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Friday, May 22, 2015

Jim Thompson: The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside MeThe Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jim Thompson's career as a pulp crime writer left him without much money, yet he was well renowned among those who were attracted to the demented mind of a serial killer.

Stanley Kubrick had him as a writer on "The Killing," (albeit, not giving him a writers credit) and has called this novel the most disturbing look at a disturb mind. I could not agree more.

Thompson's character of Lou Ford is a reflection of abuse. A character who has suffered at the hands of another and, years later, after having had these feelings of abuse fester like a wound, Lou Ford has become a killer.

Ford is smart, too smart to just be a cop. He reads often and wants to be a doctor, though he fears doing so would expose the monster he is.

He also has a girlfriend, one that he keeps primarily for appearances, but as the story progresses we see the human side of Ford.

What truly makes this novel interesting is just how brutal it is. How unflinching it is at it tackles the concept of sexuality, morality, police brutality, and physical and sexual abuse.

Even today, many have a penchant to blame victims of physical and sexual abuse. "You shouldn't have walked down that alley,"

"Well, wearing that you were asking for it."

Those same concepts are at play here and feed into the psychology of Ford. He is not some deranged maniac who kills for no reason except that he enjoys it. Nor is he some horrible misanthrope. There are many times where he feels himself at odds with the monster inside.

Lou Ford is a product of his upbringing and his environment, just as we all are and Thompson handles these complex themes with grace and finesse.

And if you need more, if it wasn't for this book you wouldn't have Dexter. Hell, Dexter is, at best, a reflection on a shallow pool by comparison to Ford.

View all my reviews or buy the book here: The Killer Inside Me