Tuesday, July 31, 2012


RecoilRecoil by Jim Thompson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For reasons unknown to him, Pat Cosgrove is paroled and remanded to the custody of a psychologist, Dr. Luther. Can Pat keep from violating his parole and Dr. Luther's wife long enough to discover why he was paroled in the first place?

Recoil isn't one of Thompson's well-known works. Still, I'm as hooked on Jim Thompson as Amy Winehouse was on crack so I had to give it a chance.

Pat Cosgrove is a clueless loser, as are approximately half of Thompson's leads. When Dr. Luther springs him from the pen, everyone including Pat knows he has something nefarious in mind. Sprinkle in a dash of Luther's hot young wife Lila and you have a recipe for a typical feel-good Jim Thompson tale.

Unfortunately, Recoil isn't the book I was hoping to read when I picked it up. Nothing much happens for great stretches. Luther's purpose for springing Pat isn't revealed until very near the end and received a resounding "did I just turn over two pages at once?" from me.

Recoil's kind of a dud, which sucks since all the winning ingredients are there: hot much younger wife, guy fresh out of jail, duplicitious psychologist. Still, Thompson's prose is still sharper than the tip of a hypodermic needle. That's the saving grace of the book.

Where Jim Thompson is concerned, there are three tiers of books. There are the first tier books like The Killer Inside Me and Pop. 1280, second tier books like Savage Night and A Hell of a Woman, and third tier books like this one. It's a 2, maybe a 2+.

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  1. I've spent all morning trying to work out what waking up after a Jim Thompson bender would be like. You'd probably not want to start a relationship with anyone, ever.

  2. I know if I read more than two in a row, I start getting really crabby.