Pads are for Passion by Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block), Beacon Books
Another early Lawrence Block novel from Beacon, with some sex, drugs, and crime to make it a 60s sleaze title.
It’s a hipster tale, baby, about Greenwhich Village beatniks and reefer pushers, daddy-o. Some of the period language seems funny reading it today, but at the time, had its place and rang true.
Joe and Shank share a little pad. Shank sells marijauna, Joe just hangs out and picks up girls. One, Anita, is a Hispanic virgin from Harlem who hates that her life is heading toward medicore-ville: marriage to an engineer student, “2.3″ kids — “One a boy, one a girl, and who knows what the fraction will be.” She lets Joe take her virginity and moves in with the two in their pad.
Joe goes from selling pot to heroin — better money. He rapes Anita at knife-point. Anita wants to move out with Joe, 27, who has never held down a real job.
The sex scenes are ho-hum. The characters are not sympathetic –they’re all rather stupid, in fact, especially Anita, who has no idea what she’s doing half the time. Perhaps that was the intention: these nowhere people with no goals are as dull on the page as they would be in real life. There is a sort of existentialist nature about it all.
A cop is on their tail. Before he can bust them for selling H, Shank kills the cop with his shank. They go on the run, from Buffalo to Cleveland.
Shank robs a man on the street, kills the man with the dead cop’s stolen gun.
Not the best Block or Sheldon Lord, but better than some of the early Andrew Shaws for Nightstand that are unreadable.
Hard Case Crime reprinted this as A Diet of Treacle. Neither are good titled. Shank and Joe or Reefer Pusher might have been better.