Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Review: Jim Thompson, Savage Night (1953)

From one perspective, Savage Night is fairly pedestrian noir. A mob assassin, Charlie Bigger, insinuates himself into a small town as part of his plan for killing a witness in an upcoming trial. This plan, of course, proves to be unnecessarily complicated, as the conventions of noir sometimes require. So far, nothing memorable. But Jim Thompson adds to the mix a startling grotesquerie that turns Savage Night into something altogether new in the noir vein. I will say nothing more about this, as Savage Night should not be experienced by summary, but I will note that it is easy to imagine Flannery O'Connor learning a few of her tricks from Jim Thompson. Grade: B-


  1. Read it recently, thought it was terrible. Loved A Killer Inside Me, Pop. 1280, and The Grifters, though.

  2. I certainly won't deny that all the books you list are better!