Jim Thompson 'Wild Town' (1957) ****

In Jim Thompson's Wild Town (1957) deputy sheriff Lou Ford, the protagonist of Thompson's 1952 novel The Killer Inside Me (still my favorite of his works), returns, though this time around his character is (to quote from Wikipedia) "a mirror image of the one in Killer Inside Me. In Wild Town Lou Ford is also a sheriff, he also plays the fool, and he is also smarter and more capable than anyone else in the small town although he keeps it well hidden. He also prefers, and is usually able, to manipulate events rather than directly intervene. However, whereas in Killer Lou Ford manipulates events to further his own greed and lust, in Wild Town he manipulates events to bring about justice, to help people, and even to play matchmaker."

If you love your crime pulpy, look no further. This one has many of the trademarks - a hotel, a dopey strongarm, femme fatales, an invalid old man, homicide, stolen money, twisting plot dynamics and steamy affairs.

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