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After Dark, My Sweet (Crime Masterworks)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,680 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Bill Collins is young, good looking, agile and strong but he's a drifter with mild multiple neuroses, in and out of institutions, and dangerously violent on occasion. When he gets involved with the hard-drinking Fay Anderson and the deceptively pleasant ex-police officer everyone knows as Uncle Bud in a ruthless kidnap plot, everything goes to hell in a hurry, and the end, ...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published 2004 by Orion Books (first published 1955)
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The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
47th out of 491 books — 568 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienCharlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerLord of the Flies by William GoldingThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Best Books of the Decade: 1950's
365th out of 580 books — 738 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Kid Collins is a former boxer fresh out of the mental institution when he runs into alcoholic Fay Anderson and Uncle Bud, a two bit con man. Fay and Bud conspire to kidnap a wealthy couple's son and pin it on Collins. Too bad Collins is much craftier than he appears and paranoid to boot...

While I didn't enjoy After Dark, My Sweet as much as some of the other Thompson books I've read, it was still pretty good. Once again, Thompson's use of the unreliable narrator set me on edge. Collin's paranoia
A cocktail of paranoid, neurotic, dark, and almost completely unredeemable characters + a diabetic boy + Uncle Bud = a classic Jim Thompson novel. Yup, story checks out. Whenever I think humanity is doing a pretty good job, I just dip a toe into Jim Thompson's world(s) and remember that I spend most my time in the sunshine, but after dark it is a whole different story.

- Robert Farwell / Edward Jones library / Mesa, AZ 2014
Ed [Redacted]
Good, old fashioned, noir; as bleak as all get out until the bitter end. A great group of not particularly lovable losers attempt an ill fated kidnaping. Backbiting, paranoia and double crosses abound. It's everything you want and expect from Thompson in one slim volume...and yet...

This is a good book, don't get me wrong. It's just not a *great* book. It is the weakest of the Thompson novels I have read thus far, although that isn't saying much considering that the other Thompson's I have read w
Raegan Butcher
My favorite of all of Jim Thompson's books. Brain-damaged ex-boxer Kid Collins gets mixed up with shifty characters who involve him in a disastrous kidnapping plot. One of the finest first person noir novels ever written, in my opinion.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Jim Thompson is to psychosis what Philip K. Dick is to paranoia. That is to say: The American Master of…

Bill Collins is a good-looking ex-boxer who knows he has a problem with his temper. When he breaks out of a mental institution, he has to hit a man over the head to steal his car. Hates to do it, but you know who that goes. His line of bullshit that he thinks will help him get to the coast is so weak that no one buys it. But Fay Anderson, the lush he meets in a roadhouse, sees that he has othe
A hard drinking dame, a crooked cop, and a non-too bright patsy with a tendency for poor choices. Classic hardboiled stuff; and the hardboiled crime genre is something like the American equivalent of true tragedy ... emanating from the grain, separated from Europe not only by the Atlantic but by the feedlot plains and cannibal mountains, settling in primarily on the west coast like the santa ana's and the knife edged psychosis that Dashiell Hammet knew rode their currents.

