Heed the Thunder

Jim Thompson, Author Armchair Detective Library $19.95 (297p) ISBN 978-0-922890-98-9
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. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Open Ebook - 312 pages - 978-0-316-19603-1
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-0-679-74014-8
Hardcover - 297 pages - 978-0-922890-99-6
Paperback - 332 pages - 978-0-316-40377-1
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