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The Fools in Town Are on Our Side

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  258 ratings  ·  19 reviews
"Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?" -- Mark Twain

Ross Thomas chose the quotation from Huckleberry Finn as the text of his post World War II story as well as for the title. When Lucifer Dye is released from three months in a Hong Kong prison, debriefed, handed a false passport, a new wardrobe and a $20,000 che
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 16th 2003 by Minotaur Books (first published 1970)
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James Thane
Ross Thomas, who died in 1995, deserves to be remembered with other great masters of the crime novel of the latter twentieth century. He wrote a number of intriguing books that were cleverly plotted, filled with interesting characters and that often dealt with the corruption that lies just under the surface of American life.

The Fools in Town Are on Our Side, which was first published in 1970, takes its inspiration from a quote by Mark Twain. The main protagonist, Lucifer Dye, has had a most unco
David Schlosser
Nov 13, 2013 David Schlosser rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to David by: Michael Jacobs
This is a really interesting book, and I devoured it in basically one rainy vacation day. As a recovering political/policy guy -- something covered deeply in this book -- I'm not sure how I feel about it. I will probably have to cogitate a while before deciding if I will ever know how I feel about it, but I can tell you it's a terrific read. I know this is true because it's about a bunch of thoroughly dislikeable creeps but you can't stop turning pages. In this vein, consider Thank You for Smoki ...more
A remarkable "thriller". Far, far beyond the pack in terms of writing, complexity, cynical double-crosses, and simultaneous story lines. Two scenes are almost unforgettable: one in which the narrator and his father get caught in the bombing of Shanghai, and one in which the narrator meets with the "good ole boy" VIPs of the town he's been contracted to corrupt.

This was the first Ross Thomas novel I read (in 2009! Shame on me...), and I've since read several others, which were good to excellent i
I quite frankly wondered whether or not I would find a story this old (40+ years) as entertaining and relevant as I did when I read other titles by Ross Thomas back in the 70s and 80s. Happily for me, I did. Few authors have created characters more colorful and outrageous than Thomas. And you would be hard pressed to find one with a more cynical yet humorous view of human nature -especially when it comes to individuals with wealth and power.
Shockingly affecting for a book this schematically absurd. I don't know how Thomas managed that, but I'm kind of in awe of the skills. Oh, and funny as hell, except when it really isn't at all.
Delia Binder
Arguably Ross Thomas's best book - it's basically the plot of Kurosawa's YOJIMBO, only without swords and with smart-alecky con (wo)men and ex-Government agents turned mercenaries.
Karen Kenney
A thrift store find from 1970. Fun old school secret agent gone bad/good story.
Of the four Ross Thomas books I've read so far, this was my favorite. He manages to weave together three story lines from three different time periods, and they are all interesting enough that I never minded being ripped out of one plot and dropped into another at the beginning of each chapter. The crazy situation keeps building and building and you wonder how in the world our hero will ever get out of it alive. A fun summer read.
Mar 21, 2007 Ron rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I re-read this book every couple of years. Not to put too fine a point on it, it is simply the best piece of mind numbing crap ever to be published. It's not deep. It's not realistic. It's not even important. It is, however, laugh out loud funny, engrossing, and entertaining.

A weekend's reading. At most. But the best of its kind ever written.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The fans of Ross Thomas had voted this book as being their all-time favorite with a 4.22 rating out of 5.00 average; and I agree, this book is sensational. Do not expect a politically correct novel, because it is not. However, I could not put this book down, it's quite a read.
Nothing intellectual to say here. I loved it. It takes a massively skilful writer to create a ghastly protagonist that the reader still identifies with and wants to succeed. Very close to 5 stars in the crime fiction genre.
T.M. Merremont
The can be no denying: Ross Thomas is the best "insider" thriller author I've ever come across. His characters are sharp as jagged glass, and just as dangerous if approached from the wrong angle.
Duffy Pearce
Very funny, very readable about an unwillingly retired spy who finds freelance work wresting control of a town from crooks
The author effortlessly mixes espionage, small town corruption, and war time Shanghai into a highly readable crime novel.
Brutal noir tale of machiavellian machinations and their human toll. Like the entire Ross Thomas ouevre, not to be missed.
Sean O
I liked it, but I thought the only female character existed simply to give the main character someone to sleep with.
Great, fast paced with Thomas' usual flare for dialog.
Mary Mcclain
it was a freebie
Kelly marked it as to-read
Feb 17, 2015
Brandon Tindle
Brandon Tindle marked it as to-read
Feb 02, 2015
Thaddeus marked it as to-read
Jan 21, 2015
Laura Arena
Laura Arena is currently reading it
Jan 03, 2015
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Ross Thomas was an American writer of crime fiction. He is best known for his witty thrillers that expose the mechanisms of professional politics. He also wrote several novels under the pseudonym Oliver Bleeck about professional go-between Philip St. Ives.

Thomas served in the Philippines during World War II. He worked as a public relations specialist, reporter, union spokesman, and political strat
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