The Grifters

The Grifters

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

To his friends, to his coworkers, and even to his mistress Moira, Roy Dillon is an honest hardworking salesman. He lives in a cheap hotel just within his pay bracket. He goes to work every day. He has hundreds of friends and associates who could attest to his good character. Yet, hidden behind three gaudy clown paintings in Roy's pallid hotel room, sits fifty-two thousand dollars--the money Roy makes from his short cons, his "grifting." For years, Roy has effortlessly maintained control over his house-of-cards life--until the simplest con goes wrong, and he finds himself critically injured and at the mercy of the most dangerous woman he ever met: his own mother. THE GRIFTERS, one of the best novels ever written about the art of the con, is an ingeniously crafted story of deception and betrayal that was the basis for Stephen Frears' and Martin Scorsese's critically-acclaimed film of the same name.
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South of Heaven

South of Heaven

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Orphaned by a tragic accident at sixteen, Tommy Burwell's been scraping out a meager existence working dead-end jobs for years. When he and fellow nomad Four Trey Whitey get jobs working with dynamite, making way for a new pipeline across the deserted plains of Far West Texas, disaster ensues. In a matter of days, Tommy is brutally beaten and witness to an act of cold-blooded murder the law can't be bothered to investigate. When Carol, a knockout beauty, shows up looking to follow the caravan of workers, Tommy falls for her almost immediately. There aren't any jobs for women on the pipeline, but Carol knows a few things she could do for the workers to keep afloat--an arrangement that Tommy can't bear for long. As Tommy's about to find out, when you're South of Heaven, you're far from grace--and sometimes the only way out is down.
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King Blood

King Blood

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Blood is thicker than water and that's doubly true for the King family who have built a considerable fortune through decades of ruthless violence and bloodshed such as Oklahoma has never seen. Ike King taught his boys well: when you see something you want all you need is a clever mind, two fists and a powerful hunk of metal. But Ike may have taught them too well. Now the King brothers are using their childhood lessons against their father and each other Arlie thought he had won the battle when he murdered his brother, but then Crich shows up with a U.S. Marshal tight on his tail and complicates matters. This may just be the largest showcase of violence and greed that the dysfunctional King family has ever experienced.
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The Alcoholics

The Alcoholics

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Dr. Peter S. Murphy needs fifteen thousand dollars by the end of the day, or the city of Los Angeles can say goodbye to the El Healtho clinic. A recovery center for the most severe cases of alcoholism in the state--even if no one ever does quite seem to get dry there--El Healtho has been the bane of Dr. Murphy's existence ever since he started running it. But now that its doors are about to close forever, Dr. Murphy finds he'll do anything to keep it open. Up to and including admitting Humphrey Van Twyne III, a patient with an extremely violent past whose wealthy family has the means to keep El Healtho open for business. Sure, the man isn't exactly an alcoholic. And yes, what he really needs is to be under the care of the surgeons who performed the lobotomy that's rendered Van Twyne all but a vegetable. But the money's good--until the rag-tag group of ne'er-do-wells at El Healtho begin to wreak havoc with Dr. Murphy's plans, and suddenly no one day has ever seemed so long. A literary precursor to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, THE ALCOHOLICS is Thompson like you've never read him before, a pitch-black, mad-cap portrait of deviant behavior that is at once darkly comic, humane and harrowing.
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The Criminal

The Criminal

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Everyone in Kenton Hills knows that short-tempered, tongue-tied Bob Talbert wasn't the one responsible for the brutal crime that ended Josie Eddleman's life. Nevermind that he was the last one to see her alive. But in a town filled with the likes of an amoral tabloid reporter known only as The Captain, a district attorney who'll do anything for a confession, and Bob's parents, who care as little for Bob as they do for each other, guilt and innocence are little more than a matter of perspective. In a masterfully woven tapestry of multiple points of view, THE CRIMINAL explores the nature of guilt and responsibility in a psychological thriller of an entire town under the spell of an act of brutal violence. Jim Thompson unlike you're ever read him before.
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Cropper's Cabin

