"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
I loved it. I thought Hammett was amazing before, but the Glass Key just solidified it. Definitely his tightest, most coherent novel. The characters were sharp, the pacing was quick, the plot was Goldilocks. No wonder the Coen brothers couldn't get enough.
John D MacDonald presents a combination of James Dickey's prose with Ian Fleming's narrative flourish. With John D. MacDonald, however, you are also likely to find weird paragraphs sprinkled into the novel that deal with economics, politics, love, lust, the John Birch Society, and the ethics of hunting. Reading MacDonald is like having a surprisingly lucid conversation with a drunk economics professor who you recently discovered just killed a man with his golf club. You can't pull away from the conversation and aren't quite sure if the story is going to continue, or if he is going to explore a tangent more appropriate for an economics class or his therapist. HIs brain is amazing and his stories definitely titillate on several levels at once.
“a heck of a lot of things are bound to go wrong in a world as big as this one. And if there's an answer to why it's that way - and there ain't always - why, it's probably not just one answer by itself, but thousands of answers.”
― Jim Thompson, Pop. 1280
Small towns can be a drag. Especially when you are the High Sheriff. Especially when you are also a psychopath who is just a tad smarter than you let on. You've got these liberal and soft feelings toward minorities and social ills. You want to find a nice woman and settle down, but with all these women you are sleeping with and all these clowns in town things just can't get right (with either you or the Lord) until a couple of these buggers are dead. I mean don't feel bad about it. Dead isn't that much better than life in a town in Texas (or was it Oklahoma?) with a population hovering around 1280 and some of those 1280 aren't rich or white. People in town might want you to do stuff. No, not really. They keep electing you because that is exactly what they don't want you to do -- stuff. And if they knew the stuff you did, the certainly wouldn't want you to keep on doing it.
Thompson seems to grab the humanity by the nuts and just squeezes the truth out of it. Like Jim had a whole town on the rack and after a bit of pulling the town's ugliness just seems to spill out. Don't think your big towns are any better and don't think your suburban sprawl doesn't contain the rats, the hypocrites, the dark motives and strange bedfellows that seem to exist in the front room of Jim Thompson's brain. Your town is the same, just more so. And if so, think of how many 'high sheriff's' your town has protecting you.