Scott Bradfield

  • Jim Thompson Omnibus: The Getaway, The Killer inside Me, The Grifters, Pop. 1280
    Picador, 570 pp, £7.99, November 1995, ISBN 3 303 34288 1
  • Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson by Robert Polito
    Knopf, 543 pp, $30.00, October 1995, ISBN 0 394 58407 4

Jim Thompson never actually claimed to write capital-L Literature, but today, nearly twenty years after his death, many of his admirers are making the claim for him. Born in a sheriff’s apartment over the Caddo County Jail in Oklahoma in 1906, Thompson, like many good American boys, grew up to be a lot like his father. ‘Big Jim’ Thompson Sr was the popular multi-term sheriff of Caddo County until Oklahoma declared statehood at the turn of the century, and federal auditors began uncovering serious discrepancies in Big Jim’s books. A warrant for the dishonoured sheriff’s arrest was issued and, after Big Jim took off, his devoted deputies refused to serve it.

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