Automotive Holiday Deals Up to 50% Off Select Books Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Indie for the Holidays in Prime Music Outdoor Deals on Tikes
The Grifters and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Fast Shipping - Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Grifters Paperback – October 3, 1990

54 customer reviews

See all 29 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, October 3, 1990
$2.89 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews


"If Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Cornell Woolrich could have joined together in some ungodly union and produced a literary offspring, Jim Thompson would be it." --Washington Post

From the Inside Flap

Roy DIllon seems too handsome and well-mannered to be a professional con man. Lilly Dillon looks too young--and loves Roy a little too intensely--to be taken for his mother. Moira Langtry is getting too old to keep on living off the kindness of male strangers. And Carol Roberg seems too innocent to be acquainted with suffering.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Black Lizard/Vintage Crime edition (October 3, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679732489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679732488
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Westley VINE VOICE on March 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
I saw the movie version of the Grifters when it was released in 1990 and really loved it. I finally got around to reading the novel and was very impressed. The book is a very quick read, but manages to pack in a great deal of enjoyable material. The book chronicles the story of Roy Dillon, who is a second generation grifter. His mother is Lilly Dillon, who works for the mob, and one of the most ferocious women ever created for fiction. Roy works the short-con, cheating businessmen and people in bars. He meets Moira Langtry, who has a history of pulling long-term con jobs with an ex-boyfriend. She tries to convince Roy that they should team up, with disastrous results. The book is gritty, with vivid characters and a terrific ending. I've read quite a few Thompson novels and this is the best. In fact, it may be one of the best pulp novels ever written.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By carol irvin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Now we Americans recognize the writing of Jim Thompson and deem him a worthy successor to Cain and Chandler. When he first came out though, in the 1950s and 1960s, he was more readily admired by readers abroad. Movies of his work were not made until relatively recently. Grifters are con men and women. In this novel, Thompson has the grifters down cold. The leads are Lily and her son, Roy. They have a very high tension relationship with one another and the the latent sexuality lurking between them is not the least of it. Marching directly into the midst of this deadly duo is Moira, also a con woman, and Roy's present girlfriend. Moira gets the not so bright idea of stealing money from Lily. These are all fascinating characters, very dark and compelling with not much in the way of redeeming features. This is a great novel with the same hard boiled edginess that Cain and Chandler used. This was made into a movie with Angelica Huston as mother Lily, John Cusack as son Roy and Annette Bening as Moira. It couldn't have been cast any better as they were superb with the first rate screenplay. The movie was moved up to present day LA whereas the book was set back in the 1950s. I highly recommend both.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Barry Eysman on November 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Grifters" is another of Jim Thompson's electric
charged dances with the devil. It is so hard and so brutally bleak that
it undercuts what passes for reality and gives us the real truth that
is right out there in front of us with people like Moria and Roy
and Lilly whom we would rather not see and therefore do not as we
pass them by on the street. Jim Thompson saw them though, and for that
I am so grateful. Thompson was a stunning writer and this is one of
his best books. He broke such new ground back in the fifties and
sixties and his books still resonate with passion and ultimate greed
and fear of finding it and never attaining it, not one single time,
just more grittiness, more grubbiness. Thompson writes them as
them. He is there in the snake pit along with his characters. He knows
them from the inside out. There is such fatal laughter in his words I
can almost feel the death shroud in them, for that is the grave they
dance beside, right on the lip of it. Roy is a small time con who wants
to make the big time. Lily is his mother who has all the spider traits
of a Thompson woman, hard and bitter and cold even in
Thompson's world. Moria doesn't stand a prayer. No one in Thompson's
cruel and real and terrifying world do. Roy chases his own
"golden frammis", that unobtainable dream, and Lily-well,
Lily lusts after her son sexually for sure, but money is something that
keeps better and what Lily does to him to get that next installment on
the ladder to frammis attaining is so true and so startling, even
now, that it hurts the eyes to read it, as she steps out into the City
of Angels. Medea, listen up.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By lazza on January 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Jim Thompson, known as the king of 'noir' crime novels, has a style which might not appeal to everyone. His novels consist of characters that have the look, feel and sound of B-movie gangsters. Yet his stories always contains at least one character that is either extraordinarily vile or pathetic (a hapless loser).
In The Grifters we are entertained by three rotten individuals: a "nickel-dime" con artist ("grifter"), his equally crooked youthful mother, and his older girlfriend who'll do just about anything for money. It's the interplay between these characters rather than the crime themselves which are most fascinating. In effect each character tries to manipulate the other to his/her pure selfish advantage. Love? You won't find any in this book. Oh, and the ending is really g-o-o-d.
Bottom line: sleazy, depressing yet utterly compelling. Amongst Thompson's finer works.
(The film adaptation of The Grifters is also highly recommended.)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?