The more you run, the more you have chasing you, scolds detective Claggett, possibly the only person who isn't trying to profit from Britton Rainstar's weaknesses. The author explains his atitude as protective camouflage, as an intelligent man hiding his talents in order to avoid notice and to stay out of trouble, but I was unconvinced, and for a novel presented in the first person, this lack of enthusiasm for the main narrator has a major negative impact on my overall rating. If I was meant to take things seriously, my rating is too high. Still, I want to give Jim Thompson another chance, and for that I would go for his highest rated novel here: The Killer Inside Me.
The biggest gripe against this book is that it's lacking the blood and guts violence from his other novels. The plot is a little so-so, but as Stephen King says about plot: "The good writer's last resort and the dullard's first choice." What makes this book shine are the character interactions and risky situations.
My last Jim Thompson read was 3 years ago in October 2010, back when I was recording what I had read books-wise but wasnt penning any thoughts on them. The book at that time was The Alcoholics and to be truthful I cant really remember what I thought of it, good, bad or indifferent. Published posthumously around 1985, the book has mixed reviews on Amazon US. I felt a lack of tension as the book unfolded and irrespective of Rainstars ultimate fate at the end, I was already looking forward to my next read. I have read and enjoyed a fair few of Jim Thompsons books in the past and will do again in the future, and if this is his weakest at least its out of the way.
Thompson doesn't seem to mind having all of the women in his novel be portrayed as neurotic or unstable: Connie is an invalid always asking for money, Mrs. Oldmstead slowly cheats Britt, Manny is always secretive of her hospital stays, and I could never quite tell how his in-home nurse could practically blush on command. There are three women specifically in Britt's life: Connie, Manny, and Kay. This may seem like quite a lot of women to deal with in one story, and in truth it is. Aside from my qualms, I can't say I didn't enjoy the novel in all of its ridiculousness.
Unless the whole thing is some sort of allegory for the American treatment of natives, in which case, ugh.) This one really hammers home the "preposterous" in "preposterously entertaining."
I will give points to Thompson for finally writing a book where everything doesn't always go terribly for the narrator. That was a kind of surprise all it's own.
Thompson wrote more than thirty novels, the majority of which were original paperback publications by pulp fiction houses, from the late-1940s through mid-1950s. 1 Similarly, in the introduction to Now and on Earth, Stephen King says he most admires Thompson's work because "The guy was over the top.