This book is regarded as an American Crime Classic, although it is not so well known in the UK. It’s typical of the rather sparsely written American thrillers of the time. It always takes me a while to get into this style of writing, there’s too much going on under the surface and not so much going onto the page, but this did draw me in. It uses, probably quite unusually for the early 50’s I would imagine, a first person narrative of a killer- a Texan deputy sheriff whose latent psychopathic tendencies come back to haunt him. One crime leads to another in his attempts to hush things up and implicate others. There is quite a lot left unsaid, which makes a change from modern crime novels where the reader is spared nothing in terms of gory details but having to read between the lines doesn’t actually make it seem less tense or violent. It is well paced and more than a little disturbing. There’s the odd unexpected twist and this is a good example of mid-twentieth century American crime fiction. It has also been made into a film on a couple of occasions. The last time was in 2010 which is very watchable, respectful towards the novel and has a first-class performance by Casey Affleck.