Two Kind of Crime Fiction

The wildest ride in modern crime novel exoticum. A novel so steeped in milieu that it feels as if you’ve blasted to mars in the grip of a demon who won’t let you go. Read this book, savor the language-it’s the last-and the most compelling word in thrillers.
—James Ellroy

“Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.”
― Jim Thompson

There always seems to be two kinds writers of crime fiction, the type of character who thinks even the worst criminal can be turned, change, redeemed; and the type that knows better, that knows that there’s nothing down there in that pit of darkness worth redeeming, that evil is not some moral thing attached to people but an actual metaphysical power, a thing that seeps in from the outside, that’s alien and abyssal without anything human in it. The first type of writer seems to have this progressive idea that one can reform such beings, while the other more cynical and pessimistic writer knows that the only thing that can be reformed is the idiocy of thinking one could make evil better, cure it, turn it to the good side. Such are the markers of deception and self-deception, we love to think people can change, that if they’d just been born in a better situation, been taught a little bit more about hope and optimism things might have turned out differently. The pessimist stands neutral in this hope business, doesn’t question the good, bad, or ugly. No. The pessimist just looks at what’s there in front of his nose, at the thing living there inside us all — implacable, inhuman, and indifferent to all our dreams and hopes alike.

“There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem.”
― Jim Thompson

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