Kemper's Reviews > The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
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Jan 27, 15

bookshelves: crime-mystery, noir, classic-lit, serial-killers
Read from July 04 to 08, 2010

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 whoever he’s talking to. But Lou’s persona is all a mask to hide his true self and to keep what he thinks of as ‘his sickness’ in check.

When Lou is dispatched to give a warning to a call-girl named Joyce, it escalates into a confrontation that unleashes Lou’s sadistic side, and he’s shocked to discover that Joyce is a willing partner. Letting his darker impulses out of the box soon leads Lou to more violence, and then a lengthy cat-and-mouse game with the local power structure as he covers up his crimes with a mixture of his dimwitted persona and even more bloodshed.

Reading this is a really odd experience. At times, you find yourself rooting for Lou to get away with everything he’s done, but at other times you want to scream at the other characters, “Run! He’s freaking crazier than a shithouse rat! Get out of there before he murders you all!”

And I was both horrified and amused at the malicious joy that Lou takes in ‘needling’ people under the guise of playing the fool that can’t stop running his mouth. He’s got a knack for annoying and insulting people while he pretends he doesn’t realize what he’s doing. That’s just one of the many ways that evil Lou has of getting under your skin.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Mohammed This book was one of my first criminal noir books and it was really disturbing. I never rooted for him but he was horrific and fascinating at the same time.

Have you seen how similar he is to characters like Dexter ? He is their dark godfather.


Kemper Mohammed wrote: "This book was one of my first criminal noir books and it was really disturbing. I never rooted for him but he was horrific and fascinating at the same time.

Have you seen how similar he is to cha..."


Yeah, I noticed that Lou was so similar to Dexter that I think Jeff Lindsay may owe a check to Thompson's estate. Of course, I think Lindsay owes me a check after Dexter in the Dark, too. Ugh.


Howard Great review of a great book by a great writer. Did I mention that I liked the book?

I had heard about Thompson for years, but never got around to reading him until a couple of years ago. I started with this book -- and then went on a binge of reading all of his stuff. His books made me wonder about him. I'm not sure I would have wanted to be his friend.

The book has been filmed a couple of times, but I haven't viewed either film. Have you?


Kemper Howard wrote: "Great review of a great book by a great writer. Did I mention that I liked the book?"

Thanks! I keep meaning to read a bio on Thompson but from what I understand he may not have been the best adjusted guy in history.

I've seen the latest film version, and while I've seen some weren't happy with it, I kinda liked it. I thought Casey Affleck made for a nicely creepy Lou.


Howard Kemper wrote: "Howard wrote: "Great review of a great book by a great writer. Did I mention that I liked the book?"

Thanks! I keep meaning to read a bio on Thompson but from what I understand he may not have b..."


Casey can be creepy. He was the creepiest of all the creepy Bob Ford's.


message 6: by Vane (last edited Jan 27, 2015 04:34PM) (new) - added it

Vane Ooh, sounds good to me. I haven't read noir before, so I think I will start with this one, since it has been in my mind for some time. I guess it is worth it? At least that's what your five stars tell me...


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