered this book for me. I expected it be engaging and thought provoking but it was neither of those things.
I found the narrative entirely flat and completely unenticing. The killer's monologue did not provide me with anything even remotely homicidal in nature. He sees a girl, has a thought of carnage and does it. Usually, the author would maximize such a robotic human being, making him seem cold or indifferent or even using the angle that "he was just like any of us", to thrill the reader into psychological paranoia. But the author did no such thing.
There were moments where the plot just fell flat and I wondered if the author was even trying to make things seem interesting. Even the very climax of the novel was so drawn out and poorly managed that whatever redeeming quality the book could have had was completely erased.
When I finished this book, I distinctly remember saying: "What a bloody waste of time". I swear, that comment was more sinister than anything found in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Small Town Killer Aug. 22 2002
All is not as it seems as we start in on this is chilling account told by Lou Ford, a sheriffï¿s deputy in a small town in Texas. This easy-going, well-liked man is a respected citizen of the town and is well known for his quiet, gentle nature. But itï¿s all an act and as Lou tells us a little about his past, the demons in his head are revealed as are the reasons behind his secret, violent nature.
This is a serial killer book with a couple of very interesting features. The first is, it was written back when stories about serial killers werenï¿t very common and so, was pretty groundbreaking stuff. The second is that it is written entirely in the first person from the point of view of the killer, so we get the total range of emotions from before, during and after each murder. The thought processes that prompt every action and the way he goes about covering up his tracks really does make for interesting reading.
We get a terrific example of the grim style of Jim Thompsonï¿s storytelling that is at once captivating and slightly horrifying. The Killer Inside Me fully deserves the praise that Iï¿ve seen given to it and Iï¿m adding my own to it here.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not wildiy entertaining but had to read to the end/
Published 21 days ago by Teresa
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Thompson Story.
I believe I've read all of Jim's fiction and even his autobiography "Roughneck". Killer Inside Me is easily my favorite.
Jim has a refreshingly raw sence of humor. Read more
Published on May 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Boiled crime at its best
This was my first Jim Thompson book and although it will not be my last, I can't see how he can top this - I have heard that this is his best, so maybe he never did. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2003 by D. Bakken
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
I know crime novels -- I write them -- and even though this one is fifty years old, it's absolutely one of the most frightening books I've ever read. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2003 by Dan Allison
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold and Brutal
The few people who have given this work such poor reviews most likely are looking for a book with a higher body count and a lower degree of insight. Read more
Published on June 29 2003 by wellred
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant little story
This book trips along nicely in some parts. Loses it a little toward the end. A quiet Sunday afternoon book.
Published on Dec 2 2002 by Iain Crockett
3.0 out of 5 stars This is supposed to be good writing?
I really wanted to like Jim Thompsons stuff. I like noir, and am interested in Thompsons life (from the culturally dead Midwest, his collaborations with Stanley Kubrick, his... Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2002 by Kenneth E. Wagner Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Killer Inside Jim Thompson
While some of the impact of this tale has tempered in time (it was originally published in 1952), the stark brutality of the narrator draws you in slowly ... Read more
Published on June 30 2002 by E. Lee Zimmerman
4.0 out of 5 stars Noir Classic Will Slay You
I imagine that Jim Thompson's "The Killer Inside Me" was quite a shocker upon first publication in 1952, when the idea of the psychopathic serial killer was still quite unusual. Read more
Published on May 13 2002 by Brian D. Rubendall
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