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The Killer Inside Me

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,524 Ratings  ·  934 Reviews
Lou Ford is the deputy sheriff of a small town in Texas.The worst thing most people can say against him is that he's a little slow and a little boring.But, then, most people don't know about the sickness--the sickness that almost got Lou put away when he was younger.The sickness that is about to surface again.

An underground classic since its publication in 1952, The Killer
Paperback, 244 pages
Published March 13th 1991 by Vintage (first published 1952)
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Oct 25, 2015 Patrick rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by someone who worked in the publishing industry, what's more, they liked my book, so I was pretty sure they had excellent taste. I bought it almost immediately, and was excited to give it a try.

That was almost exactly nine years ago. (This might give you a dim glimmer as to what my to-read shelf is like.)

A couple days ago, I was in-between books and looking over my shelves for something I could read before going to bed. I didn't want to start up another Pratchet
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Stephen King said about novelist Jim Thompson: “He was crazy. He went running into the American subconscious with a blowtorch in one hand and a pistol in the other, screaming his goddamn head off. No one else came close.”

I thought I would love this book, and I did somewhat. I feel kinda dirty after reading it though. Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is well..he is a fucker. He hides in plain sight. That calm deputy that draws no attention to himself, but deep inside his monster's lurk.

Told from the firs
Dan Schwent
Ever meet someone at a party and think they're pretty cool until they let something slip and you realize they may in fact be bat-shit psycho? That's how Lou Ford, the protagonist of The Killer Inside Me is. I also suspect that Jim Thompson may have been that way as well.

The Killer Inside Me is the story of Lou Ford, a small town sheriff who's a little slow and a little boring. Or he would have you believe. Lou Ford spends most of his time keeping the sickness inside him in check. Lou's a sociopa

First of all, a warning: if you happen to pick up the edition I did that includes an introductory essay from Stephen King, make sure you read it after you finish the book. Goddamn it, either the entire principal of *spoiler* completely flies over this man's head, or he just loves being a bastard about these things. After 2014's Twitter controversy where he spoiled a major death for fans of HBO's Game of Thrones series, I'm pretty certain it's the latter.

It's not that he doesn't get it -- he jus
Jun 09, 2011 Stephen rated it it was amazing


5.0 stars. A “one of a kind” reading experience that I can not recommend more highly for fans of noir crime fiction or psychological thrillers. Told in the first person by Lou Ford, who to all outward appearances is a thoughtful, considerate (if somewhat slow) Deputy Sheriff of Capital City, Texas, population 50,
Emily May
Sep 12, 2012 Emily May rated it liked it
I went into this with high expectations. I mean, who doesn't love a good psychopath? Especially one with a boat-load of issues who is in a position of authority and trust. Enter Lou Ford, small town sheriff and all-round good guy... or so his sweet and slightly slow disposition would have you think. But Lou has the sickness. Most of the time he manages to keep it hidden beneath a cheery and easy-going attitude, most of the time you would assume he is just your average Joe. Until every once in a ...more
Jim Thompson must have had noir in his veins instead of red blood cells. This dark first-person story has the reader inhabiting the mind of a killer in way that most authors can't even come close to matching. It's disturbing, chilling and one of the best pieces of crime fiction I’ve ever read.

Lou Ford is a small-town sheriff’s deputy in West Texas. He appears to be just a good natured, not-to-bright, good-ole-boy who usually speaks in a series of clichés to the point of annoying or boring whoeve
The Killer Inside Me: Jim Thompson's classic Roman Noir

“Just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses
Jan 26, 2015 Melki rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melki by: Cathy DuPont
Shelves: crime-fiction
"It's always lightest just before the dark..."

This is one terrific tale, though nasty as all get out.

Thompson seems to have serious Mommy issues, as all his women, be they whores or schoolmarms, are shrewish harpies. AND, he seems to believe that a good beating is the only foreplay a woman should ever need.

He is not alone in his cringe-worthy treatment of the ladies. It seems to be a common problem that has bugged the hell out of me in other books of this ilk and is probably the main reason I
Jun 30, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing
This was a humdinger of a story written through the eyes of a sheriff Lou Ford of a small, middle-of-nowhere west Texas town of Central City. Is he an easy-going, well-liked man and a respected citizen of the town, well known for his quiet, gentle nature? On the inside he has a dark-side he is a sociopathic killer who seems to think that life is ruled by any means necessary, full of both corny, small-town bonhomie and murderous psychosexual rage. He will not hesitate to eliminate his loved ones ...more
Nov 11, 2012 knig rated it it was amazing
Recommended to knig by: Steve Kendall
Shelves: favourites, 2012
When Boris Vian hoaxed his way into the roman noir scene in 1958 with ‘I spit on your graves’, he was giving Jim Thompson a nod.

