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The Killer Inside Me

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  21,908 ratings  ·  1,435 reviews
Everyone in the small town of Central City, Texas loves Lou Ford. A deputy sheriff, Lou's known to the small-time criminals, the real-estate entrepreneurs, and all of his coworkers--the low-lifes, the big-timers, and everyone in-between--as the nicest guy around. He may not be the brightest or the most interesting man in town, but nevertheless, he's the kind of officer you ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published March 13th 1991 by Vintage (first published March 13th 1952)
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Popular Answered Questions
Raf Linmans For me it looks like actor Bob Odenkirk, from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fame.
Sir Gawain I'm not 100% sure, but I got the impression "shebby" was meant to mean "like Queen Sheba". I'm not a big bible guy, but I think Sheba approached King …moreI'm not 100% sure, but I got the impression "shebby" was meant to mean "like Queen Sheba". I'm not a big bible guy, but I think Sheba approached King Solomon and asked him some tough questions. So it sounds like Lou thinks he's the king and this queen is questioning him and his actions. Or making him answer her for something anyway.
"Sister of love" means prostitute.(less)

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  21,908 ratings  ·  1,435 reviews


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Patrick
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by someone who worked in the publishing industry, what's more, they liked my book, so I was pretty sure they had excellent taste. I bought it almost immediately, and was excited to give it a try.

That was almost exactly nine years ago. (This might give you a dim glimmer as to what my to-read shelf is like.)

A couple days ago, I was in-between books and looking over my shelves for something I could read before going to bed. I didn't want to start up another Pratchet
...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Stephen King said about novelist Jim Thompson: “He was crazy. He went running into the American subconscious with a blowtorch in one hand and a pistol in the other, screaming his goddamn head off. No one else came close.”

I thought I would love this book, and I did somewhat. I feel kinda dirty after reading it though. Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is well..he is a fucker. He hides in plain sight. That calm deputy that draws no attention to himself, but deep inside his monster's lurk.

Told from the f
...more
Dan Schwent
Ever meet someone at a party and think they're pretty cool until they let something slip and you realize they may in fact be bat-shit psycho? That's how Lou Ford, the protagonist of The Killer Inside Me is. I also suspect that Jim Thompson may have been that way as well.

The Killer Inside Me is the story of Lou Ford, a small town sheriff who's a little slow and a little boring. Or he would have you believe. Lou Ford spends most of his time keeping the sickness inside him in check. Lou's a sociopa
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Trudi

First of all, a warning: if you happen to pick up the edition I did that includes an introductory essay from Stephen King, make sure you read it after you finish the book. Goddamn it, either the entire principal of *spoiler* completely flies over this man's head, or he just loves being a bastard about these things. After 2014's Twitter controversy where he spoiled a major death for fans of HBO's Game of Thrones series, I'm pretty certain it's the latter.

It's not that he doesn't get it -- he jus
...more
Stephen
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Kemper
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 whoeve
...more
Dave Schaafsma
I had not before this read any work by Jim Thompson, though I knew his reputation as a dark and grisly noir novelist from the mid-twentieth century. I had seen The Grifters (which I loved), but never read the book on which it was based (but now will!). I had recently read a comics adaptation of The Killer Inside, and liked it, so committed to reading the original, which I really did basically love.

Well, “love” is perhaps a simplistic stretch of an assessment for my experience of a serial killer
...more
Emily May
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I went into this with high expectations. I mean, who doesn't love a good psychopath? Especially one with a boat-load of issues who is in a position of authority and trust. Enter Lou Ford, small town sheriff and all-round good guy... or so his sweet and slightly slow disposition would have you think. But Lou has the sickness. Most of the time he manages to keep it hidden beneath a cheery and easy-going attitude, most of the time you would assume he is just your average Joe. Until every once in a ...more
Lawyer
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Members of goodreads group Pulp Fiction
The Killer Inside Me: Jim Thompson's classic Roman Noir

“Just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses
...more
Melki
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melki by: Cathy DuPont
Shelves: crime-fiction
"It's always lightest just before the dark..."

This is one terrific tale, though nasty as all get out.

Thompson seems to have serious Mommy issues, as all his women, be they whores or schoolmarms, are shrewish harpies. AND, he seems to believe that a good beating is the only foreplay a woman should ever need.

