Thompson, Jim. The Grifters. New York: Black Lizard/Vintage Crime, 1990.

Reason read: In July 1901 fingerprinting was first introduced as a crime prevention tool.

Everyone once in awhile I will read reviews of a book before I can get to the actual book. Most of the time I regret that decision because it taints what I think about the story. But other times, like now, I’m actually glad I did. The reviews for The Grifters I checked out didn’t reveal too much of the plot nor the ending. Instead the reviews did caution that every character “sucked”. No one was likeable or worth rooting for. Interesting.

Twenty five year old Roy Dillon’s apple doesn’t fall far from the family tree. His mother Lilly, barely 15 years older, is a con-artist and as a result Roy grew up having to hustle to make an existence for himself. By the time he turned eighteen Roy couldn’t wait to strike out on his own; to try grifting for himself. Only he’s not that good at it. Grifters opens with Roy badly beaten and bleeding internally, staggering back to his rented hotel room after a failed attempt to con someone. His girlfriend Moira, nurse Carol and mother all take turns nursing him back to health, each with their own con game in the works. It’s a disaster waiting to happen as no one in the group is truly honest. Everyone is blinded by greed and what they think is love.

A quote – “She’d never given him anything but a hard time, which was about the extent of her generosity to anyone” (p 11).

Author fact: Thompson sold his first fiction when he was only 14 years old.

Book trivia: The Grifters is short, only 189 pages long. I was able to read it in one day. Most everyone has seen the 1990 movie with John Cusack and Anjelica Huston. Except me. I haven’t so I won’t make any comparisons.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter Les Crimes Noir (p 67).

2 Comments on “Grifters”

  1. Maria H. says:

    You didn’t say what you thought of it, did you like it?

    • gr4c5 says:

      Good question. The writing was fired off as if Mr. Thompson didn’t have time for even one edit and every other reviewer was right, I didn’t root for anyone because I didn’t like them…however, because Roy seemed to want to turn his life around I wanted the story to go a little longer. So – mixed feelings?

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