This book is riveting. It springs on the back of Chandler and Hammet who were by then moulding the no-nonsense, cynical, take no prisoner ‘Has- Been’ into limelight situations, but whereas these pioneer anti-heroes seem to preserve a modicum of decency, their successors, guided by the likes of Patricia Highsmith, Vian and Thompson seem to surgically remove that modicum,
I've read what some may consider to be a creepy number of non-fiction books on sociopathy (The Sociopath Next Door, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, The Mask of Sanity). All of them attempt to offer insight into the heads of these individuals among us who exist without conscience, and adeptly "play human." Many of them (especially The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence by Gavin de Becker - which rumor has it Oprah recommended) try to aid the average, non-so ...more
Aug 12, 2015 Tfitoby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Possibly even better than Pop. 1280, but essentially it's the same conceit - first person, unreliable narrator, manipulating his readers in to feeling sorry for him whilst going about his immoral business, in this case lots of cold blooded murder.

Fascinating and dark, Thompson grabs you with his tale of good ol' boy Lou Ford and you don't want to be let go, even when the house is burning up around you. Ford is more intelligent than everyone around him, but he has a dark secret in his past and a
Nov 07, 2014 Brandon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, noir, 2014
The threat of violence in the small Texas town profiled in Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me is so low that the patrolling sheriff, Lou Ford, doesn't even need to carry a gun. Lou doesn't worry because hell, who’s more dangerous in Central City than good ol’ Lou himself? While he speaks in clichés and exudes a friendly demeanour, Lou’s true nature exists behind this social mask; a chilling homicidal maniac who could kill at any moment.

This was my first Jim Thompson and although the brutality o
Aug 16, 2016 notgettingenough rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-lit
This was my orginal thoughts with which I was never satisfied:

Until I saw this my gut feeling was that it would be impossible to take Jim Thompson to the screen, but I stand corrected. Fabulous movie which precisely captures the spirit of Thompson’s writing. I first suggested seeing this to a male who refused on the grounds that ‘horrible things happened to women’ and they do, but I have no idea why this would be interpreted as being about ‘male hate’ ‘misogeny’. Like most people, I guess, my re
Mar 19, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers of Pulp Fiction/ Hard Case Crime novels
Recommended to Paul by: In introduction for a Richard Stark novel
'The Killer Inside Me' by Jim Thompson

This is my first experience of a Jim Thompson novel & if this is typical of his work, it won't be my last.
I first came across Thompson whilst reading an introduction in one of Richard Stark's novels, who Stark cites as one of his influences & if you've read any of the 'Parker' novels you will notice a similar style to Thompson.
Thompson himself admired Fyodor Dostoyevsky & critic/author Geoffrey O'Bren called Thompson the '"Dime-store Dostoye
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 21, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
This is a slightly tricky book to rate and review. I want to give at least a minor warning as I think some readers will find the book to some extent disturbing. that said it's considered a classic of it's type and I can see why. The writing could be called masterful.

This novel was written in 1952. Other than a few terms that are obsolete the story holds up well and in no way really feels dated. I mean yeah we have older cars, limited phone availability and a '50s society but it doesn't "jump out
Nathan Alderman
Jul 25, 2007 Nathan Alderman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: crime and horror fans, lovers of great writing
Jim Thompson worked on oil rigs in his youth. It's filthy, dangerous, deeply hair-raising work, all to get at something that's as precious as it is polluted. Reading his novels is surprisingly similar. His whiskey-soaked misogyny will make your skin crawl, but his ability to plumb the darkest corners of the human soul, with both skill and sympathy, is unmatched in literature.

This is the best Thompson book I've read by far, and one of the best books I've ever read for sheer narrative skill. His p
Did not get this at all. This sounded like my kind of thing, and with favourable reviews from Stanley Kubrick and Stephen King illuminating the front and back of the book, I figured that this would be right up my alley. But I was wrong. I was really disappointed.

There are a few scenes here that would have been shocking back in the day, no doubt. But they just don't quite live up to it today. However, I do appreciate that aspect of the book. What I did not appreciate was Jim Thompson's style of
Jul 22, 2014 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-noir
Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me is terrifying because, in the mind of a sociopath murderer, we (I know it’s not just me!) can see some of ourselves.

The novel is told from the perspective of Lou Ford, a small town Texas deputy who seems harmless and trustworthy but knows his own demons well enough to know he’s anything but a community pillar. Ford’s mind and emotions veer from cold and calculating to viciously angry to desperate and full of need but remain under his control because Ford under
Guy Portman
Feb 17, 2014 Guy Portman rated it really liked it
Twenty-nine-year-old Lou Ford is a Deputy Sheriff from the West Texas town of Central City. Lou, who is in a long-term relationship with childhood sweetheart Amy Stanton, is a hard-working, trustworthy, simple character with a keenness for clichés; at least this is how he is perceived to be by his community. In reality Lou is a sociopath with a dark secret that he has been hiding since childhood.

