For reasons unknown to him, Pat Cosgrove is paroled and remanded to the custody of a psychologist, Dr. Luther. Can Pat keep from violating his parole and Dr. Luther's wife long enough to discover why he was paroled in the first place?
All aboard the train to happy town, it's another Jim Thompson book. Recoil isn't one of Thompson's well-known works. Still, I'm as hooked on Jim Thompson as Amy Winehouse was on crack so I had to give it a chance.
Pat Cosgrove is a clueless loser, as are approximately half of Thompson's leads. When Dr. Luther springs him from the pen, everyone including Pat knows he has something nefarious in mind. Sprinkle in a dash of Luther's hot young wife Lila and you have a recipe for a typical feel-good Jim Thompson tale.
Unfortunately, Recoil isn't the book I was hoping to read when I picked it up. Nothing much happens for great stretches. Luther's purpose for springing Pat isn't revealed until very near the end and received a resounding "did I just turn over two pages at once?" from me. Hell, it didn't even have the standard "everyone and everything goes to hell" ending I've come to know and love from JIm Thomspon. Everything actually turned out okay for once.
Recoil's kind of a dud, which sucks since all the winning ingredients are there: hot much younger wife, guy fresh out of jail, duplicitious psychologist. Still, Thompson's prose is still sharper than the tip of a hypodermic needle. That's the saving grace of the book.
Where Jim Thompson is concerned, there are three tiers of books. There are the first tier books like The Killer Inside Me and Pop. 1280, second tier books like Savage Night and A Hell of a Woman, and third tier books like this one. It's a 2, maybe a 2+.