A few months ago, I bought up a bunch of Jim Thompson audiobooks at a good price. This left me with way too many Jim Thompson books. I learned over the last couple that I read that they’re not all as intense and disturbing as the first of his I read The Killer Inside Me and Pop 1280, which is good.
Texas by the Tail
A con man who can make the dice what he wants to do most times out of ten is working his grift (although he would argue that while he is hustling, he’s not cheating), trying to make enough money to get out, to pay for his girl “Red’s” happiness, and still pay for the mistakes of his younger life.
This is one of the longest Jim Thompson novels I’ve read so far (although it’s still short), and the added time this book spends developing its story is not always entirely well spent. It’s still an interesting look into a life I do not live or know much about, but it’s also got so many loose threads that it’s almost silly at times.
We’re situated in Texas the whole time, so there’s lots of talk about oil in this book, and oil money to boot. This is also one of those novels that you can tell was written in the 1960s when writers felt a little more liberty to print some of the invectives and curses they otherwise couldn’t before. It used to be that only murders were ok to describe, but now you can describe breasts, saying “fuck”, and talk about torture.