The Torrid Teens – Orrie Hitt (Beacon #294, 1960)
Orrie Hitt, like many pulp writers, dabbled in the popular juvenile delinquent novel. For Hal Ellson, it was a speciality; for Harlan Ellison, it was a research subject to help sell some stories and books; for Robert Silverberg and Joan Ellis, it was just another theme for the many books.
Hitt, as Charles Verne, tackled this theme some with Mr. Hot Rod, and his novels Wayward Girl and The Tavern do as well. The Torrid Teens is a typical juvenile novel with rumbles, a murder, and “debs” — gang girls, which Hitt focuses on two: Ava Flynn, daughter of a police officer, comes from “the good side” of the tracks, but has chosen to run with the local gang; and Hope Gardner, who has taken a different approach as business woman in crime: with an inheritance, she has bought her way into the local vice trade, using the gangs to do her deeds and make her richer.
Toss in some lesbianism, alcoholism, violence…
This reads like something Beacon asked Hitt to write: “Give us a juvie gang book next, those are selling!” and Hitt, never one to pass up a paycheck it seems, gave in.
And not for the better. This is a boring book — this is not the Orrie Hitt whose general work I love. Sometimes it is good for a theme-obsessed writer to delve into other areas — juvie books was not one for Mr. Hitt.
The cover is typical of many of these books — the woman cowering with her back against the hall and a hood in jeacket with knife closing in on her…