Joe Wilmot has the nicest movie theatre in his area. Sure it wasn't a major city, but it was something he had built up. The Barclay Theatre still carries his wife's maiden name, but it didn't bother him much--not too much at all. His wife Elizabeth was always fouling things up and Joe was always fixing things. Sure, a few people lost out in their dealing with Joe, but what the hey, this was business. And one thing Joe had learned growing up in the orphanage was that you got to look out for number one. But now Joe has fallen, quite inexplicably, for the new housekeeper, Carol. When Elizabeth finds out about Joe and Carol, she devises a plan to give them all what they want. Unfortunately, for the plan to work, it means someone is going to have to pay with their life. And if the plan unravels, they may all have to pay with their lives!
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About the Author
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. A number of Thompson's books became popular films, including The Getaway and The Grifters.
The writer R.V. Cassill 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". 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 Dostoyevsky 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite Jim Thompson was a prolific writer during his lifetime. Unfortunately, it was not until after his death that he obtained a large following. His novels fall into the category of mystery. I think I would call them mystery with a unique twist. His characters are often bizarre leaving you to wonder who are the good guys and who are the bad ones. Perhaps he hit on the truth . . . there are no good guys. Thompson transports his readers to the 1940s. He shares the culture of the era. In "Nothing More Than Murder", the focus is on a slimy small town filled with venality, treachery, and immorality. In the novel Thompson introduces readers to Joe Wilmer, part-owner of a movie theater. He is egotistical and self-serving. He cared very little for others but he enjoyed being boss and having power. Jim Thompson’s murder mysteries are perplexing, to say the least. He throws in transitions, twists and misleading clues that keep the reader wondering what is next, what did he mean and how can this be solved. Thompson knows how to allow fear to slowly build. Few writers today can accomplish this the same way Thompson did. He also knew how to mislead readers and keep them disoriented. This was his natural style which worked well as pulp fiction. When you pick up a book by Jim Thompson you know there is going to be at least one murder. In this book everyone tries to use the murder to their own gain. I found a bit of humor as the aftermath of the murder brought out the greed in the citizens. When it comes to a Jim Thompson mystery readers seem to either love them or hate them. Many love the nostalgic look back to the past while others find it bewildering. We have come a long way from the old cinema culture