He is not alone in his cringe-worthy treatment of the ladies. It seems to be a common problem that has bugged the hell out of me in other books of this ilk and is probably the main reason
...more
Lou
May 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a humdinger of a story written through the eyes of a sheriff Lou Ford of a small, middle-of-nowhere west Texas town of Central City. Is he an easy-going, well-liked man and a respected citizen of the town, well known for his quiet, gentle nature? On the inside he has a dark-side he is a sociopathic killer who seems to think that life is ruled by any means necessary, full of both corny, small-town bonhomie and murderous psychosexual rage. He will not hesitate to eliminate his loved ones ...more
knig
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to knig by: Steve Kendall
Shelves: 2012, favourites
When Boris Vian hoaxed his way into the roman noir scene in 1958 with ‘I spit on your graves’, he was giving Jim Thompson a nod.

This book is riveting. It springs on the back of Chandler and Hammet who were by then moulding the no-nonsense, cynical, take no prisoner ‘Has- Been’ into limelight situations, but whereas these pioneer anti-heroes seem to preserve a modicum of decency, their successors, guided by the likes of Patricia Highsmith, Vian and Thompson seem to surgically remove that modicum,
...more
notgettingenough
Sep 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-lit
This was my orginal thoughts with which I was never satisfied:


Until I saw this my gut feeling was that it would be impossible to take Jim Thompson to the screen, but I stand corrected. Fabulous movie which precisely captures the spirit of Thompson’s writing. I first suggested seeing this to a male who refused on the grounds that ‘horrible things happened to women’ and they do, but I have no idea why this would be interpreted as being about ‘male hate’ ‘misogeny’. Like most people, I guess, my re
...more
Tim
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A weed is a plant out of place."

Indulge me for a moment; before I talk about the book’s contents, let me talk about the physical book. The cover of my edition is a plain tan-ish color, with just the title, the author, a few small pictures of sheriff stars, revolvers and bottles lined in a row and then a quote of praise that takes up about a third of the cover. The quote is as follows:

“Probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountere
...more
Carol
WARNING #1 - The Stephen King foreward has major spoilers. (read after)

WARNING #2 - "Hitchhikers* may be escaped lunatics."

Let's begin with a Stephen King quote: "THE KILLER INSIDE ME is an American classic, no less, a novel that deserves space on the same shelf as Moby-Dick, Huckleberry Finn, The Sun Also Rises, and As I Lay Dying. Thompson's other books are either good or almost great, but all of them pale before the horrifying, mesmerizing story of Lou Ford, that smiling good ol' Texas boy wh

...more
Nancy Oakes
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Killer Inside Me is one of those novels that needs no introduction at all -- it is and will always be a classic of American noir fiction, it's been made into two movies (1976 and 2010), and chances are that if you haven't read the novel you've at least seen the film. Or, if you're really fainthearted, you've experienced neither, since both book and movie are dark, disturbing, and well past the point of unsettling. It's also one of those books that has been studied left and right, inside and ...more
Mara
I've read what some may consider to be a creepy number of non-fiction books on sociopathy (The Sociopath Next Door, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, The Mask of Sanity). All of them attempt to offer insight into the heads of these individuals among us who exist without conscience, and adeptly "play human." Many of them (especially The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence by Gavin de Becker - which rumor has it Oprah recommended) try to aid the average, non-so ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
This is a slightly tricky book to rate and review. I want to give at least a minor warning as I think some readers will find the book to some extent disturbing. that said it's considered a classic of it's type and I can see why. The writing could be called masterful.

This novel was written in 1952. Other than a few terms that are obsolete the story holds up well and in no way really feels dated. I mean yeah we have older cars, limited phone availability and a '50s society but it doesn't "jump out
...more
jv poore
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this because I saw that Stephen King recommended it. Any thoughts I have would simply be superfluous.
Malum
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.
Imagine if Mayberry's Sheriff Andy Taylor was secretly a serial killer and you will have a good idea of what you are getting into with this novel.
This one is hard for me to rate. Just going by how I felt when reading it, I felt it was a solid 4. I really enjoyed it, although I felt it started slowing down just a touch near the end (although the ending itself was fantastic). I have to give it extra points, though, because Thompson's craft is absolutely incredible. He totally nails the
...more
Toby
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Possibly even better than Pop. 1280, but essentially it's the same conceit - first person, unreliable narrator, manipulating his readers in to feeling sorry for him whilst going about his immoral business, in this case lots of cold blooded murder.