Cropper's Cabin

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Tommy Carver may be every inch the angry, rebellious young man his teachers and parents accuse him of being. But sometimes, there are reasons for a fury like Tommy's. Tommy's relationship with Donna, the daughter of a man he hates almost as much as his own father, has led to more outbursts than anything else in Tommy's firecracker existence. With her unearthly beauty and a passion that rivals Tommy's own, he couldn't help but fall for her. But as everybody knows, the stories of star-crossed lovers never have happy endings--especially not with explosive parties like these. CROPPER'S CABIN is Jim Thompson's hair-raising thriller of what no writer has known better before or since--the hardscrabble existence of small-town American lives set to blow.
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The Transgressors

The Transgressors

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Deputy sheriff Tom Lord knows by now that far-west Texas is the place he'll always call home. He's spent too much time in the region's small towns to adapt to another place. And that's all right with him. What's not all right is being a deputy sheriff, where if it weren't for family misfortune, he might have been a doctor instead. Lord's got one ace-in-the-hole--the land deed that makes him the biggest landowner in the county, just as the oil companies have started to move in. When Tom's approached by Aaron McBride of Highlands Oil and Gas with a contract to set up pipelines on his property, he's more than happy to sign on the dotted line with barely more than a cursory glance at the paperwork--it just might be Lord's way out of a life he never wanted in the first place. But when Lord finds out just what that contract entailed, things start to go sour for Aaron McBride--and fast. Because in this Texas town, Lord's the law--and there's nothing more dangerous than a cop with nothing left to lose.
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Texas by the Tail

Texas by the Tail

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

To everyone he's every played dice with, Mitch Corley seems like the luckiest guy around. But in truth, Corley's fast hands are the only gift fate's ever given him. He's never held down a steady job, and when it comes to women, his luck might just be the worst of all--his girlfriend and partner-in-crime Red would double-cross him in a heartbeat if she knew just how short on cash they really were. And if Red ever finds out about the wife Corley neglected to mention, there's a good chance that Corley might not survive the night. At first, Mitch was sure Texas would be the perfect place for him and Red to run their game--there are players in nearly every back room and side-street across the state and here, the pockets run just a little deeper. But Corley forgot about one thing: Texans don't forgive easily. And there's nothing they hate more than a cheater.
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A Hell of a Woman

A Hell of a Woman

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Frank "Dolly" Dillon has a job he hates, working sales and collections for Pay-E-Zee Stores, a wife named Joyce he can't stand, and an account balance that barely allows him to pay the bills each month. Working door-to-door one day, trying to eke money out of folk with even less of it than he has, Dolly crosses paths with a beautiful young woman named Mona Farrell. Mona's being forced by her aunt to do things she doesn't like, with men she doesn't know--she wants out, any way she can get it. And to a man who wants nothing of what he has, Mona sure looks like something he actually does. Soon Dolly and Mona find themselves involved in a scheme of robbery, murder and mayhem that makes Dolly's blood run cold. As Dolly's plans begin to unravel, his mind soon follows. In A HELL OF A WOMAN, Jim Thompson offers another arresting portrait of a deviant mind, in an ambitious crime novel that ranks among his best work.
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Nothing More Than Murder

Nothing More Than Murder

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Joe Wilmot can't stand his wife Elizabeth. But he sure loves her movie theater. It's a modest establishment in a beat-down town--but Joe has the run of the place, and inside its walls, he's king. Without the theater, he'd be sunk. Without his leadership, the theater would close in a heartbeat. If it isn't the life Joe imagined for himself, at the very least, it's livable. Everything changes when Joe falls for the housemaid Carol, and the two can't keep it a secret from Elizabeth. Elizabeth won't leave Joe the theater unless he provides for her...but he's put all his money into the show house. Carol and Joe's only hope is the life insurance policies they've taken out on each other. If one of them were to be presumed dead, they'd have more than enough money to solve all their problems... No one knows murder better than Jim Thompson and in this incisive foray into the dark dealings of the mid-20th century movie industry, he doesn't disappoint, in the riveting story of a love triangle gone horribly wrong, and just how far one man will go to hold on to a desperate dream.
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A Swell-Looking Babe

