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The Getaway

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,240 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
Doc McCoy knows everything there is to know about pulling off the perfect bank job. But there are some things he has forgotten--such as a partner who is not only treacherous but insane and a wife who is still an amateur. Worst of all, McCoy has forgotten that when the crime is big and bloody enough, there is no such thing as a clean getaway.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 3rd 1990 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1958)
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Paul Bryant
Jun 27, 2014 Paul Bryant rated it did not like it

I didn't believe a word of this and it's not like this was a first novel, it was his 19th, so I'm thinking that he was maybe drunk in charge of a typewriter or was just having a real bad month, or something.

First off, I don't like characters called Doc. Even if they're doctors. This is a personal quirk, so I tried to disregard it.

Second, if this Doc McCoy is such an all-round criminal mastermind – and that is the very term used on p 58 - groan! – how come he got caught and went down for a 20 s
Dan Schwent
Doc McCoy, Rudy "Piehead" Torrento, and an accomplice rob the Beacon City Bank and immediately begin double crossing each other. Can Doc McCoy and his wife make it to Mexico before Torrento takes them down or the police catch them?

The Getaway it the tale of a bank heist and its aftermath, told in Jim Thompson's bleak style. Actually, it's really light compared to the other four Thompson's I've read up to this point, more akin to Richard Stark's Parker series than The Killer Inside me. Doc McCoy
Nov 03, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it
This is one of the better Jim Thompson noirs I've read. It's a twisty chase novel with the expected double-crosses, close calls, and violent clashes. Then toward the end, the story veers into something else but in an intriguing way. Doc McCoy, the bank robber, is a nice guy psychopath. I've read and heard that Thompson wrote fast and didn't revise his output. If so, he did a bang up job with his first drafts because he's delivered the goods.
Jun 14, 2015 Lono rated it really liked it
What the fffaaa…..That’s not the ending…..I saw the movie……that’s not what happened…..


My initial response to the ending of The Getaway was not positive. I think I needed to digest it for a while before writing the review. I was on board until that last chapter. So I thought about it, read an interesting review that focused on the ending of the book, re-read the last chapter and….I’m cool with it. All these smart as hell authors with their high-falootin’ metaphors that are typically lost on a dum
Richard Vialet
4.5 stars. The Getaway begins with what would usually be the middle of most heist stories and is mostly about the aftermath of the crime (hence the title). But the story is not your usual "Bonnie and Clyde"-type thriller. This highly suspenseful yarn is ultimately about the disintegration of this couple's relationship as their journey leads them into some deep shit (literally). The only disappointing thing is the build up of a great character with lots of potential, that ultimately goes nowhere. ...more
Dec 17, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
YO. GUYS. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN IS BASICALLY A REWORK OF THIS 1958 BOOK????? Two robbers on the run, one of them recently out of prison, being chased down by the law in a manhunt, taking hostages and trying desperately to get to the border, in order to cross over to a mythical Mexican paradise city called El Rey? Robert Rodriguez just added fucking vampires. See: El Rey.

I am so charmed by this realisation. It's a cool read, though I definitely languished in the middle as the pace slows down, hence
Aug 20, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: great crime sleaze
Shelves: pulp-fiction
More than just a running from the law and the evil criminals, too type-book, but a surreal analogy of how much crap a married couple can endure. And speaking of crap, the capper is when they're reduced to hiding out under a ton of horse manure for hours. Yeah, sometimes marriage feels a lot like that!
As the book develops, husband and wife become increasingly more paranoid and distrustful of each other until they can barely look at each other in the eye. So, forget the Steve McQueen and Alec Bald
May 26, 2016 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Jim Thompson, Serie Noir, Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction
Shelves: serie-noir
The Getaway by Jim Thompson

The Plot

'Doc' McCoy is a professional heist-meister, who together with his wife, Carol, plans & executes a bank holdup. They recruit two other individuals & through a series of double crossers & skullduggery find themselves the sole beneficiaries of their ill-gotten gains. Then comes the getaway.

