Friday, November 04, 2011

The DNF Files: The Criminal - Jim Thompson



Anywhere you go, I'll follow you down
I'll follow you down but not that far...

I was so disappointed in The Criminal (1953) that even though it's very short (128 pages) I couldn't bring myself to finish it.  The book started out promisingly enough but instead of sticking with one point of view and following it down whatever brambly path to hell that it might travel, Jim Thompson doodles around with every possible character and angle in a murder case from the accused teenager to his parents to the press to the law.  Holy jumping viewpoint.

He could have pulled it off because he is Jim Thompson, James Myers Thompson, the baddest-assed, nicotine-stained mofo to ever stand at the intersection of Crazy and Corrupt, but he didn't allow himself a long enough venue in which to tell his story well.  The Criminal merely reads like a bunch of rough notes.  I can't even accuse him of phoning it in.  It's more like he sort of scowled at the receiver from across a dingy, badly lighted room.

  If Thompson couldn't be bothered, then I can't be bothered.  I am one damned annoyed broad, but don't get me wrong; I still love the hard-bitten bastard and his twisted world view.

3 comments:

Care said...

tI love DNF posts. Helps me keep the tbr down to a no-so-scary but still intimidating size.

Bybee said...

Care,
Jim Thompson's brilliant...just not this one.

Sam Sattler said...

Whew...I thought it was just me who felt like throwing this one against the wall and leaving it where it fell. Never did finish it.