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The Kill-Off

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  692 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Luane Devore's days are numbered. All her neighbors in the declining seaside resort town of Manduwoc 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 pers
Paperback, Corgi edition reissued 1990, 202 pages
Published 1990 by Corgi Books (first published 1957)
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By sheer coincidence, today's Merriam-Webster "Word of the Day" (2/15/08) is whodunit ("a detective story or mystery story"). Coincidence, because just yesterday I finished reading Jim Thompson's The Kill-Off, from 1957. Thompson's novels rarely, if ever, traffic in "who done it" - instead, many of his protagonists are psychopathic killers who leave behind multiple victims in their remorseless wakes. There is little doubt over who the murderer is. And when the protagonist isn't a cold-blooded mu ...more
Ismael Galvan
The first few pages really turned me off. It's written in the very old style as if you're reading someone's journal. But it's Jim Thompson, one of my favorites, so I grudgingly stuck with it. I was further deterred because it's a story told from multiple perspectives. "What the fuck is this, goddamn Clue?" I said to myself.

But I ended up getting hooked by Jim's ability to change into different characters with genuine authenticity. It was like watching someone do magic tricks. Each chapter takes
THE KILL-OFF. (1957). Jim Thompson. ***.
I keep bumping into books by Thompson that I haven’t read, so it’s time to get organized and make a clean sweep. This title was new to me. Aside from the premises of the plot, it’s not among Thompson’s best work. It is set in the small town of Manduwoc (with the improbable population of 1,280). You are reminded of “Our Town” with sinister overtones. We meet Luane Devore. Luane is about sixty-years old and has been secreting herself in her bedroom for quite
Nov 10, 2008 Andy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: soap opera fans
Shelves: pulp-fiction
Thompson puts the pulp-crime hatchet away and writes a "Peyton Place" style soap opera about a rich gossip who crushes her neighbors in the safety of her sick bed. Everybody harbors plans to snuff her, but who carries it out? Is it the slutty big band singer, the kept gigolo handyman husband, is it the junk-sick teenage girl or the half-caste Juvenile Delinquent? Very sordid goings on in this book. A decent time waster.
Thompson is in experimental mode, giving us a rather post-modern novel that unwinds backwards and in which each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, each of whom is a suspect in the murder. His command of voice and usual themes and tones are present--though with far less overt violence than many of his books--but the novel is a bit of a mixed bag. It doesn't really succeed as something well plotted, and it gives us a very unsatisfying ending that suggests that a charact ...more
Raro de Concurso
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Αυτό είναι το έκτο βιβλίο του Τζιμ Τόμσον που διαβάζω. Σαν ιστορία μου φάνηκε αρκετά διαφορετική από τις άλλες ιστορίες του Τόμσον, περισσότερο σαν "σκληρή" σαπουνόπερα μου έκανε παρά σαν μια από αυτές τις κλασικές αστυνομικές ιστορίες που ξέρει να γράφει καλά. Αυτό διόλου δεν με πείραξε, μου αρέσει πολύ η γραφή του Τόμσον και η ανάπτυξη των χαρακτήρων του, που και μια απλή ερωτική ιστορία να είχε γράψει πάλι ενδιαφέρον θα είχε.

Τοπίο δράσης είναι μια μικρή παραλιακή κωμόπολη που από άποψη προσέ
Julie Masterton
I'll admit it; as a whodunnit, this is a mediocre affair. I didn't guess who the killer was, as I usually do, because it just kind of comes out of nowhere, plot-wise.

But as a snap shot of small-town life, and a glimpse at the interior lives of the apparently small-town/small-lives people who live there, this is Thompson at his best. Unlike so many popular books with alternating character narrations where every character has the exact same voice so that the reader is constantly flipping back to
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

