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The Killer Inside Me (1952)

de Jim Thompson

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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2,104725,599 (3.91)200
Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is a pillar of the community in his small Texas town, patient and thoughtful. Some people think he's a little slow and boring but that's the worst they say about him. But then nobody knows about what Lou calls his 'sickness'. It nearly got him put away when he was younger, but his adopted brother took the rap for that. But now the sickness that has been lying dormant for a while is about to surface again and the consequences are brutal and devastating. Tense and suspenseful, The Killer Inside Me is a brilliantly sustained masterpiece of the roman noir.… (mais)
  1. 40
    American Psycho de Bret Easton Ellis (pnorth, gtross)
    pnorth: I strongly suspect Easton Ellis is a fan of The Killer Inside Me and drew on it for American Psycho. In any case, the cold fascination you have as a reader for the killers is the same.
    gtross: I would be very much surprised if Bret Easton Ellis hadn't been influenced by Jim Thompson's first person narrative of a psychopathic mind.
  2. 31
    In a Lonely Place de Dorothy B. Hughes (christiguc)
  3. 00
    Child of God de Cormac McCarthy (Bridgey)
    Bridgey: Both deal with a small town psychopathic killer
  4. 00
    Double Indemnity de James M. Cain (sturlington)
  5. 00
    People Live Still in Cashtown Corners de Tony Burgess (ShelfMonkey)
  6. 12
    The Butcher Boy de Patrick McCabe (Booksloth)
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Simply put, Jim Thompson’s 1952 novel The Killer Inside Me is a stunner, one of those novels that, once picked up, demand the reader to keep turning pages. Mostly during the 1930s and 1940s, Thompson wrote over thirty novels, and most of those, including The Killer Inside Me, were published as paperback originals. That’s probably why Thompson got so little critical appreciation during his lifetime. He was, however, “rediscovered” during the 1980s, and several of his novels have now been filmed or republished. The Killer Inside Me even opens the Library of America collection titled Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s, a five-novel collection that includes Patricia Highsmith’s remarkable The Talented Mr. Ripley along with works from the classic noir writers Charles Willeford, David Goodis, and Chester Himes.

“I grinned, feeling a little sorry for him. It was funny the way these people kept asking for it. Just latching onto you no matter how you tried to brush them off, and almost telling you how they wanted it done. Why’d they all have to come to me to get killed? Why couldn’t they kill themselves?”

Twenty-nine-year-old Lou Ford, narrator of The Killer Inside Me, is a cop in the small West Texas town he’s lived in his whole life. Central City, Texas, is an oil boom town that has grown from a population of 4,800 to one of more than 48,000 during Lou’s lifetime, and it is not anything like the quiet little community it had been when his father was the town’s family doctor. Lou is the cop everybody likes, the guy who doesn’t appear to be all that smart but always has the time and good advice for those who need it most. And that’s just the way Lou wants it.

The real Lou Ford, however, is nothing like the one people think he is. No, the real Lou Ford is brilliant. He reads in several languages, a feat he taught himself by reading from the extensive library his father left behind in the family home/doctor’s office after he died. He’s read his father’s medical texts — and he’s completely conversant about their contents. With his photographic memory, Lou could have easily become a doctor and taken over his father’s established practice had he wanted to do that. But most importantly, the real Lou Ford is a psychopath who is just as likely to kill you as smile at you and quote some homespun advice he’s memorized from his reading. He’s a man who, entirely for his own amusement, manipulates everyone unfortunate enough to know him. And the really scary thing is what he’s capable of doing to the people he grows tired of — or those who make the mistake of crossing him.

Lou Ford is an unforgettable narrator who, despite his mental illness, turns out to be the exact opposite of the unreliable narrator. Instead, Lou wants the reader (often addressing them directly) to know exactly what he is thinking and planning — even to telling them that he is going to kill someone long before he actually does it. He is a brutal, violent man in the midst of losing the self-control that has allowed the killer inside him to remain hidden as long as it has. But that is about to change…and the body-count is mounting.

“…the way I see it is, the writer is just too goddam lazy to do his job. And I’m not lazy, whatever else I am. I’ll tell you everything. But I want to get everything in the right order. I want you to understand how it was.”

Bottom Line: The Killer Inside Me is a surprisingly disturbing novel, but the disturbance does not necessarily come from the explicitness of Lou Ford’s murders. I was much more taken aback by —the ease with which a man like Lou Ford (and his real life versions) is so easily able to lure innocent victims into his web of murder and abuse. The horror of that ability is magnified by the ease — and pleasure — that Ford takes in giving his readers such a revealing account of how easy it is for someone like him to kill — and get away with it. ( )
  SamSattler | Apr 28, 2021 |
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson A great book!
 
