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The Grifters by Jim Thompson
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The Grifters (original 1963; edition 1990)

by Jim Thompson

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7281012,878 (3.9)35
Member:fernald
Title:The Grifters
Authors:Jim Thompson
Info:Vintage (1990), Edition: 1st Black Lizard/Vintage Crime, Paperback, 189 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:crime fiction

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The Grifters by Jim Thompson (1963)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
It was well written & read, but I never wanted to listen to it because it was so depressing. Everyone sucked & I couldn't find a character to connect to, to root for. Something bad would happen to one of them & my mind just said, "OK, now wander off & die, jerk." They didn't. They kept hanging around being miserable, living for no other reason than dying would have put me out of their misery, so I stopped about 2/3 of the way through. Haven't missed it & don't wonder what happened to them. Couldn't care less.
:( ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
I didn't think this story of three losers trying to improve their lot made a lot of sense, but that might the characters' fault, not the author. I found it strangely fascinating until the last two pages, where a deux ex machina of a glass bottle creates a heading that would be horrible if it wasn't over the top. ( )
  Coach_of_Alva | Jan 10, 2014 |
Just didn't thrill me. Left me with the thought the Jim Thompson doesn't end his novels to my liking. ( )
  bontley | Aug 24, 2013 |
The Grifters is the story of Roy Dillon con-artist specialising in short, quick scams, the son of Lilly, who is a con-srtist of a different type, working on horse betting, long-term scams.

After leaving home and traveling the country picking up money by the time the story kicks in Roy is based out of L.A. having successfully staying in one place long-term while still being able to run his cons. After a near brush with death Roy begins reconsidering his chosen life. At the same time he's dealing with his mother and his sometimes girlfriend, Moira, an older woman who unbeknownst to Roy is also a con artist.

It was interesting to read a noir novel based in the 60's and Roy was the perfect lead character plus two femme fatales. The ending was a great twist and the book was good from start to finish. I would have liked to have seen more of Roy doing his cons though and the whole Carol section was a little odd. It felt like an unfinished idea. I believe they dropped it from the film version and I can understand why. I really want to see the film now, I can't really picture John Cusack as Roy. A good book, worth reading. ( )
1 vote Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
There is a reason they call Jim Thompson the Dimestore Dostoevsky; his works really spotlight the moral dilemma his protagonists and main characters face, so I was really looking forward to reading The Grifters; I’ve seen the movie so I was interested in seen the inner thoughts of the characters. 25-year-old short con operator Roy Dillion suffers an injury when a simple con goes horribly wrong, he finds himself in hospital recovering from an internal haemorrhage. This brush with death has led him to rethink his life, thought his mother Lilly feels like Roy still owes her. She’s inattentive and manipulative while trying to care for Roy, but she is also trying to pull off a long con at the race tracks at the same time. Throw in another femme fatale; Moira, Roy’s girlfriend who also find out is also a grifter who favours the long con. The three explosive characters make for an interesting and twisted noir story, much to what we have come to expect from Jim Thompson.

I have to admit I do love Jim Thompson’s twisted plotting, he captures the pulp feel well while giving it is own flavour of surrealism. While The Grifters is not is most solid piece it does a good job at spotlighting what this author can do, with crime and with is unreliable narrating. The characters are great and they each work well together while making life difficult for each other. His is one of the few pulp authors that break into the world of serious literary while never losing sight of what he does best.

If you haven’t read a Jim Thompson book maybe this is a good place to start, it’s not as dark or gritty, they characters are great, the plot isn’t as twisted as some of his other works and the suspense is a bit watered down. Let’s just call this book ‘Jim Thompson for beginners’ it gives you everything you expect in a Thompson book, just not to the same intensity while making the book approachable and easy to read. ( )
  knowledgelost | Mar 29, 2013 |
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As Roy Dillon stumbled out of the shop his face was a sickish green, and each breath he drew was an incredible agony.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679732489, Paperback)

Roy DIllon seems too handsome and well-mannered to be a professional con man. Lilly Dillon looks too young--and loves Roy a little too intensely--to be taken for his mother. Moira Langtry is getting too old to keep on living off the kindness of male strangers. And Carol Roberg seems too innocent to be acquainted with suffering.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Story of a con man, his mother, and his girlfriend, and the ways in which they prey on each other.

(summary from another edition)

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