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The Kill-Off
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The Kill-Off

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  852 Ratings  ·  45 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
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Paperback, Corgi edition reissued 1990, 202 pages
Published 1990 by Corgi Books (first published 1957)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,699)
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Carla Remy
I was reading the first couple pages, thinking, "this feels like his Pop. 1280," when I read, on the third or fourth page, "According to the last census, the population was 1,280." The two novels are not connected, and The Kill-Off is from 1957 but Pop.1280 is from 1964. Maybe if I read the very long Jim Thompson biography I'll understand the significance of this. But, overall, I didn't think this experiment in multiple perspectives was that great.
Tony
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
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Peter
Nov 20, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/el-extermin...

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
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Daniel
Jun 02, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The One. The man.
«Noche salvaje » ya comenzaba en clave de género negro, pronto derivaba a lo kafkiano y terminaba a lo Carretera Perdida de Lynch. Aquí Thompson vuelve a escribir, con la excusa o la etiqueta del noir, lo que da la gana. 12 capítulos para 12 puntos de vista de 12 personajes, a cual más cafre y solitario. Si lo firmara Carrión y lo publicara Galaxia, los blogs y los suplementos se pasarían el año hablando de «El exterminio».
Ismael Galvan
May 27, 2014 Ismael Galvan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Andy
Nov 10, 2008 Andy rated it liked it  ·  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.
Paul
Jul 15, 2015 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite Thompson. In his best novels, he creates one or two fatally flawed but still empathetic anti-heroes and lets us enjoy their inevitable downfall(s). In this novel, he switches narrators every twenty pages or so to tell the story of a tawdry murder in a seedy resort town. There is more virtuosity that virtue to this approach. The murder itself is interesting -- the victim is a gossipy, vindictive old bat with so many enemies the suspect list is impossible to narrow down -- and all ...more
Raro de Concurso
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
George
Mar 14, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
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
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Julie
Nov 04, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Aramys
Nov 25, 2015 Aramys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sin duda en El exterminio os encontrareis un Thompson diferente, pero que conserva toda su esencia, no tengáis miedo, es una novela que está a la altura del resto de su universo, cínica, social, con personajes desangelados, con personajes más extremos, con esa facilidad de crearnos una opinión sobre sus personajes en ocasión equivocada, engañosa, falsa…

https://viajealrededordeunamesa.wordp...
by Ax
Aug 09, 2015 by Ax rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
12 motivazioni personali

12 personaggi di provincia in cerca di motivazioni, o di alibi, o di riscatto, o di, be', fate voi. Tutti sapientemente tratteggiati nelle loro virtù di piccoli perdenti, chi più chi meno, a barcamenarsi tra slanci di follia e consolatorie illusioni, e un occhio rivolto all'omicidio.
Solo uno di essi sarà colpevole... forse tutti, forse nessuno.
Bob Mackey
Feb 11, 2014 Bob Mackey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ron
Jul 06, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nik Morton
Dec 09, 2010 Nik Morton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert Hudder
Oct 19, 2015 Robert Hudder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, told from the perspective of the possible killers... Fun ride. Got the killer right but not the motive nor the additional surprise at the end.
Titus G
Interesting structure with each chapter from the perspective of a different character though they were all similar in their small minded and nasty thoughts.
Armand Martinez
Apr 07, 2015 Armand Martinez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say, best of THompson.
Euna Lawson
May 11, 2015 Euna Lawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love Thompson.
Dave
Sep 15, 2011 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2008 Cullen Gallagher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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.
Ed
Nov 01, 2009 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Christian
Nov 19, 2008 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Patrick
Feb 25, 2009 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Michelle
Dec 26, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.....:)
Margaret
Jan 28, 2009 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardboiled-crime
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.
Jake
Jan 03, 2015 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Pdxjackie
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.
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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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