I just loved the understated monologue about killing people and the matter of factness about the necessity to do so. I also really liked how the main protagonist Deputy Ford, never got it quite right.What is it about a book that can capture the atmosphere and essence of small town life so well. I almost felt like I was there. I just loved the myopic ineluctable journey to the very end of things.I kinda understand that this was one of the earliest examples of the genre but I never let that spoil it for me.Bloody good read. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
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 reactions are that although at an intellectual level extreme violence against men is as dreadful as against women, at an emotional level that simply isn’t so. However, I can’t see that this movie is any more visually violent than, say, Pan’s Labyrinth and Red Riding Trilogy, the violence being sickening in both. In both of these I recall violence against men. I don’t think violence like this should ever be shown as ‘entertainment’. It diminishes the nature of violence, it does desensitise, it does make it normal, even as we complain about it.

And this to me brings to mind a discussion I started in my review of Stendhal’s Memoirs of an Egotist. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/116549813

There we were talking about the fact that a picture can give an impression which if read instead would be found cheap and coarse. At the time I suggested that the reverse would surely sometimes be true, that a nasty picture could be ennnobled by a description in words and this kept coming back to me in the movie. One of the things Thompson does is describe violence in the most gripping, gut-wrenching way which makes one feel there and part of it. I say that as one who finds descriptions of violence generally tedious, both visual and by word. His writing of this kind of thing is staggeringly good. And although I haven’t read this book yet, I’ve read enough Jim Thompson to be sure that the scenes where Winterbottom attempts to force us to watch women (as it happens) being punched and kicked to death, would have been utterly readable in a way they were not - and indeed should not have been - watchable. However real Thompson’s descriptions are, they still have not been robbed of the reader’s imagination in the way film steals. I wish more film directors understood that suggestion is so much more powerful than blatancy. Strangely, I think the way to transfer to the screen what I expect to have been the explicit nature of Thompson’s description of these scenes would have been to draw back from the explicit. Maybe this is because in the end, in a movie, you are watching rather than taking part in the way you are when reading.

Jim Thompson, out of favour for decades, has suddenly become flavour of the month, his books are back in mainstream print and now this movie. All I can say is that he should never have been out of fashion, he is a splendid writer and I don’t want to put a genre on that any more than I would on Simenon’s non-Maigret books. They are part of a movement of mid-to-late-twentieth century studies of sociopaths which are, in my opinion, a very important part of the literature of that period. So get trendy and read him…and yes, by all means see the movie too.

End of initial thoughts. Having taken these off this review, the discussion http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/72519807 with Paul prompts me to repost.

And express a reconsideration. In retrospect, I consider the way in which the violence was portrayed here to be absolutely legitimate. Maybe there are other ways of doing it that would have worked. I think of the film The Boys in which there is almost no explicit violence and yet the threat looms far larger than the execution. But still, in order to get inside the head of the killer I can see that the approach taken by the director maybe worked in a way that was utterly horrific but still meaningful. I do not think that of either Pan's Labyrinth or Red Riding Trilogy where the violence served no purpose whatsoever.

-------------------

I feel like I've failed this book, so I'm starting again...

It was watching the movie of this book that gave me one of those moments of understanding.

There are the ones who say what they believe, who say what they mean. Then there are the ones who believe what they say, who mean what they say. This second group is convinced that their very act of saying something makes it true. ‘I’ve said it, therefore I mean it, therefore it is true.’

The – I really don’t know what to call him, villain??? – kicks and punches to death a woman. He explains as he is doing it that he has to do it, it cannot be helped and, of course, he has said it, therefore in his view of the world, it is true. In a deeply moving moment as the woman is lying on the floor, dying, a gentle pool of her urine growing on the floor, she reaches for her handbag. Why? Is there something with which to belatedly defend herself in there? Her hand doesn’t make it. She dies first. Later we find that she was reaching to find a letter she had for this man, her love. I suspect some critics thought we were supposed to see this woman as weak, not putting up any resistance as she was so brutally assaulted, but they don’t get it. She loved the man who was kicking her to death. Not at any point did that love waver. It was strength, not weakness that we witnessed in this scene. She loved this man. She wanted to deliver her letter.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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 reactions are that although at an intellectual level extreme violence against men is as dreadful as against women, at an emotional level that simply isn’t so. However, I can’t see that this movie is any more visually violent than, say, Pan’s Labyrinth and Red Riding Trilogy, the violence being sickening in both. In both of these I recall violence against men. I don’t think violence like this should ever be shown as ‘entertainment’. It diminishes the nature of violence, it does desensitise, it does make it normal, even as we complain about it.

