Savage Night

Savage Night

by Jim Thompson, Mark Winegardner
4.3 3

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Savage Night 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd read shadowy references to Jim Thompson for years but it was only recently that I took the plunge and ordered several of his novels from Barnes & Noble. SAVAGE NIGHT was the first to arrive and by default became my introduction to this author, and what a baptism of fire 'and misanthropy, sleaze, and blood' it was. SAVAGE NIGHT is told in the first person by a new arrival in town, who calls himself 'Carl Bigelow.' That he's really a mob-connected hit man assigned to do a job on one of the local sleazoids will come as no shock to film noir fans but his appearance and past history are like no other--outside the dark and skewed world of Mr. Thompson. The town itself is a bleak place within 90 miles of New York City, whose main industries are a teacher's college, a bakery and a couple of bars. The novel was written in the 1940s but I saw a few towns like this on Sunday drives back in the Sixties. Within minutes of landing in Peardale, Bigelow starts ingratiating himself with the townsfolk and playing them for suckers in his attempt to nail the man he came to murder. In SAVAGE NIGHT everyone has an angle and if they're not conniving someone else they're planning to, given half a chance. Or they're a pathetic victim like crippled housekeeper Ruthie--who just might have a deadly angle of her own... Peardale might just as well have been named 'Waterloo' where Bigelow is concerned. It's here that his downward spiral begins. His alcoholism and illness rise up against him and he goofs so many times that one wonders how he survived in the murder business to begin with. The ending, not to give anything away, is as gruesome as anything in the gore novels and horror films of today. SAVAGE NIGHT is extremely well-written. A youngster reading this would feel that he or she was actually in Peardale in 1946. At the same time it's surreal and goes against several literary conventions including one concerning first-person narration. I'd be the last person to put down Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane--entertaining authors all--but Jim Thompson makes them all look like Dr. Suess. If you've read Thompson before you know what I'm talking about. The rest of you have been warned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book realy caught me by surprise. I only chose this book because of how thin it was. I had to choose a book to read and this is the one I grabbed because of it's size. But to my surprise, I realy enjoyed it. I intend on reading more of his novels.