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The Getaway (CRIME MASTERWORKS) Paperback – Dolby, 21 Mar 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New edition edition (21 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752847686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752847689
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,376,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Classic crime novel by acclaimed author Jim Thompson - 'the best suspense writer going, bar none' NEW YORK TIMES

About the Author

Jim Thompson (1906-1977) was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Among his many novels are The Killer Inside Me, The Grifters, The Getaway and After Dark, My Sweet. He also wrote two screenplays (for the Stanley Kubrick films The Killing and Paths of Glory). Pop. 1280 was an acclaimed French film under the title Coup de Torchon.


Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is my first taste of Jim Thompson. I have heard of his work but never read him before. The book came in a bookset of ten others. It's hard not to compare the book with the orginal film starring Steve McQueen. But there's so much more life in the book that soon you'll dismiss the film as throwaway. The characters are tough, ruthless and calculating. There is no happiness just greed, pursuit and mistrust. This is one of those books you can read in a flash but will take a good while to forget. You'll ponder the ending then perhaps want to read the book again. Downbeat but well recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The Getaway shows that you can write a "page-turner" that is credible and challenging. Thompson's prose style is sparse but extremely readable, and he gets right into his characters head and exposes the violence and vulnerability of the human animal in a way the many writers who hold him in high regard (Stephen King for one) can only enviously wish for.

What lifts this above the level of cracking genre fiction is the sureal and morally philosophical coda. Doc overcomes much hardship to make it to a Mexican resort long talked about by his consorts as some sort of criminal Mecca. However, he soon finds that despite the idylic settings, it's residents (all criminals on the lam) find their ill-gained spoils quickly eaten up by the uber criminal who runs the resort. Thompson paints this Mexican hideaway in a similar way that Steinbeck portrayed the Jode's California, a cruel place where it is impossible to break even. While reading it I was left with the conclusion that this was some sort of surreal afterlife, and that these morally bankrupt people are living in this hellish society of their own creation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel is like a medieval morality tale dressed up in 20th Century clothing.

It starts with a bank robbery set up by "Doc" McCoy, a professional criminal. With glacial efficiency, McCoy and his sidekick Rudy Torrento knock over a bank and getaway as clean as a whistle. They split up and separately head for a prearranged meet-up, once Carter has met his wife, Carol. Torrento, a five-star, silk-lined, ocean-going psychopath, has ideas of his own, and plans to kill Doc and his wife. However, Doc has his own ideas, which are a cut above Rudy's; he knows that Torrento will try and knock him off, so he gets his retaliation in first and shoots Torrento, then goes to pick up Carol.
But then, despite Doc's high intelligence, meticulous planning and vast experience, everything starts to unravel. Torrento isn't dead after all and comes looking for Doc; Carol, entrusted with the loot for a while, manages to lose it to a conman... and so it goes on, with one thing after another going wrong despite Doc's best intentions. For a while they hide out in a dung-heap, which is where the morality tale starts to kick in - the symbolism of this is hard to miss. It finishes in Mexico, in a town that Doc and Carol have always dreamt about as a kind of Shangri-La where they can live happily ever after, beyond the reach of American Law enforcement. But even though they have evaded the Law and "got away with it", this haven turns out not to be what they'd hoped and expected. The pair find themselves trapped in an Earth-bound microcosm of Hell itself, with a mysterious Mexican policeman as Mephistopheles and El Rey, the elderly, benign-seeming man who runs the town, as the Devil himself...
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Format: Paperback
I read the Crime Masterworks paperback version. They make a very nice series on the bookshelf with the elite of crime writers represented.

As the title suggests, very little time is spent on the actual crime rather the struggle to escape the consequences. The main character is Doc McCoy, a man variously described as a charmer, good-natured, agreeable, tender, amusing and insightful. However, he proceeds to slaughter his way around the south-western states of America regardless of the victim being friend or foe.

The moral ambiguity of so many of 1950's crime thrillers is bewildering. Mayhem and slaughter are mere commonplace but the the slightest hint of a sexual relationship is taboo. What is that famous saying about training young pilots to bomb innocent civilians yet threatening them with Court Martial if they chalk a rude word on the sides of the bombs they drop?

There are some memorable scenes as the Doc and his wife Carol desperately try to get away from justice. As the novel progresses the question develops of was it all worth it? The answer at the end has provoked quite a response as you will see from other reviewers. It is a very odd ending indeed. Perhaps to a British reader it also carries ambiguity from the title itself; a 'Getaway' in the sense of a place of seclusion and peace, a safe haven, or is it?
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By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
Psychological thriller with the emphasis on the psycho deeply imbued with logic. Jim perhaps understood more than any other psychotherapeutic writer, a man transforming into a killing machine. The bleed of empathy etched in his writings as hieroglyphics for only the sane to decode. Meanwhile the rest just skip forward locked within the eternal plot caught by the need to satiate an inquisitiveness that brooks no introspection; rubber neck readers.

The opening of this book is pure human boiled essence, distilled within a few sentences and vignettes missed within any gallop of the unfurling disrobery.

Racism, class, status, masculinity and guile are beaten into the mortar of violence. Insomnia as a byproduct of terror laid out in the first 13 pages. Enough to make all the various texts on criminology and psychopathology P45 redundant with their abstract genetic sociological abstract theorising clutched as Teddy Bears by the socially autistic parading as seers. Jim does it all with the flick of his pen and the description of a few scenarios and then away he gallops. The big difference between Jim and lesser mortals is he knew himself outside and in, he may not have liked it but he saw what had happened.

Inside his skin he was wracked upon his childhood legacy. This understanding of the rack allowed him to depict the inner turmoil. All undertaken in an age of non understanding, the 1940's was awash with psychological revolutions as it merged into the 1950's. Bowlby, Spitz, Winnicott and object relations/attachment provided scientific proof of Jim's dimestore populist insights.

Jim is much more than a pulp Doesteovsky. He is the thinking man's Freud stripped of the bells and whistles of pseudo pretension.
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