And this to me brings to mind a discussion I started in my review of Stendhal’s Memoirs of an Egotist. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/116549813

There we were talking about the fact that a picture can give an impression which if read instead would be found cheap and coarse. At the time I suggested that the reverse would surely sometimes be true, that a nasty picture could be ennnobled by a description in words and this kept coming back to me in the movie. One of the things Thompson does is describe violence in the most gripping, gut-wrenching way which makes one feel there and part of it. I say that as one who finds descriptions of violence generally tedious, both visual and by word. His writing of this kind of thing is staggeringly good. And although I haven’t read this book yet, I’ve read enough Jim Thompson to be sure that the scenes where Winterbottom attempts to force us to watch women (as it happens) being punched and kicked to death, would have been utterly readable in a way they were not - and indeed should not have been - watchable. However real Thompson’s descriptions are, they still have not been robbed of the reader’s imagination in the way film steals. I wish more film directors understood that suggestion is so much more powerful than blatancy. Strangely, I think the way to transfer to the screen what I expect to have been the explicit nature of Thompson’s description of these scenes would have been to draw back from the explicit. Maybe this is because in the end, in a movie, you are watching rather than taking part in the way you are when reading.

Jim Thompson, out of favour for decades, has suddenly become flavour of the month, his books are back in mainstream print and now this movie. All I can say is that he should never have been out of fashion, he is a splendid writer and I don’t want to put a genre on that any more than I would on Simenon’s non-Maigret books. They are part of a movement of mid-to-late-twentieth century studies of sociopaths which are, in my opinion, a very important part of the literature of that period. So get trendy and read him…and yes, by all means see the movie too.

End of initial thoughts. Having taken these off this review, the discussion http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/72519807 with Paul prompts me to repost.

And express a reconsideration. In retrospect, I consider the way in which the violence was portrayed here to be absolutely legitimate. Maybe there are other ways of doing it that would have worked. I think of the film The Boys in which there is almost no explicit violence and yet the threat looms far larger than the execution. But still, in order to get inside the head of the killer I can see that the approach taken by the director maybe worked in a way that was utterly horrific but still meaningful. I do not think that of either Pan's Labyrinth or Red Riding Trilogy where the violence served no purpose whatsoever.

-------------------

I feel like I've failed this book, so I'm starting again...

It was watching the movie of this book that gave me one of those moments of understanding.

There are the ones who say what they believe, who say what they mean. Then there are the ones who believe what they say, who mean what they say. This second group is convinced that their very act of saying something makes it true. ‘I’ve said it, therefore I mean it, therefore it is true.’

The – I really don’t know what to call him, villain??? – kicks and punches to death a woman. He explains as he is doing it that he has to do it, it cannot be helped and, of course, he has said it, therefore in his view of the world, it is true. In a deeply moving moment as the woman is lying on the floor, dying, a gentle pool of her urine growing on the floor, she reaches for her handbag. Why? Is there something with which to belatedly defend herself in there? Her hand doesn’t make it. She dies first. Later we find that she was reaching to find a letter she had for this man, her love. I suspect some critics thought we were supposed to see this woman as weak, not putting up any resistance as she was so brutally assaulted, but they don’t get it. She loved the man who was kicking her to death. Not at any point did that love waver. It was strength, not weakness that we witnessed in this scene. She loved this man. She wanted to deliver her letter.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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 reactions are that although at an intellectual level extreme violence against men is as dreadful as against women, at an emotional level that simply isn’t so. However, I can’t see that this movie is any more visually violent than, say, Pan’s Labyrinth and Red Riding Trilogy, the violence being sickening in both. In both of these I recall violence against men. I don’t think violence like this should ever be shown as ‘entertainment’. It diminishes the nature of violence, it does desensitise, it does make it normal, even as we complain about it.

