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Last summer film crews descended on Tulsa to film The Killer inside Me, a film adaptation of Jim Thompson’s pulp classic. Like other pulps, The Killer inside Me celebrates the lurid, sensational aspects of fiction. Pulps were created for the everyman. They were not written for critics; in fact many consider pulp hero fiction the antecedent to modern day comics. While The Killer inside Me certainly fits within the strictures of popular pulp fiction, it also transcends those genre limitations. Tinges of classic noir accent the novel, as well as the popular detective cat-and-mouse tradition. Add the fact that Thompson’s command of psychology is a much more sophisticated than most pulp stories. It’s chilling beyond your average crime novel.
Lou Ford the novel’s protagonist/simpleton is, on the surface, your average small town deputy policy officer. He is quiet, bordering on demure, simple, fair, and honest: the picture perfect essence of a small town cop. But something lingers beneath. Something foul. Something wretched. A sickness. As the novel unfolds, Thompson reveals secret after secret that turns Lou Ford from the simple, static small town cop character to another thing entire. A thing much more complex. What sets this novel apart from similar crime novels and Thompson’s contemporaries is just how utterly deranged the characters in this book become. You can see a gradual turn. And I mean deranged. Stanley Kubrick called The Killer inside Me ‘probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered.’ And this comes from the man that brought us Stephen King’s The Shining.