Thompson, the dimestore
Since I really like the hard boiled, noir and pulps genre, I had heard of Jim Thompson a few years back. I read "The Killer Inside Me" last year. Since I don't ever find his novels at used book stores, etc. I bought this, with a Woolrich book on ebay. From the beginning, you know wherever this is going, it's not going to be good for Collie.
At just 130 pages long, there are many moments that I felt like a rubber band, stretched to its limit, you know it's close to breaking , just waiting for it
"I was a mental case. I was an escapee from an insane asylum, a pyscho with a gun, and ex-pug who could do plenty without a gun if he took a notion." And that is the narrator of this short novel about three loonies trying to pull-off a Lindberg-baby style kidnapping. Despite the craziness, the suspicions, the - warranted - paranoia, rattling through Kid Collins head, he tries to find a path toward redemption, and that it is believable even though the narrator is unreliable is quite a tribute to ...more
Nov 26, 2008 Andy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hubert selby fans
Shelves: pulp-fiction
Sad stuff about punch drunk ex-boxer, ex-loony bin inmate Kid "Collie" Collins, who's played by oily roundheels Fay and her accomplice Uncle Bud in a scheme to kidnap a rich kid who has a serious diabetic condition. Although the lines are so obviously drawn between good and evil to the point of absurdity, your heart strings will get tugged by the sadness of the story.
I might actually review this, provided that work this week doesn't completely suck the life out of me...
Nate D
Jim Thompson is a sort of street psychologist who uses noir as an exploration of exactly how people go about wrecking themselves and each other. His real trick here is being able to coil up a nice, twisty plotline without its feeling overly contrived. There's a sort of irresistible downward pull to his scenarios that suggest -- without their being predictable -- that the way it goes really is the only way it could go. As opposed to the too-often problems of such a story that leave the reader fee ...more
Galen Burghardt
Man, there's no one who can put you inside the head of characters whose method of interpreting the world around them is completely and fundamentally different from you own better than Jim Thompson.

I wasn't in love with this story. The plot and some of the characters were kind of flat, but those weren't the things this book derived its value from. The value was all from navigating the world through the eyes of this really odd character - unique in being both identifiable and mentally ill.

I don't
Kid Collins is one of the great Thompson characters, dripping with the existential angst that is so prevalent in his novels (the Kid just wants it to be over near the end because no good can come of it, speaking about life and death and not the caper he is apparently addressing). He is the misunderstood loner who is demonized by a society that wants to 'fix' him, a society that doesn't care if it fails in that endeavor as long as they keep drawing their paychecks. It's revelations like that from ...more
This book was amazing – it's very much a product of its era, Though, with the attitudes of society towards the mentally ill very prevalent. The main character is a drifter who has been in and out of mental hospitals for many years, and who lives an aimless life. He has difficulty relating to others and can become violent at the least provocation, but he is not inherently evil or malicious. He is also very naïve, and not the most intelligent person out there, though he is much smarter than the ot ...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Every Jim Thompson fan has their favorite. This one is mine. Bill (Kid) Collins has already had it bad and just wants to get along. Like he tells you in the beginning, he just wants to be where people are nice and polite. Then he has to go and get tangled up with Fay and Uncle Bud.

The power in this one is Collie's voice. Read the first chapter and you'll see what I mean.
Alex Ling
A dark, taut and ultimately heart-wrenching noir from Jim Thomspon. A heavy-drinking femme fatale, crooked cop and a perfect crime gone terribly wrong. It ticks all the right boxes of the genre’s conventions. However, what lifts this generic offering to an engaging read lies in the outcast-turned-outlaw protagonist, Kevin 'Kid' Collins. Through his eyes, America becomes a feverish nightmare- a concrete pasture of hardness and nothingness. Kevin and his partners in crime all want out of this ruth ...more
John Cooke
I just reread AFTER DARK, MY SWEET by Jim Thompson for the first time in more than 20 years ... and it holds up even better the second time around. The writing is spare but evocative and the suspense is masterful. I have always adored this novel, but today more than ever.
Published in 1955 when Thompson was hitting his stride. Small-town noir about a kidnapping that goes awry and narrated by mental patient/boxer Kid Collins. The unpolished prose makes the edgy voice work well. Worth a second read some day, a compliment to the book.
Jason Howlett
Grim, grimy, gritty and great.
Kid Collins is a dangerously beautiful creation
One Of tohmpsons finest
Reviewing this book im avoiding like one of the kids mitts Tis the story so intricate & tight & tragic ...
Yeah could be seen as unrequited love
I'll end it there jus read it
Amazing story and one of few books I enjoy seeing as a movie. Jason Patrick was Kid Collins in my mind before I ever sat in the Tara theater in Atlanta to watch this adaption. I stayed to watch it again.
Another great story with unforgettably dark characters. I loved the struggle Collie put up against the forces of evil.....he was memorable and the ending was a twisted redemption. Excellent!
The story is around a neurotic and harden character of pulp genre mixing with similar character. The protagonist is ruthless and gets involved with the peer group and executes a criminal intent. The story seems to be develop as and when one situation evolves from one unpredictable outcome to another. The kidnapping situation is also written from the point of view of the doers of the crime and how they intent to control or manage the situation. As is the case with all the novels of the author, it ...more
Tomas Boudreau
That feeling one has walking down an empty street at night where all the shops are locked up and the only thing you can hear is a distant highway.
Douglas Castagna
Involves morally ambiguous people, who are both cunning and without scruples, as in much of the Thompson universe. This is only the second book by the author I have read to date. It was somewhat weaker than Killer Inside Me, but involved a more intricate plot. Kid Collins, also known as Collie, meets up with a Femme Fatal at a local watering hole and takes him home. Soon a plot is hatched with Uncle Bud to kidnap a kid for ransom. Things go south from the get go and the reader will not be disapp ...more
Αυτό είναι το τέταρτο βιβλίο του Τζιμ Τόμσον που διαβάζω, συγκρινόμενο με τα τρία προηγούμενα δεν είναι το καλύτερο, αλλά αυτό δεν σημαίνει τίποτα, από μόνο του είναι ένα πολύ καλό βιβλίο.