Descubrí a Jim Thompson a lo grande, con su obra maestra inapelable “1280 almas” donde su terrorífico y aparentemente bobalicón sheriff Nick Corey me hizo descubrir el mal sin fisuras; el mal más allá de toda comprensión asociado a la naturaleza humana. Esa obra maestra imperecedera me recuerda una y otra vez que hay pocas experiencias como leer cualquier obra del genial autor norteamericano.
De hecho, cada vez que leo una obra suya, el nivel s
Bob Mackey
One of Thompson's lesser-known novels, The Kill-Off takes an approach completely alien to the writer's usual output: each of its twelve chapters is written from the perspective of a different resident of its sleazy setting. While a murder serves as the central focus of the narrative, The Kill-Off is more concerned with character studies than providing a compelling mystery. Because of this focus, Thompson can't quite stick the landing; with the story jumping from character to character, certain e ...more
Nik Morton
This book is a bravura effort: twelve chapters, each in the first person by a different character from a backwater New England town, Manduwoc. There’s Kossmeyer, the lawyer; Ralph Devore, downtrodden husband of Luana, seeks solace with Danny Lee, the singer; Rags McGuire, the washed up jazz musician employing Danny; Bobbie, wayward son of Doc James Ashton; Hattie, the Negro maid and lover of the doctor and mother of Bobbie; Goofy Gannder, the drunk and incompetent; Henry Clay Williams, county at ...more
Armand Martinez
What can I say, best of THompson.
Thompson! again a fabulous book. a story with switching perspectives and voices as each character takes their turn telling the story. the story isn't a mystery about who did it- but who will as everyone seems to have a motive. Curiously enough one character the first you meet is 5 feet tall just like Carl Bigelow from "Savage Night" what is with Thompson and 5 foot men?
it is a oft times funny and great absorbing title again. everyone read this and his other works you won't be disappointed.
Cullen Gallagher
Small-town paranoia; the flames of hell transposed to the chills of a coastal New England town; a silent veneer of mutual guilt and complicity in immorality and desperation: the characters in The Kill-Off are the masterminds of their own downfall. Incest, drug abuse, family lies, betrayals, failed romances, spiteful marriages, lost opportunities: these are the only blessings to be found in Thompson's world, save for the ultimate gift they are all quietly waiting for: their own death.
Though probably not Mr. Thompson's most entertaining novel, it's one of his most intriguing I've read to date. He uses multi-viewpoints to sketch in the different characters at a decrepit New Jersey beach resort. Each character gets to speak in a chapter. There's a murder mystery in the banal small town. Mr. Thompson's conversational tone goes well with this sort of a tale. A movie has been made from the book.
I am reading a collection of Thompson's more well known novels titled, HARDCORE. Having only read THE KILLER INSIDE ME, I was still unaware of Thompson's overall style but prepared for the inevitable abhorrent violence and unlikable characters. This novel is completely different, and the multiple narrator approach is incredible. Read Jim Thompson.
Bruce Black
More a literary exercise; an experiment in story telling, and worth a look for that aspect, if you're a fan of Thompson. But it's no The Getaway. For me, someone who looses track of characters, it was especially difficult, and I didn't catch on right away what was going on, so the ending was a bit anti-climatic. I admire the effort.
I found a huge stack of Jim Thompson's crime noir novels at my favorite used bookstore and I grabbed a handful. In Thompson's world women are dangerous, everyone has a secret agenda, and somebody is going to die. I equate these to literary crack, after you get into to one of Jim Thompson's books it is hard to stop until you are finished.
Heh, I liked this one the best. In fact, not only do I Iike the movie version of it, I still think of this book when confronted with a pesky neighbor.....(ironic, off-kilter, dirty laughter trails after my perfume.....:)
Remember that left turn toward crazy that Thompson took in "Savage Night?" Well, he puts a brick on the gas pedal and doesn't slow down till he hits the town square. And yet it is all so plausible...I cried for the abused, the misunderstood and the hopeless who live in the dark town of Thompson's creation.
I'm a positive, uplifting, glass-half-full kinda guy so I don't know why I enjoy Jim Thompson's nihilistic crime novels so much…but I devour them. This is one of his weaker ones and it still is compelling with how evil and hopeless it is. The ending is darkly comic.
My least favorite of Jim Thompson's books I've read so far. It's told from the points of view of various characters, and the story is of a murder that is yet to happen, and maybe that's just too many stretches for this rambler. Still better than anything I could write.
I like Jim Thompson because his books seem so artificial, if that makes sense. They are all like, "HELLO YOU ARE READING A GRITTY, RAW, HARD-BOILED CRIME NOVEL THAT I, JIM THOMPSON, HAVE WRITTEN." Sometimes that's a bad thing, but he seems to get away with it.
Interesting multiple viewpoint novel by Jim Thompson. Deals with taboo subjects in a small town setting in the mid-50s. I actually really enjoyed reading and discussing in my lit & film class, comparing/contrasting with the movie Pulp Fiction.
Thompson era un genio de la psicología, impregnaba a sus personajes de unas mentes perversas, a todos los niveles, y nunca sabes a que estan jugando, que están tramando. Thompson era un retorcido, y ésta novela es un muy buen ejemplo.
As with every Thompson book I've read so far, I find myself really engaged, right up until the end. It just seems like we have very different ideas of how the last act should go. Still, an entertaining read, if not quite my cup of tea.
Sep 22, 2009 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: Frank
Better than a whodunit. It's a whozgunnadoit? We all know someone will knock off the gossipy old lady. Which of the multiple narrators will finally do the deed? Nastily noire.
A good yarn from the master of hard-boiled fiction. Not a pretty picture of small town America, but it's somewhat tame compared to the rest of Jim Thompson's work.
Each chapter is told from the pov of a different character. The story is about a small town murder, hard times, singers, race relations, crazy, sinister people.
Tim Hainley
Sort of a Blue Velvet meets Clue whodunnit. Everybody has a secret. Everybody is a suspect. But it doesn't really matter that much who did it.
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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 about Jim Thompson...
The Killer Inside Me The Grifters Pop. 1280 The Getaway After Dark, My Sweet

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