Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside MeThe Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever meet someone at a party and think they're pretty cool until they let something slip and you realize they may in fact be bat-shit psycho? That's how Lou Ford, the protagonist of The Killer Inside Me is. I also suspect that Jim Thompson may have been that way as well.

The Killer Inside Me is the story of Lou Ford, a small town sheriff who's a little slow and a little boring. Or he would have you believe. Lou Ford spends most of his time keeping the sickness inside him in check. Lou's a sociopath and has killed multiple times in the past. Lou tries to get even with a man he suspects killed his brother and gets himself ensnared in a criminal investigation. Can he murder his way out of it?

The story itself is pretty simple. Ford tries to set something up to sully the good name of the Conway family and chaos ensues. What makes it work is Jim Thompson's writing. Just like in Population 1280, Jim Thompson uses an unreliable narrator and plays it to the hilt. The writing is bleak, powerful, and unsettling. Like I said earlier, Thompson writes sociopaths a little too well for comfort. Sometimes you wish you could warn the characters that Lou Ford is a runaway train and they're standing on the track.

From beginning to end, this was one of the more disturbing books I've ever read. If you like noir, it doesn't get much noir-er then this.

"You've got forever; and it's a mile wide and an inch deep and full of alligators."

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