A Swell-Looking Babe

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

It was supposed to be only a temporary job--something to pay the bills until Dusty could get his feet back on the ground and raise enough money for medical school. After all, there's nothing wrong with being a bellboy at a respectable hotel like the Manton--that is, until she came along. Marcia Hillis. The perfect woman. Beautiful. Experienced. Older and wiser. The only woman to ever measure up to that other her--the one whose painful rejection Dusty can't quite put from his mind. But while Dusty has designs on Marcia, Marcia has an agenda of her own. One that threatens to pull the Manton inside-out, use Dusty up for all he's worth and leave him reeling and on the run, the whole world at his heels. A richly-imagined crime narrative of the Oedipal and betrayal, A SWELL-LOOKING BABE is Thompson at his very best--a cornerstone in Thompson's enduring legacy as the Dimestore Dostoyevsky of American fiction.
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Pop. 1280

Pop. 1280

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

Nick Corey is a terrible sheriff on purpose. He doesn't solve problems, enforce rules or arrest criminals. He knows that nobody in tiny Potts County actually wants to follow the law and he is perfectly content lazing about, eating five meals a day, and sleeping with all the eligible women. Still, Nick has some very complex problems to deal with. Two local pimps have been sassing him, ruining his already tattered reputation. His girlfriend Rose is being terrorized by her husband. And then, there's his wife and her brother Lenny who won't stop troubling Nick's already stressed mind. Are they a little too close for a brother and a sister? With an election coming up, Nick needs to fix his problems and fast. Because the one thing Nick does know is that he will do anything to stay sheriff. Because, as it turns out, Sheriff Nick Corey is not nearly as dumb as he seems. In Pop. 1280, widely regarded as a classic of mid-20th century crime, Thompson offers up one of his best, in a tale of lust, murder, and betrayal in the Deep South that was the basis for the critically acclaimed French film Coup de Torchon.
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Wild Town

Wild Town

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

In trouble more often than not, guilty of assault, manslaughter, and honorably discharged from the military by the skin of his teeth, David "Bugs" McKenna can't seem to help doing the right thing at the wrong time--or the wrong thing, every chance he gets. But when he drifts his way into Ragtown, Texas, things seem to finally be turning around for Bugs. He gets his first job in years as the hotel detective of the landmark Hanlon Hotel. But now that Bugs owes deputy sheriff Lou Ford a favor, things are likely to get ugly, fast--and odds are, it'll have something to do with the bombshell wife of his Bugs' new employer... In WILD TOWN, Jim Thompson returns to the characters from THE KILLER INSIDE ME that made his reputation, in a virtuoso, multi-character portrait of how one man's life can take a turn for the worse.
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Bad Boy

Bad Boy

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

From the beginning, Jim Thompson knew he was going to catch hell no matter what he did. And during a childhood spent at the mercy of a father whose schemes put him on the wrong side of the law as often as the right, and a grandfather who knew the bad parts of town like the back of his hand, young Jim learned sin better than any writer had before. From his rabble-rousing adolescence in the American Midwest, to wasted teenage years in the seedy underbelly of the hotel industry, to Thompson's chilling encounter with the real-life inspiration of THE KILLER INSIDE ME, BAD BOY offers a fascinating glimpse at the formative years of the man who would become one of the most famous authors of modern American Noir, in the autobiography-as-novel that follows the birth of the legend himself in the signature style Thompson made famous.
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The Nothing Man

The Nothing Man

Jim Thompson

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers / Crime

War changed Clinton Brown. Permanently disfigured by a tragic military accident, he's struggling to find satisfaction from life as a rewrite man for Pacific City's Courier. Shame has led him to isolate himself from closest friends and even his estranged, still faithfully devoted wife, Ellen. Only the bottle keeps him company. But now Ellen has returned to Pacific City, and she's ready to do whatever it takes to get Brown back. Even if it means exposing his deepest secret ... a painful truth Brown would do anything to stop from coming to light. He'd kill a whole lot of people just to keep this one thing quiet--and soon enough, the bodies just happen to start piling up around him... THE NOTHING MAN is Thompson at his most psychologically astute, in a deeply suspenseful and tragic portrait of one man's journey through the dark side of the Postwar Boom.
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