A fellow writer asked what I was reading. When I said Jim Thompson, she asked what kind of novels he wrote. I told her The Killer Inside Me, published in 1952, is considered his masterpiece. It's a novel about Lou Ford, whose father, a physician, explained to him that his personality fits the definition of psychopath.
"Like Dexter," said my fellow writer, referring to the popular TV series with Michael C. Hall. True, except that Lou Ford's father does not teach him a moral code. Lou freely indulges his sadistic tendencies and does whatever serves his own interests. Since he is the sheriff in his hometown, he remains above suspicion.
As if that weren't chilling enough, The Killer Inside Me is in the first person. Lou Ford tells his own story. He speaks directly to us. The Killer Inside Me is not Thompson's only first-person, bad-guy novel. Pop. 1280, A Hell of a Woman, and Savage Night are also fine examples.
Though most critics think Thompson was at his best with this type of novel, I think his others are well worth reading. The Grifters, After Dark My Sweet, and The Getaway are powerful examples of noir suspense told in the third person.