In true Thompson style, there isn't a likable character in this whole book. That's OK, i didn't expect there to be one. The one character i liked least, was Doc's w
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
When 'Doc' McCoy pulls off the bank heist that is supposed to set him up for his retirement, he didn't reckon with the lengths to which bad luck would go to mess up his getaway. Every time you think things couldn't get worse for Doc, a charming, crafty sociopath, and his wife, they do. Until finally things get really nasty in the end. I felt this one wasn't as tightly crafted as The Killer Inside Me, but there are passages of such breathtakingly bleak and beautiful prose and sequences of such st ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Roybot rated it it was ok
So close to a four star (or better) book, hamstrung by the final chapter. For most of the book, Thompson crafts a great crime novel that calls to mind the Parker books that Westlake would eventually write. Unfortunately, all of the subtlety and atmosphere that was developed in the early chapters is completely thrown out in the last chapters once the protagonists have reached their goal.
If I could have stopped before the last chapters, it would have been a four star book. The characters are inte
Bro_Pair أعرف
Mar 05, 2013 Bro_Pair أعرف rated it it was amazing
Terrific - just terrific. Jim Thompson puts Sartre in the shithouse. But pulp novels never get the credit some long-dead French guy's stuff get. But don't mistake it. This is a real existentialist nightmare, and you don't even realize it til the last third of the novel. What Thompson does to you is the same thing Dostoevsky excelled in doing - making you feel physically ill about what happens to imaginary people.
Benoit Lelievre
Jul 25, 2011 Benoit Lelievre rated it really liked it
This book would need a more precise star system. It deserves 86 or 88% , so 4.40something stars. It's unlike anything I've ever read before. It's plot-driven to the extreme, the situations are strong, unique and twisted, yet the characters are fleshed out extraordinairily. It's only 180 pages, but it couldn't be any bigger or it would've been too complicated. It's cops n' robbers again, but who cares? Thompson wrote The Getaway in 1959, so everybody else copied him. That's the original and that' ...more
Rebecca McNutt
I really enjoyed reading this book; first printed in 1958 and reissued in new editions several times, The Getaway is one of the most original and rather funny crime novels I've ever owned.
Mar 02, 2015 Canavan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mariano Hortal
"Doc McCoy había nacido con la obligación de ser un individuo endiablado: persuasivo, lleno de personalidad, insidioso, agradable, de buen carácter e imperturbable. Uno de los individuos más agradables que uno puede encontrarse", así es el perverso a la vez que encantador personaje de "La huida" del gran escritor de novela negra Jim ...Thompson, que se une a la galería de un escritor que dibuja personalidades diabólicas de una manera magistral. No es Nick Corey (de 1280 almas), ninguno lo puede ...more
May 17, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it
Wow, Thompson writes some brutal scenes! I've seen the 90s film adaptation, so many of the turns to the plot in the first half were expected; the rest of the book, though, really surprised me. The descent from strategic getaway to desperate and despicable circumstances that Doc and Carol experience is dreadful, while the criminal hideaway Thompson saves for the final chapter reads like a setting for a horror story. This book is twisted, and I have a feeling that it will stay with me for a long w ...more
Patrick O'Neil
Apr 04, 2014 Patrick O'Neil rated it liked it
Ok, so even though Sam Peckinpah's 1972 film The Getaway with Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw is said to be based on Jim Thompson's The Getaway other than the title and the character's names that's where the similarity ends. Why do filmmakers do this? What, do they decide the story just doesn’t work for a movie and then rewrite the entire plot? So strange. As usual Thompson is a bit over the top: hiding out in a fake shit pile does seem a tad much. Ok, I get it. Crime doesn't pay.
Jun 26, 2011 V. rated it liked it
Quite a fractured narrative that jumps around, often overlapping starts and ends which is a little confusing at times. A few jumps in logic i found hard to follow. At one point the wife pretends to break up with the husband in jail so she can convince the judge to let him out early. I have no idea why she had to fake the break up. There's a few of those kinds of odd narrative leaps.

It is a sharp, tough book, with driven characters none of whom are particularly likeable, not even the leads. They
Jan 01, 2009 Jesse rated it really liked it
Shelves: us, him
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
I must have read this book at least 20 years ago, and it was the first Thompson book I'd read. It still haunts me. Of course my caveat is that I love basically everything Jim Thompson wrote, but The Getaway stands out in my mind as particularly unnerving. It's dark irony, mercilesss distrust, and macabre claustrophobia turned me inside out and left me stunned, shattered, and deeply in love with an author whose vision is so dark and painful it sometimes unspools into a surreal tangle that knots i ...more
Apr 25, 2016 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Sartre thought hell was other people locked in a room together, Thompson thinks hell is other people on the run. No one in this story is sympathetic, and they all get what they deserve. For some of the characters that's death. For others it's life with each other.

