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Author photo. Jim Thompson nr.1 Foto: Sharon Thompson Reed

Jim Thompson nr.1 Foto: Sharon Thompson Reed

Jim Thompson (1) [1906–1977]

This page covers the author of The Killer Inside Me.

For other authors named Jim Thompson, see the disambiguation page.

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American novelist and screenwriter Jim Thompson was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma on September 27, 1906. In Fort Worth, Texas during prohibition, he worked as a bellboy at the Hotel Texas for two years where he earned up to $300 a week by supplying hotel patrons with bootleg liquor, heroin, and marijuana. During the Depression, he worked with the Oklahoma Federal Writers Project and was a member of the Communist Party from 1935 to 1938. During World War II, he worked at an aircraft factory where he was investigated by the FBI for his Communist Party affiliation. His first novel, Now and on Earth, was published in 1942. He wrote more than thirty novels during his lifetime and most of them were paperback pulp crime novels. His best known works are The Killer Inside Me, Savage Night, A Hell of a Woman, and Pop. 1280. In 1955, he moved to Hollywood, California to write screenplays with Stanley Kubrick. Thompson helped write The Killing and Paths of Glory. He died after a series of strokes in Los Angeles, California on April 7, 1977. His long-time alcoholism and recent self-inflicted starvation contributed to his death. His death attracted little attention because none of his novels were in print in the U.S. at that time. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from The Killer Inside Me
… (more)
The Killer Inside Me 2,229 copies, 78 reviews
Pop. 1280 1,152 copies, 30 reviews
The Grifters 1,084 copies, 22 reviews
The Getaway 818 copies, 14 reviews
After Dark, My Sweet 643 copies, 11 reviews
A Hell of a Woman 578 copies, 8 reviews
Savage Night 447 copies, 7 reviews
A Swell-Looking Babe 385 copies, 6 reviews
Nothing More Than Murder 321 copies, 7 reviews
The Kill-Off 286 copies, 2 reviews
The Nothing Man 275 copies, 3 reviews
The Alcoholics 259 copies, 5 reviews
Wild Town 258 copies, 5 reviews
Recoil 243 copies, 4 reviews
The Criminal 241 copies, 3 reviews
Bad Boy 230 copies, 2 reviews
Cropper's Cabin 223 copies, 1 review
Texas by the Tail 210 copies, 3 reviews
South of Heaven 204 copies, 2 reviews
Now and On Earth 198 copies, 1 review
Roughneck 190 copies, 5 reviews
The Rip-Off 182 copies, 3 reviews
The Golden Gizmo 180 copies, 1 review
Paths of Glory [1957 film] (Screenwriter) 148 copies, 5 reviews
The Transgressors 134 copies, 5 reviews
King Blood 124 copies, 1 review
Heed the Thunder 122 copies, 2 reviews
The Killing [1956 film] (Screenwriter) 89 copies, 4 reviews
Fireworks: The Lost Writings 85 copies, 1 review
Hardcore 50 copies
Child of Rage 47 copies
Ironside 28 copies, 2 reviews
Vita da niente 12 copies
Forever After 6 copies
Vite in gioco 5 copies
Oltre il buio 4 copies
ROMANZI 1 copy
Nothing but a man 1 copy, 1 review
Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s (Contributor) 469 copies, 5 reviews
The Best American Noir of the Century (Contributor) 316 copies, 6 reviews
The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction (Contributor) 219 copies, 4 reviews
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue (Author photo, some editions) 180 copies, 12 reviews
Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories (Contributor) 169 copies, 6 reviews
20 Stories Pulp Fictions (Contributor) 68 copies, 3 reviews
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Short biography
James Myers Thompson was a United States writer of novels, short stories and screenplays, largely in the hardboiled style of crime fiction.

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. Despite some positive critical notice, notably by Anthony Boucher in the New York Times, he was little-recognized in his lifetime. Only after death did Thompson's literary stature grow, when in the late 1980s, several novels were re-published in the Black Lizard series of re-discovered crime fiction.

Thompson's writing culminated in a few of his best-regarded works: The Killer Inside Me, Savage Night, A Hell of a Woman and Pop. 1280. In these works, Thompson turned the derided pulp genre into literature and art, featuring unreliable narrators, odd structure, and surrealism.

The writer R.V. Cassills has suggested that of all pulp fiction, Thompson's was the rawest and most harrowing; that neither Dashiell Hammett nor Raymond Chandler nor even Horace McCoy, author of the bleak They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, ever "wrote a book within miles of Thompson". [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. The guy was absolutely over the top. Big Jim didn't know the meaning of the word stop. There are three brave lets inherent in the forgoing: he let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it."

Thompson admired Fyodor Dostoevsky and was nicknamed "Dimestore Dostoevsky" by writer Geoffrey O'Brien. Film director Stephen Frears, who directed an adaptation of Thompson's The Grifters as 1990's The Grifters, also identified elements of Greek tragedy in his themes.

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