After Dark, My Sweet (Crime Masterworks)
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After Dark, My Sweet (Crime Masterworks)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,196 ratings  ·  83 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 Noir
46th out of 497 books — 513 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
342nd out of 498 books — 642 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...more
Darwin8u
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.
[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...more
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...more
Ryan
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...more
Lee
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...more
Andy
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.
Janice
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
Trevor Pearson
"I know. I remember the time I had three spine taps in one month, and the time I had the electric-jolt treatment and the insulin-shock routine. There wasn't anything wrong with the treatment, you know. It wasn't the treatment's fault that I couldn't focus my eyes or stand up or remember my own name. That was mine; I just didn't react properly."


EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT

Banishment for Pugilistic Prodigy William "Kid" Collins after Brutal Beating of Burlington Bearcat.

Charged with murder in...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...more
Ron
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
Daniel
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...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.
Ed
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.
Drew
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
Dmtiz
Steve White
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.
Alok
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
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...more
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
Josh
Dec 05, 2007 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noir fans
you just don't get stuff like this that often - it's real noir/pulp and all of that, but this was really an incredible little book. Apparently writer Jim Thompson died penniless (even though he wrote to screenplays for Kubrick - "The Killing" & "Paths of Glory"), and since then, he's had 5 or 6 books turned into films (the Getaway, the Grifters, Pop. 1280, After Dark... probably some others). And you can read this and see why. It practically is a screenplay. about 130 pages long, great chara...more
Warren Stalley
This is a typical powder keg of a Jim Thompson story. A punch drunk drifter with mental problems falls in with an ex cop and a drunken woman to form an uneasy triangle. A half formed kidnap plan goes very wrong and no one gets out in one piece. The real strength in Thompson's work is the ability to create small fragile worlds where things can go bad then tragic. There's a feeling that some people just never find peace no matter how hard they try. At times the character of Collie reminded me of L...more
Remy
I love Thompson, but the last couple I read (The Killer Inside Me, Savage Night), I liked but didn't love. This I did love. Classic noir, more like The Grifters, which is the best.
James
*audiobook version*
3.5/5
This was a gritty and fun noir about a kidnapping gone wrong. I found a lot to like with the actual writing, but really didn't care for the reader. Noone with a voice that weaselly should be narrating hard boiled fiction.
Kurt
Every Thompson book is my favorite while I'm reading it but this one managed to stay near the top when I was done. A trio of hard boiled characters each desperate in their own way hoping for the quick score that will "fix" everything. Except they are incapable of playing nice together. The unfolding of who is playing who for a sucker and how is true Thompson. While devious and unfeeling, you understand completely how each character comes to the conclusions that they do. The delicious trick lies...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...more
More about Jim Thompson...
The Killer Inside Me The Grifters Pop. 1280 The Getaway A Hell of a Woman

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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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