Killer Inside Me, The

by Jim Thompson

8/10

This was a highly compelling read, and pretty well-written too. I have to admit my judgment is a little bit harsh since I read this right after John Fante’s Ask the Dust, which also has an unreliable, morally-challenged narrator/protagonist and happens to be one of the most amazing novel-memoirs I’ve ever read. The writing here doesn’t (and indeed can’t) compare, but that’s just me being unfair.

The writing is good though, and my favorite aspect of is the precise dialect and colloquialisms that Thompson gets down in Lou’s thought and speech, and also how he changes voice at times when the narrator slips out of “character.” The dialogue was pretty spot-on as well, the Texas slang of Lou’s colleagues sounding totally authentic.

I don’t have any major problems with the book, but it’s not mind-blowing subject matter or particularly profound, just really good crime fiction. So I guess I’m being snobby in giving it 4 stars instead of 5. My only other complaint is that the ending got a little over-explanatory, esp. Ch. 22. It seems like Thompson couldn’t totally figure out an artistic way to relay all the necessary information, but oh well.

Good stuff though, and my first real foray into twisted-narrator fiction since The Wasp Factory and Chuck Palahniuk before that (does Camus’ The Fall count?), so it’s kind of nice for a quick, breezy read. I look forward to reading Pop. 1280 next.

Original Review

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