Dan 1.0's Reviews > Pop. 1280

Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson
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Feb 28, 11

bookshelves: crime-and-mystery, 2010, thompson, cool-covers
Read from April 25 to 26, 2010

Nick Corey is the High Sheriff of Potts County and kind of a simpleton. He doesn't arrest anyone and mostly stays out of trouble, other than affair he's having with another man's wife. Or is his genial nature a cover for something more sinister... ?

Yes. Yes it is. It's a front for the fact that he's a manipulative, cold-blooded killer. He kills two pimps and tricks another sheriff into taking the blame. He launches a smear campaign against another man running for sheriff. He does a handful of other despicable deeds and is so slick you almost forget what a scumbag he is.

Jim Thompson is an undiscovered gem, light years ahead of the other pulp writers of his day. Pop. 1280 is told in the first person and to say Nick is an unreliable narrator is putting it lightly. Even though he's clearly a psychopath, the book has quite a few blackly comic moments. Even though he's a scumbag, watching the master manipulator in action is something to behold. It's definitely a page turner after the first couple of pages.

Jim Thompson is the real deal. I can't recommend this enough to fans of crime fiction.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Kemper I gotta check this one out. Have you read The Getaway or The Grifters by him, too? Both are excellent. Donald Westlake wrote the adapted screenplay for the The Grifters movie with John Cusack that came out in the '90s, and I think he got an Oscar nomination for it, if I remember correctly.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan 1.0 Kemper wrote: "I gotta check this one out. Have you read The Getaway or The Grifters by him, too? Both are excellent. Donald Westlake wrote the adapted screenplay for the The Grifters movie with John Cusack th..."

I haven't read any other Jim Thompson books but I plan on correcting that ASAP.


message 3: by Mohammed (last edited Apr 27, 2010 08:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mohammed Are you serious Dan ? I just lost all respect for you when it comes to Noir fiction heh :P

You must try The Killer Inside Me it is his standout masterwork.


Jim Thompson is an undiscovered gem ? To you or you mean in genernal ?

I think he got much bigger after his death. He is pretty hailed and compared to the best Noir writers. In articles about Noir fiction his name is mentioned along with Hammett,James M Cain and co.


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan 1.0 The Killer Inside Me is on my list.

Thompson doesn't get nearly as much press as Chandler, Hammet, or Cain and his books are a lot harder to come by.


message 5: by Mohammed (last edited Apr 27, 2010 02:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mohammed Dan wrote: "The Killer Inside Me is on my list.

Thompson doesn't get nearly as much press as Chandler, Hammet, or Cain and his books are a lot harder to come by."


He is mentioned after Cain as important criminal noir,pyschological Noir writer. Seeing as how masterful Cain is its better than nothing. Ahead of Goodis and many other middle period Noir writers.

Hammett is in another league than most crime writers. Chandler is vastly overrated because he was early PI series writer though.....

harder to come by ? Almost all his books is in print by Vintage/Black Lizard. Very cheap for great looking paperbacks.
Charlie Willeford is another 50s Noir writer who is actually hard to get by. Only a few of his books in print.


message 6: by James (new)

James Thane Amen to your last paragraph.


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