And this to me brings to mind a discussion I started in my review of Stendhal’s Memoirs of an Egotist. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/116549813

There we were talking about the fact that a picture can give an impression which if read instead would be found cheap and coarse. At the time I suggested that the reverse would surely sometimes be true, that a nasty picture could be ennnobled by a description in words and this kept coming back to me in the movie. One of the things Thompson does is describe violence in the most gripping, gut-wrenching way which makes one feel there and part of it. I say that as one who finds descriptions of violence generally tedious, both visual and by word. His writing of this kind of thing is staggeringly good. And although I haven’t read this book yet, I’ve read enough Jim Thompson to be sure that the scenes where Winterbottom attempts to force us to watch women (as it happens) being punched and kicked to death, would have been utterly readable in a way they were not - and indeed should not have been - watchable. However real Thompson’s descriptions are, they still have not been robbed of the reader’s imagination in the way film steals. I wish more film directors understood that suggestion is so much more powerful than blatancy. Strangely, I think the way to transfer to the screen what I expect to have been the explicit nature of Thompson’s description of these scenes would have been to draw back from the explicit. Maybe this is because in the end, in a movie, you are watching rather than taking part in the way you are when reading.

Jim Thompson, out of favour for decades, has suddenly become flavour of the month, his books are back in mainstream print and now this movie. All I can say is that he should never have been out of fashion, he is a splendid writer and I don’t want to put a genre on that any more than I would on Simenon’s non-Maigret books. They are part of a movement of mid-to-late-twentieth century studies of sociopaths which are, in my opinion, a very important part of the literature of that period. So get trendy and read him…and yes, by all means see the movie too.

End of initial thoughts. Having taken these off this review, the discussion http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/72519807 with Paul prompts me to repost.

And express a reconsideration. In retrospect, I consider the way in which the violence was portrayed here to be absolutely legitimate. Maybe there are other ways of doing it that would have worked. I think of the film The Boys in which there is almost no explicit violence and yet the threat looms far larger than the execution. But still, in order to get inside the head of the killer I can see that the approach taken by the director maybe worked in a way that was utterly horrific but still meaningful. I do not think that of either Pan's Labyrinth or Red Riding Trilogy where the violence served no purpose whatsoever.

-------------------

I feel like I've failed this book, so I'm starting again...

It was watching the movie of this book that gave me one of those moments of understanding.

There are the ones who say what they believe, who say what they mean. Then there are the ones who believe what they say, who mean what they say. This second group is convinced that their very act of saying something makes it true. ‘I’ve said it, therefore I mean it, therefore it is true.’

The – I really don’t know what to call him, villain??? – kicks and punches to death a woman. He explains as he is doing it that he has to do it, it cannot be helped and, of course, he has said it, therefore in his view of the world, it is true. In a deeply moving moment as the woman is lying on the floor, dying, a gentle pool of her urine growing on the floor, she reaches for her handbag. Why? Is there something with which to belatedly defend herself in there? Her hand doesn’t make it. She dies first. Later we find that she was reaching to find a letter she had for this man, her love. I suspect some critics thought we were supposed to see this woman as weak, not putting up any resistance as she was so brutally assaulted, but they don’t get it. She loved the man who was kicking her to death. Not at any point did that love waver. It was strength, not weakness that we witnessed in this scene. She loved this man. She wanted to deliver her letter.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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Thompson, Jimautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Fofi, GoffredoPosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Martini, AnnaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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I'd finished my pie and was having a second cup of coffee when I saw him.
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Striking at people that way is almost as good as the other, the real way. The way I'd fought to forget--and had almost forgot--until I met her.
Did you ever stop to figure that there's all kinds of ways of dying, but only one way of being dead?
The stupid son-of-a-bitch was always doing that. Not just stories about me, but everything. He'd clip out cartoons and weather reports and crappy poems and health columns. Every goddam thing under the sun. He couldn't read a paper without a pair of scissors.
You ask me why I stick around, knowing the score, and it's hard to explain. I guess I kind of got a foot on both fences, Johnnie. I planted 'em there early and now they've taken root, and I can't move either way and I can't jump. All I can do is wait until I split. Right down the middle. That's all I can do...
It was like being asleep when you were awake and awake when you were asleep. I'd pinch myself, figuratively speaking--I had to keep pinching myself. Then I'd wake up kind of in reverse; I'd go back into the nightmare I had to live in. And everything would be clear and reasonable.
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Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is a pillar of the community in his small Texas town, patient and thoughtful. Some people think he's a little slow and boring but that's the worst they say about him. But then nobody knows about what Lou calls his 'sickness'. It nearly got him put away when he was younger, but his adopted brother took the rap for that. But now the sickness that has been lying dormant for a while is about to surface again and the consequences are brutal and devastating. Tense and suspenseful, The Killer Inside Me is a brilliantly sustained masterpiece of the roman noir.

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