By Jim Thompson
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375700354, 224pp.)
Publication Date: June 1, 1999
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In The Kill-Off, the patron saint of American noir reconfigures the whodunnit as a wickedly ingenious who'll-do-it. Capturing the subterranean ambitions, jealousies, and hatreds of a decaying beach resort and orchestrating the voices of one perfect victim and a chorus of soon-to-be-suspects, Jim Thompson produces a novel that manages to be simultaneously funny, poignant, and terrifying -- and that offers shockingly persuasive evidence that any one of us could commit murder.
(1906 - 1977) James Meyers Thompson was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. He began writing fiction at a very young age, selling his first story to True Detective when he was only fourteen. Thompson eventually wrote twenty-nine novels, all but three of which were published as paperback originals. Thompson also wrote two screenplays (for the Stanley Kubrick films “The Killing” and “Paths of Glory”). An outstanding crime writer, the world of his fiction is rife with violence and corruption. In examining the underbelly of human experience and American society in particular, Thompson’s work at its best is both philosophical and experimental. Several of his novels have been filmed by American and French directors, resulting in classic noir including The Killer Inside Me (1952), After Dark My Sweet (1955), and The Grifters (1963).