Other books byJim Thompson
South Of Heaven
Orphaned by a tragic accident at sixteen, Tommy Burwell's been scraping out a meager existence working dead-end jobs for years. When he and fellow nomad Four Trey Whitey get jobs working with dynamite, making way for a new pipeline across the deserted plains of Far West Texas, disaster ensues. In a matter of days, Tommy is brutally beaten and witness to an act of cold-blooded murder the law can't be bothered to investigate. When Carol, a knockout beauty, shows up looking to follow the caravan of workers, Tommy falls for her almost immediately. There aren't any jobs for women on the pipeline, but Carol knows a few things she could do for the workers to keep afloat--an arrangement that Tommy can't bear for long. As Tommy's about to find out, when you're South of Heaven, you're far from grace--and sometimes the only way out is down.
Jake Winroy had no looks, no education, and little else before he'd worked his way to the top of a million-dollar-a-month horse-betting ring. But when the state's latched onto his game, the feds take a bite and the lawyer fees eat away at the rest, all Jake's got left is the bottle and a beautiful wife whose every word is ugly. Jake's to be the top witness in a major case against organized crime--if he hasn't already kicked the bucket before the trial has its day in court. But an enigmatic mafioso known only as The Man has a plan to make dead certain Jake never gets the chance to testify. The Man's hired Charlie "Little" Bigger, a hit man barely five feet tall, to infiltrate the Winroy residence as a tenant and murder Winroy in cold blood. To Little, it seems like the easiest job on Earth. Until he lays eyes on the beautiful and dangerous Fay and the Winroy's young housemaid Ruth, a woman as sensual as she is vulnerable. SAVAGE NIGHT is Jim Thompson at his most unpredictable and deeply suspenseful, in a claustrophobic thriller of one man's fractured mind.
The Golden Gizmo
"Gizmo" is the GI term for the unidentifiable--and that's the way that Toddy Kent has begun to think of the reasons behind the rapid swing of his days. Somehow, Kent seems always to find himself regularly confronted with The Big Break every man would kill for--only to see it slip through his fingers. Kent's grinding out a paycheck buying gold on the cheap and selling it for the slimmest of profits when he stumbles into his latest, almost mythical discovery--pure, unadulterated gold in the form of a priceless watch he didn't exactly mean to steal. Soon Kent finds himself at the center of a whirlwind of danger involving everyone from the woman he can't seem to shake, bail bondsmen who get word of Kent's discovery, the Treasury Department, his pawnbroker, and a devious old man with a dog that may or may not be able to speak English, in a rip-roaring comedy of errors and would-you-believe-it bad luck unlike anything you've ever read. Who ever knew one lousy watch could bring so much trouble? And how many times can Kent avoid getting killed before his luck runs out for good?
By the time Jim Thompson was sixteen years old, he had been a newspaper boy, a burlesque show hawker, a plumber's helper, a comedian in two-reel pictures, a night bellboy in a luxury hotel and over a dozen other occupations. By the time he was eighteen, he was driving across America in a broken-down Ford without a penny to his name and his mother and his kid sister Freddie in tow, looking for just one more paycheck to keep them all alive. A bittersweet comedy of a hard-won American life, ROUGHNECK chronicles the many jobs, near-criminal escapades, and downright unlawful grifts of the man who would become one of crime fiction's most enduring writers, in a larger-than-life literary memoir--or wildly entertaining tall tale--as only Thompson could tell it. Hard times have never sounded so good.