The story follows the highly intelligent, manipulative and cold-blooded psychopathic killer Lou. Writ
Cathy DuPont
Feb 10, 2015 Cathy DuPont rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All my GR friends...oh, never mind, they've already read it!
This book is everything I read and heard it was. And it scared the crap out of me and I wasn't there except of course, in my mind.

Since it was written in the first person, I wondered if Jim Thompson was killer in real life?

Sparse (just like I love), storyline excellent and the ending was not only a surprise but came out of nowhere. Amazing book for those of us who do not read romance and stuff.
Jul 05, 2016 Brenda rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, disability, noir

Just the title held my interest. And then I start...well I did not buy his "sickness" like everyone said.
40% Its in his mind and yet everything to me was ok nothing crazyness. Yeah he totally killed Elmer and Joyce(maybe not). Still he was move for revenge and we not know what he did or who she is.

And then the psychopath's speech begins. Serious what he did with Pappas and Amy was heartbroken and yet he felt absolutely NOTHING. Gosh why she stay with him was beyond me. But we know sooner or late
Jan 04, 2016 Jean-marcel rated it really liked it
An extraordinary book that left me feeling oddly drained and upset. Not without its humour though. it's strange how likeable Lou Ford really is. In the Humbert Humbert tradition though, you feel awful for liking him, and that the likeability itself is a bit of a put-on (even if it's more complicated than that), especially when he starts beating women to death. Nobody suspects Lou of any kind of misdeed because he's "a rube": a simple country deputy who doesn't even carry a gun. Lou hides every s ...more
William Johnson
It is hard to describe a masterpiece without sounding like a biased fanboy, especially in this internet age. But, well, The Killer Inside Me is a masterpiece, plain and simple.

Jim Thompson manages to create a character so deplorable, yet so engaging and interesting that you can't help but, at the very least, have the retribution he so deserves be held in check just so you can see what is going to happen next.

Written in 1952, The Killer Inside Me dares to expose a sinister side of a time period
Jul 18, 2011 Debra rated it really liked it
Stephen King recommended author. In the introduction to Now and On Earth, Stephen King says he most admires Thompson's work because "The guy was over the top. The guy was absolutely over the top. Big Jim didn't know the meaning of the word stop. There are three brave lets inherent in the forgoing: he let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it."

“He was crazy,” Stephen King, a long-time admirer of Thompson, says. “He went running into the American sub
Feb 16, 2011 Sunday rated it it was amazing
Before there was Dexter & Patrick Bateman, there was Lou Ford and his bright deputy badge in Texas.

Under his 50's charm and constant "Andy Griffith" show aphorisms creeps a serial killer so calculating it makes the IBM robot look like a Tamagotchi. This is a weirdly picturesque noir with so much to love: big breakfasts of scrambled eggs and coffee, unending small talk, and a too-trusting small town. Lou's narration feels so sensible, even in the middle of a gruesome kill. It's like, of cours
May 12, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people with killers inside them? or hm, maybe not....
So far I hate Jim Thompson a lot more than I remembered. Not sure I'll make it through this one.... Kind of a weird chaser right after the Proust.

Okay, so Jim Thompson writes like a demented fourth-grader who's being raised in a pretty rough whorehouse. This isn't my favorite style, but that doesn't mean I didn't get sucked in. The only other book I remember reading about West Texas is the Lyndon Johnson biography, which made this one fun because I got to picture the cliche-spouting, cigar-c
Mar 25, 2016 Skip rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Dexter fans
Shelves: thriller
A very dark book, decades ahead of its time (written in 1952.) Lou Ford, a local cop, appears to be a bland, get-along-with-all kind of guy, but is a screaming sociopath. Written in a first person narrative, the novel paints a solid picture of a West Texan town, dominated by oil and its primary profiteer; however, Thompson fails to explain Lou's sickness. Maybe that was the entire point, and was lost on me?
Mickey Wozny
Sep 04, 2007 Mickey Wozny rated it really liked it
You can smell this book. It's sweat, desperation, liquor, failure and misogyny. This is my favorite Jim Thompson book, it's an ugly book to say you enjoy, but I do and I don't feel good saying it. Like other art forms in the fifties, this book is enamored with psychology. Which reaches it's pinnacle in the final pages. Thompson reveals both personalities of the protagonist in alternating lines of the text. It is a deft understanding of a split personality for a pulpy crime novel. It's a great re ...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 about Jim Thompson...

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