The threat of violence in the small Texas town profiled in Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me is so low that the patrolling sheriff, Lou Ford, doesn’t even need to carry a gun. Lou doesn’t worry because hell, who’s more dangerous in Central City than good ol’ Lou himself? While he speaks in clichés and exudes a friendly demeanour, Lou’s true nature exists behind this social mask; a chilling homicidal maniac who could kill at any moment.
This was my first Jim Thompson and although the brutality of the violence and the pleasure Thompson’s Lou Ford receives in administering beatings and committing murder will stay with me for some time, the writing style kind of threw me off. I guess I haven’t read all that many West Texas noir novels and the language coupled with the manner of speaking came across as disjointed and difficult to identify with. Maybe it has something to do with being a Canadian living on the eastern seaboard born some thirty two years after this book was published. Who knows?
I’m definitely interested in checking out more of Thompson’s work and perhaps giving this one a re-read sometime, after all it is only a few hundred pages. Stephen King writes the foreword (where he self admittedly rambles) and it’s listed as a crime classic with its influence reaching many of the top writers in the genre.