Pop. 1280

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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