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Heed the Thunder Paperback – February 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679740147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679740148
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #791,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Noir writer Thompson, who has been getting a lot of attention lately in paperback reissue and in movie versions of some of his downbeat studies of small, thwarted lives, began rather differently, as evidenced in this reprinting of his second novel, first published in 1946. While scarcely the " lost classic" its publisher claims, it is an interesting period piece, an odd mix of social realism and early Dallas. Set in a small Nebraska town around 1914, it tells of the interlocking lives of the mean-spirited, brawling Fargo clan, a charming young lawyer who becomes a crooked politico, an embittered English bank clerk dying slowly of syphilis, sundry vivacious kids, and the glamorous Bella, whose longing to get away to the big city ends in death. Winding up in a Grand Guignol finish, this is very much a young man's book, full of uninhibited energy, mixing scenes that work with ones that emphatically don't, and demonstrating flashes of insight alongside crude tomfoolery. And there are embarrassing bursts of mawkish "fine writing," of cut-rate Thomas Wolfe. But there is also a real feel for small-town life, a clearheaded, populist view of American economic imperatives, and an endearing playfulness that does not survive in the somber later Thompson.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Old Lincoln Fargo has spent his life engaging in almost every vice imaginable--and his only regret is that he once stole a horse. His son Grant, a shiftless dandy with a resemblance to Edgar Allan Poe, is conducting an affair with his voluptuous and volatile cousin. And behind everyone's back, Grandmother Pearl has just signed the family property over to the Almighty.

In the literature of the American prairie, few families are as brawling, as benighted, or as outrageously vital as the Fargos of Verdon, Nebraska. And when Jim Thompson chronicles their life and times, the result suggest Willa Cather steeped in rotguut--and armed with a .45.


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. VINE VOICE on September 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Heed the Thunder takes place in rural Nebraska over a period of several years starting somewhere around 1910. Civil War veteran Lincoln Fargo presides over his extended family with the help of his God fearing wife, Pearl. As the story begins, their daughter Edie Dillon and her young son Robert arrive from Oklahoma to live with them. It seems that Edie's husband has deserted her and Robert, leaving the two of them in dire financial straits. Readers familiar with Thompson's early life will recognize the autobiographical underpinnings of this book. Young Robert Dillon is a stand-in for the author and Edie is a dead ringer for Thompson's mother, Birdie.

First published in 1946, Heed the Thunder predates the many dark, disturbing, noirish paperbacks that would secure Jim Thompson his status as a cult hero. Because it is billed as "perhaps the most mainstream of Thompson's novels", I was expecting it to lack the tough edginess one usually associates with Thompson's work. I was wrong. Here are just three of the many examples of brutality and depravity to be found in this book:

A dishonest preacher is unceremoniously tarred and feathered.

A misbehaving schoolboy receives a harsh beating and is permanently disfigured.

There's an incestuous affair between cousins. As shocking then as it would be now.

Heed the Thunder has a large cast of very interesting and richly drawn characters and several intriguing subplots that unfold as the narrative progresses. There is much humor of the kind that will remind readers of Mark Twain. Like when an impoverished lawyer makes a name for himself by bringing a lawsuit against God. And there's plenty of social criticism, especially when it comes to the subject of inhumane working conditions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter on October 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jim Thompson was a crime writer, maybe THE crime writer of his day. He wrote books that perhaps were not literary masterpieces but contained a certain kind of fear that seems to be lacking in todays crime books.

This is his most mainstream book and it takes some getting used to as it is a bit slow at places but it really does pick up at points throughout the book and contains the quiet horror of people making mistakes that change their lives forever.

Worth a read.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nick A. Rini on October 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a noir classic. The whole town of Verdon in Nebraska is filled with conflicts, and everyone has a vendetta.This book is also horrific as well, as Thompson at times tries his hand at horrifying the reader. I don't believe this novel is for everyone, but as the back cover suggests, everyone who enters this town should carry a .45.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CHUS01 Fan on November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
I disagree with these other reviewers. Yes, this book has slow parts, but the good parts are so good, so unique, so ridiculously awesome that it easily earns 5 stars. The horror elements will scare you for the rest of your life, and to hear the characters muse about war and environmentalism you will realize how way ahead of his time Thompson was. Yes the writing is a little rough but the ideas are there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By chloe on July 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book, great noir writer. Delivered instantly, as always. Feel kind of silly reviewing an e-book from Kindle. Just feedback.
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