Fascinating and dark, Thompson grabs you with his tale of good ol' boy Lou Ford and you don't want to be let go, even when the house is burning up around you. Ford is more intelligent than everyone around him, but he has a dark secret in his past and a
...more
Brandon
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014, noir
The threat of violence in the small Texas town profiled in Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me is so low that the patrolling sheriff, Lou Ford, doesn't even need to carry a gun. Lou doesn't worry because hell, who’s more dangerous in Central City than good ol’ Lou himself? While he speaks in clichés and exudes a friendly demeanour, Lou’s true nature exists behind this social mask; a chilling homicidal maniac who could kill at any moment.

This was my first Jim Thompson and although the brutality o
...more
Tom Mathews
I wasn't too sure about this book at the first as it seemed to be a bit slow but it wasn't long before it picked up the pace in a big way and didn't slow down until the end. Jim Thompson has an amazing talent for making the most loathsome characters seem likable. I couldn't help but be engaged and I couldn't figure out how I wanted it to end.

My thanks to the folks at the Pulp Fiction group for introducing this and many other fine books.

I highly recommend this book.
...more
Paul
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers of Pulp Fiction/ Hard Case Crime novels
Recommended to Paul by: In introduction for a Richard Stark novel
'The Killer Inside Me' by Jim Thompson

This is my first experience of a Jim Thompson novel & if this is typical of his work, it won't be my last.
I first came across Thompson whilst reading an introduction in one of Richard Stark's novels, who Stark cites as one of his influences & if you've read any of the 'Parker' novels you will notice a similar style to Thompson.
Thompson himself admired Fyodor Dostoyevsky & critic/author Geoffrey O'Bren called Thompson the '"Dime-store Dostoyevsky." Whils
...more
Ashley Daviau
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve wanted to read this book for ages and I’m so glad I finally did. I mean, you know a book is going to be good when the foreword is written by Stephen King! I was instantly sucked in right from the beginning, the twisted mind of our main character just absolutely fascinated me. The way the author uses first person narration is what makes this book so great, you really get into Ward’s mind and it’s a dark and terrifying place to be. And I adored every single second of it. This book is dark and ...more
Mario
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, own-read
“In lots of books I read, the writer seems to go haywire every time he reaches a high point. He’ll start leaving out punctuation and running his words together and babble about stars flashing and sinking into a deep dreamless sea. And you can’t figure out whether the hero’s laying his girl or a cornerstone. I guess that kind of crap is supposed to be pretty deep stuff—a lot of the book reviewers eat it up, I notice. But the way I see it is, the writer is just too goddam lazy to do his job. And I ...more
Mindi
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Killer Inside Me is unlike any other book I've read. Published in 1952, it's a pulpy crime noir novel with a twist. The protagonist is no hard boiled detective hot on the trail of a killer, but rather the killer himself. Lou Ford is the Deputy Sheriff of a small town in Texas, and he's also a sociopathic murderer. And the reader gets to be inside his head for 229 pages. That's a very uncomfortable place to be. (Mild spoilers ahead, so if you want to go into this book knowing very little, sto ...more
Carla Remy
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
From 1952.
I read this once before, and I didn't like it. I now know that a certain amount of his plots sink into non literal hell. Consciousness taken over by extreme insanity. I'm still not sure how I feel about this as a way to end a book. This one definitely has the precedent of insanity in his past, so I guess that matches up with the end.
...more
Cphe
Dark, twisted and violent tale. Set in a small town in Texas Lou Ford is a Deputy Sheriff. Only trouble is good old Lou isn't quite right for the position he holds......
From the Boxall 1000 list. Would have rated it higher but the ending was a let down for this reader.
...more
Nathan
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: crime and horror fans, lovers of great writing
Jim Thompson worked on oil rigs in his youth. It's filthy, dangerous, deeply hair-raising work, all to get at something that's as precious as it is polluted. Reading his novels is surprisingly similar. His whiskey-soaked misogyny will make your skin crawl, but his ability to plumb the darkest corners of the human soul, with both skill and sympathy, is unmatched in literature.

This is the best Thompson book I've read by far, and one of the best books I've ever read for sheer narrative skill. His p
...more
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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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