Ο Μπιλ Κόλινς, ή αλλιώς Κιντ Κόλινς, ή σκέτο Κόλλι, είναι ένας νεαρός και όμορφος άντρας, πρώην μποξέρ, που όμως έχει κάποιες νευρώσεις και σε στιγμές δύσκολες γι'αυτόν μπορεί να κάνει πράγματα χωρίς να ελέγχει τον εαυτό του και να γίνεται επικίνδυνος για τους γύρω του. Έχει μόλις βγει από ένα ψυχιατρικό ίδρυμ
Luca Lesi
"Il pascolo di cemento. Cioè, è così che mi sembra. Vai, continui ad andare, ed è sempre lo stesso dappertutto. Dovunque sei stato, dovunque vai, dovunque guardi . Solo grigiore e vita dura, fin dove riesci a vedere"
William Collins è un giovane, a tratti gentile a tratti violento , un passato tra affidi e galera . Uno psicopatico del quale però non si riesce a non provare affetto anche perché le sue caratteristiche negative sono attenuate dal mondo sordido e squallido dei personaggi che gli fann
It's pretty hard not to admire the work of Jim Thompson. He made an entire career out of the absolute mastery of the unreliable narrator. In fact, it's so unreliable, that it's almost as if some of the lack of unreliability seeps off into the reader. How much can you really trust your own sense of what's going on? Which is the real character? The lost and lonely wanderer or the dark and sinister ball of rage just waiting to unleash hell on everyone around him?

Ultimately, that lack of certainty a
Matthew Young
Like a story about a slippery slope narrated by a pool of quicksand, the first-person narrative is what makes this quick little noir story stand out.

Billy Collins, an ex-boxer with either a violent streak that isn't helped by his lack of social intelligence or multiple neuroses and brain damage, is a young drifter who doesn't want to stay in an institution but can't seem to function in the world. He gets mixed up with the kinda-typical noir basket case hottie named Fay and pretzel-crooked ex-co
Becca Loo
first book i've read by him and i can already tell this will be a long relationship. even if i didn't like the main character that much and it was frustrating watching him ruin his life it was still a really entertaining read. the book itself was short so it was a good read during the school year. the plot kinda lags in the middle and the one sex scene there is is virtually nonexistent but the ending makes up for it with an alright twist. he reminds me of james m cain lots of double crossing and ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Myers Thompson was a United States writer of novels, short stories and screenplays, largely in the hardboiled style of crime fiction.

Thompson wrote more than thirty novels, the majority of which were original paperback publications by pulp fiction houses, from the lat
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“Usually, during the past fifteen-odd years, I'd hated to see the morning come. That's a psychotic symptom, you know, not wanting to awaken--hating to face things that are bound to be more than you can handle.” 1 likes
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