The Killer Inside Me
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The Killer Inside Me

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  8,911 ratings  ·  693 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...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published March 13th 1991 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1952)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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sckenda
Texas-noir. 1952. Oil Boom. Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford. Easy-going Lou. Folks think Lou’s a little slow-- but so likeable. Lou’s gentle with drunks and screw-ups. “The man with the grin is the one who wins.” Lou smokes cigars. The bums always size him up for an easy mark.

Lou’s a killer. Rich man’s son falls in love with a hooker. Lou’s gonna serve some dishes cold. Refinery whistle blows. Dimly in the distance. Like a ghost hooting.

Lou likes to spank women. Lou finds women who like to be spanked...more
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...more
Stephen
HOWDY FOLKS…MY NAME IS LOU FORD AND I’M A MILD-MANNERED, DEPUTY SHERIFF IN A SMALL TEXAS TOWN...OH BTW...I’M ALSO A SADISTIC, DEEPLY DISTURBED, PSYCHOPATHIC KILLER....NICE TO MEET YOU!!

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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,...more
Emily May
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
Mike
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
...more
Lou
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
Kemper
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...more
knig
Nov 11, 2012 knig rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to knig by: sckenda
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,...more
Mara
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
notgettingenough
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...more
Paul
Mar 19, 2014 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Mike (the Paladin)
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...more
Katherine
True story: When I moved to my new town, I warned my branch librarian (a very sweet woman in her 60s) that I was writing a book about some intense subjects, and that I'd gained a reputation at my last library. Back then, I was ordering ten or twelve novel-research books on interlibrary loan every week, and my hold shelf looked like this:
HOW TO MAKE METH
3 MEMOIRS ABOUT RAPE
GETTING OVER YOUR INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA
THE COURAGE TO HEAL
STAYING CLEAN OFF METH
BDSM FOR IDIOTS

I think I only succeeded in...more
Nathan Alderman
Jul 25, 2007 Nathan Alderman rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
RandomAnthony
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...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...more
Sunday
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...more
Debra
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...more
Jessica
May 12, 2009 Jessica rated it 2 of 5 stars
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...more
Mickey Wozny
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
Mohnish
So we have the old-school gory conniving cold blooded distorted psycho/socio-path Lou who's been inspiration for others you might be familiar with.
description
So Lou's a pretentious douche an empathetic kinda misogynist, obviously he's gonna kill some [bitches + innocent guys] to add thrill to his dull mundane life. He's gonna think himself into absolving his conscience of guilt but that's only doublethink.

I'm always rooting for the bad guys but Lou wasn't fascinating enough, anyway please for once let the...more
Harry Kane
I read this in one sitting in the winter of 2010 and I couldn't believe I was reading this. I remember finding afterwards a sentiment from Stephen King that Thompson as a writer just doesn't filter stuff - he presents it all. And he can write, being of the last wave of the old school noir stylists.

This book, in my opinion ranks on the same level, or even slightly higher, as The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and... And anything, really. Only Hammett and certain Chandlers are undo...more
Melanie
I think that if I hadn't of read a lotof real crime non-fiction and grown up fascinated with psychopaths & sociopaths I would have found this novel chilling. It had its moments.

What I did love was how entertaining the read was, it is very much a page turner and you have to love the often comical good guy act, and always clever machinations of awe-shucks Sheriff Lou Ford.
Shawn Davies
What a proper nutter! The scariest thing though is how you come to view Lou Ford’s actions as making sense, how you so easily by into this first person narrative.

Once his beast is released he begins racking up the body count in a desperate attempt to stay ahead of the dead. Environmental triggers are hinted at as the story unfolds, but we are very much concerned with his present predicament. It is being privy to Lou’s internal dialogue that is so seductive, that enfolds us in his decision makin...more
F.R.
One of the key texts in the Thompson canon, and probably the book which did most to earn him the soubriquet: “Dime-store Dostoyevsky”. Lou Ford is deputy sheriff in a small Texas city, outwardly pleasant and respected by his neighbours, he nonetheless harbours a sickness which leads him to kill women (and then anybody who gets in his way). Both misogynistic and misanthropic this is far from an easy read, but it’s impossible to deny the quality of the writing and how horribly convincing the centr...more
Michael
The Killer Inside Me is a perfect example of Noir in its purest form; it’s disturbing, dark, gritty and chilling. The protagonist Lou Ford is an all-around nice guy – on the surface – underneath is a depraved sociopath. Ford claims this is a result of bordom; "If there's anything worse than a bore," says Lou, "it's a corny bore." The book is writing in first person; which makes the sadomasochistic relationships, child abuse and insanity just that much more chilling and disturbing.

This book is n...more
Mike
Not just the usual noir; the cynicism and violence are dialed up a notch, and, as a result, not the sort of book I normally read. However, I was impressed by the writing and the realism of the protagonist Lou Ford, who describes himself as a paranoid schizophrenic but is actually closer to a violent psychopath. Lou reminded me a great deal of Dexter (I've only seen the series, not read the books), in that both hide behind authority, nice guy personas, and cliches, while having little understandi...more
Ingo
Started December 01st, 2012. Reading the foreword by S. King and having read Chandler, Woolrich, etc. and The Grifters by the same author, this will be a great classic. The only question is, will I spoil it by watching the film before finishing it? I do not expect to be the film nearly as good as the book, and try not to read to many comments on a film before seeing it.
Finished the book yesterday short of midnight today.
Great, but not perfect. But fits in the Noir-Series, raw power, hard men, ha...more
Robert
Another ferocious noir by the author of The Grifters and After Dark My Sweet. I didn't like this one as much as those two but it's still really good. I have yet to be disappointed in anything by Thompson and really look forward to reading the rest of his output.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Brilliant book. Very, very brutal and disturbing, incredibly well-written. Easily matches my personal favourite crime writer, Simenon for its combination of a gripping plot, insight into a twisted psyche and writing of a high calibre. I'm not certain why I'm doing this exploration of the classic crime genre at present (last year this time I was delving into the Gothic canon) but it's certainly brought to light several exceptionally talented writers.
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Books Stephen Kin...: * Killer Inside Me General Discussion (NO SPOILERS) 35 51 Dec 22, 2013 02:54PM  
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The Backlot Gay B...: The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson 1 10 Aug 02, 2013 07:21PM  
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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 Grifters Pop. 1280 The Getaway After Dark, My Sweet (Crime Masterworks) A Hell of a Woman

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