Sharecropper Hell was originally titled Cropper’s Cabin when it was published in 1952. The author, Jim Thompson, also published his arguably best novel, The Killer Inside Me, that year.
This novel, while publicized as a noir, was much more than just that genre. It has parts that could be individual categorized as dysfunctional family drama, historical novel, mystery, romance, erotica, courtroom drama, and revenge tale. The problem with having so many different sub-genres is that it would be difficult to find someone that likes them all so the reviews of this novel are all over the place. In my case, I found the dysfunctional family part rather boring. Unfortunately, for me, that part lasted for the first nine chapters. Normally, I quit listening to a book well before chapter ten if it’s dull on the assumption that it won’t get better. I didn’t in this case because I received this audio book for free in exchange for my honest review. I am so glad I didn’t stop. Beginning with chapter ten, the action doesn’t stop. All the loose ends are tied up nicely, but not predictably, by the end. To say more about the plot would be a spoiler but take my word for it—the plot is very good.
The narrator has the exact voice, deep and gravelly, that would be expected during the time period of the novel. He portrayed each character differently so you could immediately tell who was speaking, which made it easier to enjoy during a long commute with frequent distractions.
Overall, I would recommend this audiobook and not just to noir lovers but to anyone who enjoys a good story.