Cashing in on the Jim Thompson revival, Westwood's Blood & Guts Press has issued what it says is the first edition of Thompson's last novel, "Child of Rage," to adhere to the original manuscript. This version, which the publisher says "differs significantly" from the 1972 paperback edition, comes with an introduction by local crime novelist Gerald Petievich ("To Live and Die in L.A."), who calls it "one of the greatest send-ups of racial prejudice in fiction . . . a classic Oedipal plot," and asks rhetorically: "Who called Jim Thompson a pulp writer?"
"Child of Rage" features a mother-son relationship even worse than the one in Thompson's "The Grifters." The son, Allen Smith, is black. His mother is white. A call girl known in the trade as an "Afro-American specialist," she resents this product of her indiscretions and tries to make Allen's life hell, mostly through seductive behavior that renders him impotent with any other woman. As a teen-ager, he uses his 190 IQ to treat people the way his mother treats him, setting them up and putting them down. He hates whites for the way they oppress blacks--and hates blacks for either imitating whites or conforming to their ugliest stereotypes.