Stephen's Reviews > The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
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's review
Jun 09, 11

bookshelves: psychos, hardboiled-and-noir
Read from February 26 to 27, 2011 — I own a copy

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 50,000. Lou never gets mad, doesn’t even carry a gun and seems to be the ideal law enforcement officer given his even keel and ability to handle almost any situation.

Well don’t get too comfortable because there has never been a better example of the old adage, “looks can be deceiving.” Inside Lou is a cold, calculating killer with absolutely ZERO empathy for the people around him who he sees as simpletons and worthless. In fact, Lou’s practiced “down home” manner and slow way of talking is part of the “GAME” he plays with people so that they will never know who he really is. This man will make your skin crawl right off your body.

I don’t want to spoiler plot details so I will just mention a few things about Jim Thompson’s writing which I thought was PERFECT PERSONIFIED. The author, through his disturbed protagonist, takes us along on the killer’s journey, seeing everything through the lens of his warped worldview and so we are not seeing a view of his actions as wrong but as he sees them (i.e., the completely justified actions of a deranged mind). It is a unique experience to say the least.

The deftness and nuance of the writing was amazing. Throughout the story, we are given subtle clues and snippets of information that explain to the reader that Lou has had “the sickness” as he calls it since he was 15 years old, when he brutally attacked and killed a little girl. The two things I found most chilling about the story were (1) the complete lack of emotion on the part of Lou as he describes truly despicable acts as if they simply had to be done and (2) his outwardly pleasant demeanor and interaction with the residents in the town while we are aware of how he despises the world around him.

It reminded me a little of Michael Rooker’s excellent performance in the truly disturbing movie, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”, though Jim Thompson’s writing is much more subtle and nuanced. However, both that film and this book did a great job of creating a constant and ever present sense of “dread” in which the audience is aware that even though everything seems normal, it really isn’t and are left waiting for something to go horribly, horribly wrong.

This book will crawl inside you and make you feel like........
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Brilliantly written and deftly plotted, this is certainly worthy of the praise Stanley Kubrick gave it when he said, “Probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered.”

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Mohammed This was my first Thompson and made me a live long fan. Kubrick was right, despite the gore,violence we are used to popular culture today no sicko has been as well done as Lou Ford.


message 2: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn I really want to get my hands on this book and until I read it, I'm not reading any reviews. Everyone I know has rated it high, even people who tend to have differing tastes.


Stephen Kathryn wrote: "I really want to get my hands on this book and until I read it, I'm not reading any reviews. Everyone I know has rated it high, even people who tend to have differing tastes."

It is phenomenal and I am sure you are going to like it. I will also say that I don't think this is one where reviews are going to spoil much for you as knowing the basic plot of the book (e.g., like the back cover description) does not detract from the enjoyment. It is the way the story is told that makes in unforgettable.


message 4: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Leonidas pic = LOL!

Awesome.


Carac Allison "The two things I found most chilling about the story were (1) the complete lack of emotion on the part of Lou as he describes truly despicable acts as if they simply had to be done and . . . "

This book always makes me remember "Notes from the Underground" and want to re-watch "Taxi Driver".

"(2) his outwardly pleasant demeanor and interaction with the residents in the town while we are aware of how he despises the world around him."

Reading this kind of prose, understanding that we have no idea what's going on behind someone's eyes--this is why you don't cut people off in traffic.


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