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Group Reads > December 2018 - The Killer Inside Me

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message 1: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 825 comments Mod
Well, it's the last month of the year, and the holiday brouhaha is in full swing. Santas are everywhere you look, and soon you will be forced to spend time with relatives who may or may not be loved ones. As a perfect antidote to all the enforced jollity, I recommend this month's book - The Killer Inside Me - one of the darkest crime novels ever written.

Thompson's 1952 classic has been filmed twice - in 1976, with Stacy Keach playing the role of Lou Ford, and again in 2010, with Casey Affleck in the starring role.

Here's some critical analysis, if you're interested. (I assume there are spoilers aplenty, so if you haven't read the book yet, peruse at your own risk.)



Enjoy the holidays, and the book. I hope you won't be tempted to reenact any scenes when you're sitting at the dinner table with your mother-in-law.

message 2: by Nancy, Fallen Angel (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 482 comments Mod
again, one I've read, this one twice, so I'll be passing.


Have fun with it, everyone!!

message 3: by Tom (new)

Tom Mathews | 398 comments I'm about halfway through this. At first I wasn't sure it was going to click with me but it didn't take long for me to become totally hooked. Thompson has an amazing way of showing readers the insides of diseased minds. This one will be right up there with Pop. 1280.

message 4: by Jay (new)

Jay Gertzman | 261 comments Is it correct to say that Lou's father is so fiendish that Lou lives under his iron hand forever? The family house keeper did her part, but she was so mistreated by the father that she took revenge on his son.

message 5: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence | 185 comments I'm bummed...my better half misplaced it in the house. I wanted to take it on vacation next week to polish it off. And, my library system, the one copy they have is out. Grrrrr.

message 6: by Suki (new)

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 9 comments I first read this one years ago, and it is just as dark and enjoyable as I remember. It is fascinating to see the way Lou can project the blame for his actions onto his victims, and twist things around in his mind to justify his behavior-- they are not his victims, he is their victim.

message 7: by Tom (new)

Tom Mathews | 398 comments Once I got going on this book it was really difficult to stop.

message 8: by Sara (new)

Sara (saraelizabeth11) | 45 comments I read this not too long ago, so not rereading it now, but I highly recommend it to everyone. I really enjoyed its extreme darkness.

message 9: by Frank (new)

Frank | 29 comments Read every book he wrote. You won't be disappointed.

message 10: by Lara (new)

Lara Jerengan | 1 comments I read this entire book pretty fast, but it was so disturbing! I guess that was the point. Well done Jim Thompson.

message 11: by Tom (new)

Tom Mathews | 398 comments He has an amazing ability to make thoroughly detestable people likable. That's what I find most disturbing.

message 12: by Jay (new)

Jay Gertzman | 261 comments Lou actually loves Amy Stanton, but is compelled to kill anyone whom he associates with the shame he felt at the housekeeper's manipulation of his sexuality when he was a child (and he knew how is father had treated her). He actually feels for Amy and some of his other victims. He knows no one deserves what he has done to them. But knowing this does not prevent him from being driven by forces deeper than reason or morality. Is this what the ending ("all of us") refers to? We all know how our "better nature" evaporates at key moments. Thompson ends the novel with a shocking challenge to the reader to look deeply into himself.

pareidolia (Donna) | 3 comments Hi, I'm new here. It was my first time reading this book and I have a question regarding the end. Maybe it sounds stupid, but I simply don't understand it:

(view spoiler)

I've tried to google it, but haven't found an explanation.

message 14: by Jay (new)

Jay Gertzman | 261 comments It's not completely clear where Lou Ford is at the end but he is done for. It seems to be a convention that a first-person narrator can speak from beyond the grave. Thompson uses it in _Savage Night_. And everyone who has seen _Sunset Boulevard_ knows the device can work very well--you even hear the deceased voice throughout the film. The writer slips in a little surprise if the reader thinks the first-person narrator survived the story. Sometimes, no one gets out alive. In _A Hell of a Woman_, there are actually two endings. One is suicide, the other is maybe even worse, as far as being in hell is concerned. Same with _The Getaway_. I think Willeford uses it in _The Burnt Orange Heresy_.

pareidolia (Donna) | 3 comments Thanks for your answer.
I'm not familiar with this convention and, as a storytelling device, it seems quite illogical to me. In this case, it didn't work for me at all I'm afraid. Would have been different if Thompson had chosen 1st person present tense. Than Lou's telling the story would at least have been possible. As it is, it just renders the whole story illogical for me.

message 16: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (Donut) | 166 comments Sorry, I haven't read it in a while, but is there really ambiguity like this at the end? He can be narrating from death row and so be 'walking dead,' or is he in a mental institution? (The close of the book is quite schizophrenic, iirc)

I agree it (narration from the grave) makes no sense, and is more than a little bogus, in Sunset Blvd or anywhere else.

message 17: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Smith (oncewewerefiction) | 67 comments I love this book. It's got that thing where you can feel it driving towards it's inevitable ending. I loved the prose as well. Thompson manages to be tough and smooth and subtle all at once - incredible.

message 18: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Smith (oncewewerefiction) | 67 comments What I think is great is that he does the I'm a cop and a killer thing so well that it never feels naff.

message 19: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence | 185 comments Agreeing with Geoff that Thompson’s storytelling is smooth and subtle. This, even with scenes of violence! Not even halfway through, but thoroughly enjoying it.

message 20: by pareidolia (Donna) (last edited Dec 19, 2018 01:56AM) (new)

pareidolia (Donna) | 3 comments Christopher wrote: "Sorry, I haven't read it in a while, but is there really ambiguity like this at the end? He can be narrating from death row and so be 'walking dead,' or is he in a mental institution? (The close of..."

Because some are still reading, I'm going to use spoiler tags:
(view spoiler)

message 21: by Alan (new)

Alan | 12 comments read this about two years ago-my only Thompson and I was just
blown away by it. What a nasty book-just incredible.

message 22: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence | 185 comments I just finished this over the weekend. How wonderfully brutal (and no, i'm not a sadist). Lou Ford is so calm, so sweet. You never see his fist coming. Great book.

message 23: by Tom (new)

Tom Mathews | 398 comments Lawrence wrote: " Lou Ford is so calm, so sweet. You never see his fist coming. Great book."

Great comment.

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