Tyler Hayes's Reviews > A Swell-Looking Babe

A Swell-Looking Babe by Jim Thompson
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's review
Oct 02, 09

really liked it
Read in September, 2009

I officially love Thompson's writing. This piece—about a young med student, his chronically ill father, and the sexy, sexy woman who stays at the hotel where the first works to support the second—is a fantastic slice of noir writing, without any of the noir stereotypes we have come to expect. His style is terse, involving, and gritty, and quite psychological; I was excited to see a really well-done incompetent protagonist. I feel like he was a strong, if indirect, influence on the Coen Brothers' careers.

If I was forced make a single complaint about this book, it would be that it's very uneventful. That is not to say it's not tense or interesting, but it is striking how very little actually happens, plot-wise, in the course of this novel. But this is me reaching for a complaint; while it is not a perfect novel it is certainly very, very good. The only people I would suggest shy away from Thompson are the forcibly optimistic and the easily depressed—Jim Thompson's world is not a pretty nor a rosy one, and it's entirely possible it could cut a little deep.

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Reading Progress

09/03/2009 page 55

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