If you're a fan of noir or suspense, you will like this book. It is dirty and raw (not in a sexual way). The characters are tough and heartless. Not a lot happens that is good. The story is populated by evil people who do evil things
May 07, 2015 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The bank robbery is over in the first few chapters. It's all about trying to escape to Mexico. I've never seen the Steve McQueen movie, but there is no way that Hollywood would try to portray that crazyass Thompson ending. Planning to watch it anyway.
William Thomas
Jul 01, 2009 William Thomas rated it liked it
3.4 stars for sure. i was confused by the ending, the last 15 pages in el rey, as if this part were written before the rest of the book and made to fit to jibe with the rest. it was a disappointing climax, anti-climatic. however, up until then it was a face paced bare knuckle brawl of a crim novel and jim thompson scored again. even though i felt it was rushed, the themes held true and the violence was startling. only read one jim thompson book i would not recommend and that is the rip-off. stil ...more
Carla Remy
Jun 23, 2015 Carla Remy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some very suspenseful and vivid scenes.
Rob Kitchin
The Getaway is considered a classic heist novel and has been adapted for the big screen a couple of times. The premise is straightforward. A gang of four criminals successfully heist a bank then immediately fall out and set upon each other. One is left dead before they have even left the bank. Doc McCoy, the gang mastermind, and Rudy fight and separate not far out of town. McCoy and his wife, Carol, take flight, but her lack of experience and Rudy’s murderous pursuit soon derails their plans. Mo ...more
Lukasz Pruski
"Flight is many things."

One remembers the 1972 Hollywood movie with Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw (the horrid 1994 remake is hardly worth mentioning). Sam Peckinpah's direction, tense plot, and the violent extended gunfight scene made the film into a classic that nowadays seems to be enjoying a renaissance of popularity. The film is based on Jim Thompson's "The Getaway" (1958), yet it would be hard to find a book and a movie based on it, which - except for some common elements of the plot - woul
Brian Fischer
Sep 07, 2015 Brian Fischer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Getaway is one of my favorite books because of the suspense and the unique writing style of Jim Thompson. There was not a time in reading the book that I got bored of the story line or just got tired of reading the book. Jim Thompson never focused too much on one character or one point of view, which kept the rhythm of the story flowing. The story starts out with the main character, Doc McCoy, in a hotel across the street from a small town bank. You quickly learn that Doc is a very well like ...more
Sep 27, 2009 notgettingenough rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Given he falls into genres of which I read a lot, I'm gobsmacked to have discovered Jim Thompson only recently. Why is reading so motivated by fashion? If there is something that should be above fashion, or outside it, why would this not be it?

Of course, it could just be a case of trying to corner the market in rabbits.
Paolo  Merolla
Dec 02, 2015 Paolo Merolla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Thompson doesn’t neglect character in The Getaway, but neither does he linger on it (as in The Killer Inside Me). His characters are wrapped up in just a few succinct sentences. There are no layers here (The Killer Inside Me, A Hell of a Woman); what we see is what we get, and what we get isn’t nice at all. Doc, for example, is the son of a small town corrupt sheriff (back to that Thompson biography again), and Doc’s seemingly pleasant and generous nature coats the character of a cunning predato ...more
by Ax
Apr 05, 2016 by Ax rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
Fughe e sospetti

Telecamera in spalla, Thompson, meno sarcastico del solito, snocciola una storia di complicità tra Doc, da poco uscito di prigione e con in testa un nuovo colpo, e sua moglie Carol, donna innamorata e disposta a tutto pur di compiacerlo. Sempre in fuga, non alla ricerca della libertà ma per necessità, il loro rapporto vive di quell'ambiguità fisiologica che si genera nei soggetti che delinquono, in cui la fiducia è sempre in bilico a seconda della posta in gioco, in cui il sospet
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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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“Then he laughed and she laughed. And quivering with the movement of the train, the dead man seemed to laugh too.” 10 likes
“Flight is many things. Something clean and swift, like a bird skimming across the sky. Or something filthy and crawling; a series of crablike movements through figurative and literal slime, a process of creeping ahead, jumping sideways, running backward.

It is sleeping in fields and river bottoms. It is bellying for miles along an irrigation ditch. It is back roads, spur railroad lines, the tailgate of a wildcat truck, a stolen car and a dead couple in lovers' lane. It is food pilfered from freight cars, garments taken from clotheslines; robbery and murder, sweat and blood. The complex made simple by the alchemy of necessity”
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