Pop. 1280

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Pop. 1280
First edition
Author Jim Thompson
Country United States
Language English
Genre Crime novel
Publisher Gold Medal Books
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 143 pp

Pop. 1280 is a crime novel by Jim Thompson, published in 1964.[1][2] NPR's Stephen Marche described it as Thompson's "true masterpiece, a preposterously upsetting, ridiculously hilarious layer cake of nastiness, a romp through a world of nearly infinite deceit."[3]


Pop. 1280 is the first-person narrative of Nick Corey,[4] the listless sheriff of Potts County, the "47th largest county in the state". He lives in Pottsville which has a population of "1280 souls".

Sheriff Nick Corey presents himself as a genial fool, simplistic, over-accommodating, and harmless to a fault, given he is Pottsville's sole lawman. From the outset Nick's problems appear to be those of a harmless fool, managing his shrew wife and idiot brother-in-law while simultaneously having affairs in town; negotiations with criminals and undesirables in Pottsville; the evasion of work; and a difficult election campaign against a more worthy candidate.


Pop. 1280 was adapted as the French film Coup de Torchon (1981), directed by Bertrand Tavernier, set in French West Africa in 1938.[5]


  1. ^ Farber, Stephen (1990-01-21). "In the Desert, a Jim Thompson Novel Blossoms on Film". Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  2. ^ McGrath, Charles (2010-06-03). "Filmed to a Pulp". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  3. ^ Marche, Stephen. "Bad Sheriff: Murder, Lies And Southern Fried Catfish". NPR. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  4. ^ Block, Lawrence (October 14, 1990). "CRIME/MYSTERY; A Tale of Pulp and Passion: The Jim Thompson Revival". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (1982-12-20). "Clean Slate (1981) 'Coup De Torchon,' Life In A French Colony". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 

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