"Pop. 1280 is similar to, but better than, Thompson's most famous novel, The Killer Inside Me. A small-town psycho sheriff lies, cheats, and kills his way into your heart. Loosely adapted into a French movie, Clean Slate (Coup de Torchon). The audio book version of Pop. 1280 is amazing."
"Thompson's second novel is also his most accessible. A gritty slice of life, a spawling mini-epic that runs the gamut of emotion from start to finish. One of the best books I've ever read. It's not perfect, but it is one hell of a ride and hard to put down. Buy it!"
"A straightforward "becoming a man" story mixed with a crime caper, but the real star is the setting: a West Texas oil pipeline in the 1920s. Thompson brings his setting to life with an intimate insider's knowledge, populating the world with a lovable cast of hoboes, misfits & thugs. A very accessible novel with no psycho "throwaway" chapters or rushed endings."
"Inside the mind of a psychotic good ol' boy serial killer who just also happens to be the local sheriff! Made into a mediocre 70s movie with Stacy Keach and a more recent and slightly better one with Casey Affleck. Neither film compares to the power of this book."
"Part 2 of Jim Thompson's autobiography. Roughneck picks up where Bad Boy ended, taking Thompson from age 22 to 35 and finally "making it" as a writer. Along the way, he has all kinds of misadventures. Roughneck is a quick, fun read, but will lose some of its emotional impact if Bad Boy is not read first. Do yourself a favor and read both back-to-back."
"Fun autobiographical account of Jim Thompson's early years, from childhood through age 22, including the origins of several of his novels, such as The Killer Inside Me, A Swell-Looking Babe, and South of Heaven. Ends abruptly with no resolution. The sequel, Roughneck, picks up where Bad Boy leaves off..."
"Thompson's first novel is an enjoyable read. Unfortunately, that enjoyment is marred by one of his infamous, out of place "throwaway" psycho chapters and no real ending. Nothing much happens in the book, but it was still well-written and an engaging character study. Not my favorite, but worth a read for Thompson fans."
"Decent Thompson outing that delivers the goods. Takes a few chapters to get going but quickly picks up steam. Some nice tension and fun characters even if it all wraps up a little too neatly in the end."
"Second-rate but still enjoyable. Thompson recycles the Lou Ford and Amy Standish characters from The Killer Inside Me, placing them in an unrelated story (but still in the same roles). Also recycled (in some cases, word for word!) are the hotel shenanigans of A Swell-Looking Babe and Roughneck. If you haven't read Thompson before, it's all new, but if you've read as many as I have..."
"Decent Thompson outing about small town lust and murder. This one has gotten some bad reviews that put me off reading it for years but I'm glad I finally gave it a chance. It's hardly his best but still a fast and entertaining enough read, especially if you're a Thompson fan."