More Hardcore

Jim Thompson, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (410p) ISBN 978-1-55611-016-0
The publisher may be what Thompson characterized as ""playing the `small con'the hype and the smack and the tat'' when he calls these three short 1950s novels ``all classics in the ranks of Hammett and Chandler.'' In the word of Nero Wolfe, pfui. When he was good, Thompson (Hardcore was closer to Mickey Spillane at moving a plot along but no better at characterization. ``The Ripoff'' is a silly story about a poor writer whose rich fiancee may be trying to drive him crazy. It makes no sense at all. ``Roughneck'' is a loose, sentimental autobiographical segment that holds some interest in its depiction of Depression life in the West and Midwest. ``The Golden Gizmo'' begins marvelously: ``It was almost quitting time when Toddy met the man with no chin and the talking dog.'' But the story of a small-time conman dealing in then-illegal gold degenerates into complicated unbelievability and farce that's occasionally intentional. (`` `And keep your hands out o' your pockets,' gritted Donald.'') Fans of Hammett, Chandler, Macdonald and Spillane will wisely look elsewhere. (August 10)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
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