Everyone in the small town of Central City, Texas, loves Lou Ford. But behind the platitudes and glad-handing lurks a monster the likes of which few have ever seen. In The Killer Inside Me, Thompson goes where few novelists have dared to go, giving us a pitch-black glimpse into the mind of the American Serial Killer years before Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, and Brett Easton Ellis's American Psycho.
"Much better than those ratings indicate."
William "Kid" Collins was once a respected boxer. Now he's a drifter, on the run after escaping from a mental institution. One afternoon he meets Fay, a beautiful young widow. She is smart and decent - at least when she's sober. Soon Collins finds himself involved in a kidnapping scheme that goes drastically wrong almost before it even begins.
Nick Corey is a terrible sheriff on purpose. He doesn't solve problems, enforce rules or arrest criminals. He knows that nobody in tiny Potts County actually wants to follow the law and he is perfectly content lazing about, eating five meals a day, and sleeping with all the eligible women. Still, Nick has some very complex problems to deal with. Two local pimps have been sassing him, ruining his already tattered reputation.
"Camus of Crime Fiction"
To his friends, to his coworkers, and even to his mistress Moira, Roy Dillon is an honest hardworking salesman. He lives in a cheap hotel just within his pay bracket. He goes to work every day. He has hundreds of friends and associates who could attest to his good character.
"Thompson at his best."
Luane Devore's days are numbered. All her neighbors want her dead. Some, like her young husband, Ralph, and his girlfriend, Danny, want the thousands of dollars she keeps hidden under the mattress she spends her days resting on. Others want her to stop her malicious gossip - some of which could ruin lives. Told from multiple perspectives, The Kill-Off tells the story of a woman not long for this earth - but who will finally take matters into their own hands... but when?
To everyone he's ever played dice with, Mitch Corley seems like the luckiest guy around. But in truth, Corley's fast hands are the only gift fate's ever given him. He's never held down a steady job, and when it comes to women, his luck might just be the worst of all - his girlfriend and partner-in-crime, Red, would double-cross him in a heartbeat if she knew just how short on cash they really were. And if Red ever finds out about the wife Corley neglected to mention, there's a good chance that Corley might not survive the night.
Jake Winroy had no looks, no education, and little else before he'd worked his way to the top of a million-dollar-a-month horse-betting ring. But when the state's latched onto his game, the feds take a bite, and the lawyer fees eat away at the rest, all Jake's got left is the bottle and a beautiful wife whose every word is ugly. Jake's to be the top witness in a major case against organized crime. But an enigmatic Mafioso known only as "The Man" has a plan to make dead certain Jake never gets the chance to testify.
It was supposed to be only a temporary job - something to pay the bills until Dusty could get his feet back on the ground and raise enough money for medical school. After all, there's nothing wrong with being a bellboy at a respectable hotel like the Manton - that is, until she came along. Marcia Hillis. The perfect woman. Beautiful. Experienced. Older and wiser. But while Dusty has designs on Marcia, Marcia has an agenda of her own.
In trouble more often than not, guilty of assault, manslaughter, and honorably discharged from the military by the skin of his teeth, David "Bugs" McKenna can't seem to help doing the right thing at the wrong time - or the wrong thing, every chance he gets. But when he drifts his way into Ragtown, Texas, things seem to finally be turning around for Bugs. Still, things are likely to get ugly, fast - and odds are, it'll have something to do with the bombshell wife of Bugs' new employer....
"A bit of Crime AND Punishment in West Texas."
Doc McCoy is the most skilled criminal alive. But when, for the first time in Doc's long criminal career, his shot doesn't hit the mark, everything begins to fall apart. And Doc begins to realize that the perfect bank robbery isn't complete without the perfect getaway to back it up. The Getaway is the classic story of a bank robbery gone horribly wrong, where the smallest mistakes have catastrophic consequences, and shifting loyalties lead to betrayals and chaos.
""Getaway" is what I did!"
Britton Rainstar never knew he could love a woman as deeply as he does Manuela Aloe and be so terrified of her at the same time. It's not just that he thinks she's out of his league. It's more that the longer he stays with her, the closer to death he seems to come. A vicious dog is somehow let loose in his hotel room. He's threatened at gunpoint by a man in a skeleton costume. And when he finally ends up in the hospital, someone pushes his wheelchair down the stairs.
Frank "Dolly" Dillon has a job he hates, working sales and collections for Pay-E-Zee Stores; a wife named Joyce he can't stand; and an account balance that barely allows him to pay the bills each month. Working door-to-door one day, trying to eke money out of folk with even less of it than he has, Dolly crosses paths with a beautiful young woman named Mona Farrell. Mona's being forced by her aunt to do things she doesn't like, with men she doesn't know - she wants out, any way she can get it.
"L'enfer, c'est les autres"
Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is a pillar of the community in his small Texas town, patient and thoughtful. Some people think he's a little slow and boring, but that's the worst they say about him. But then nobody knows about what Lou calls his "sickness". It nearly got him put away when he was younger, but his adopted brother took the rap for that. Now the sickness that has been lying dormant for a while is about to surface again - and the consequences are brutal and devastating.
Orphaned by a tragic accident at 16, Tommy Burwell's been scraping out a meager existence working dead-end jobs for years. When he and fellow nomad Four Trey Whitey get jobs working with dynamite, making way for a new pipeline across the deserted plains of Far West Texas, disaster ensues. In a matter of days, Tommy is brutally beaten and witness to an act of cold-blooded murder the law can't be bothered to investigate.
Nineteen-year-old Tommy Carver desperately wants to make something of himself, but he's got some mighty tall odds stacked against him - a brutal sharecropper father, a secret love affair with his wealthy landowner's daughter, a step-mother devoid of maternal instincts, and even his own short-tempered, prideful ways. The odds only get worse when Tommy is fingered for murder in this shocking, twisting tale that explores sex, American Indian rituals, simmering race politics in mid-20th century Oklahoma and, of course, crime.
"Not A Fathers Day story"
By the time Jim Thompson was sixteen years old, he had been a newspaper boy, a burlesque show hawker, a plumber's helper, a comedian in two-reel pictures, a night bellboy in a luxury hotel and over a dozen other occupations. By the time he was 18, he was driving across America in a broken-down Ford without a penny to his name and his mother and his kid sister Freddie in tow, looking for just one more paycheck to keep them all alive.
Joe Wilmot can't stand his wife, Elizabeth. But he sure loves her movie theater. It's a modest establishment in a beat-down town - but Joe has the run of the place, and inside its walls, he's king. Without the theater, he'd be sunk. Without his leadership, the theater would close in a heartbeat. If it isn't the life Joe imagined for himself, at the very least, it's livable. Everything changes when Joe falls for the housemaid, Carol, and the two can't keep it a secret from Elizabeth.
"I couldn't finish this."
In this novel, Thompson's first major success as a pulp fiction writer, Joe Wilmot, trying to go straight after a stretch in the pen, finds a movie house in a small crossroads that can use a helping hand and someone with half a brain for business. The theater's owner, Elizabeth, isn't the smartest operator around - or is she? Joe and the plain Jane Elizabeth decide maybe it would be better for business if they got married. Why not?
"Murder At The Bijou"