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Review: Texas by The Tail by Jim Thompson

Texas by The Tail seems to get a mixed reaction from Thompson fans. It's good. It's not S-Tier Thompson, but it's not the hot mess that some folks may try to convince you it is. It's a solid mid-to-high range output. Closer to mid. More like a gate-keeper for the upper echelon.

Unfortunately, Texas by the Tail suffers from following The Grifters (a bedrock of the S-Tier), and unnecessarily draws comparisons to it. On the surface there's a lot of overlap. Stories about con men with troubled relationships with women, including the older women who serve as fill ins for the protagonist's unusual relationship with a floozy mother.

Short of the surface-level thematic overlap, Texas by the Tail stands on its own. Fans of the super dark worlds Thompson creates may be disappointed here, but there are moments of Thompson's trademark viciousness -- in particular a scene where two effete hoods go to shakedown a lady. Rough stuff that is among the most violent scenes you&…