By the time Jim Thompson was sixteen years old, he had been a newspaper boy, a burlesque show hawker, a plumber’s helper, a comedian in two-reel pictures, a night bellboy in a luxury hotel and over a dozen other occupations. By the time he was eighteen, he was driving across America in a broken-down Ford without a penny to his name and his mother and his kid sister Freddie in tow, looking for just one more paycheck to keep them all alive.
A bittersweet comedy of a hard-won American life, ROUGHNECK chronicles the many jobs, near-criminal escapades, and downright unlawful grifts of the man who would become one of crime fiction’s most enduring writers, in a larger-than-life literary memoir–or wildly entertaining tall tale–as only Thompson could tell it. Hard times have never sounded so good.
Jim Thompson was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. He began writing fiction at a very young age, selling his first story to True Detective when he was only fourteen. Thompson eventually wrote twenty-nine novels, all but three of which were published as paperback originals. Thompson also co-wrote two screenplays (for the Stanley Kubrick films “The Killing” and “Paths of Glory”). Several of his novels have been filmed by American and French directors, resulting in classic noir including The Killer Inside Me (1952), After Dark My Sweet (1955), and The Grifters (1963).