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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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The Grifters Paperback – October 3, 1990

4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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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.

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 (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,020,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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 ›
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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.
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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.)
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