The Killer Inside Me | Jim Thompson
I put this on my To Read list years ago when I started writing my book – It's a first-person POV with lots of death and murder so of course sounded perfect for all the right and morbid reasons.
I never picked it up, though – I felt like it might influence me too much – yea,
I read the little blurb by Stanley Kubrick, and my expectations were that it was gonna be evil and insightfully real.
And it is!
The whole book has this sweet, small town, bumpkin-y feel to it, which like Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford, I found charming.
He reels you in from the very first encounter – and if you're not reading him in a Texas drawl, well then, you're just doin’ it wrong. Lou knows he’s charming, he knows he comes off like a buttfuck nowhere sheriff, he knows what he’s doing, and now you’re in his head – to know why he’s doing it.
As the story goes on Lou gets himself into a sticky situation, it's then that, as the reader, you realize that even though Lou has been sharing everything with you, you still know so little. Maybe this Sociopath had help becoming the person he is. As glimmers of light are shed on his past, you realize that Lou – Small town, bumpkin, long winded sheriff is actually really smart; socially and academically. His motives become unquestionably understandable; you might even begin to sympathize with Lou…at least I did. Everything, everyone was just a means to an end. Everyone was just working for him – until they weren’t.
I found myself stressed out for the guy, chanting in my head for him,
“You’re not gonna get away with this, slow down, Uh Muh God Lou- you cocky motherfucker!”
The story had me until the very end – stressed till the last page and I couldn’t help but give the last few lines an “Ohhhh shit!”
Thompson wrote Killer in 1952 – I don’t think a lot of literature at the time contained the violence that this book did but I can't be sure of that, so I can’t say as to whether this was 'a line pusher' or 'seriously fucked up for its time.' Maybe people weren’t publishing it, but the events that take place, violent and otherwise happened, back then, now, they happen. Thompson wrote them raw and real. Lou is violent, but he never crosses that line into out of control, insane, let the hate flow through you madman – Quite the opposite, he’s like the gentleman killer. The “Sorry, but this is gonna have to happen." Killer.
To my standards, The Killer Inside Me is suspense and psychologically thrilling, but it doesn’t come close to being “palpably evil” or even at all fucked up… I think I might even lend it to my dad.