Archive for December, 2011
Boy had I hoped this would be a keen Lawrence Block Sheldon Lord in the vein of The Sex Shuffle or April North…but no, this one is not Block, it is Milo Perichitich, the lesser of the Sheldon Lords. Possible, as was the case with Nighttstand, Block stopped being Lord and Andrew Shaw after 1963 as he persued his crime fiction career and was being Jill Emerson. (Being Jill Emerson would be a great title for something.)
This one is your typical corporate suit types who lust after each other’s wives and use one another’s wife to advance or get revenge. Been there done that in pulp sleazeland. Sidney’s Wife is almost unreadable.
I have curiously intrigued by the books from Jerry M. Goff, Jr., since reading Thrill Crazy, Wanton Wench!, and others, and the scandal of the plagarism from Prather books. Carnal Rage has to be the best of them so far.
This short 30,000 word novel is narrated by an auto mechanic named Roscoe, a quite and quietly insane person who now and then gets an uncontrolable urge to rape and murder women. His boss throws an engagement party for a fellow mechanic who is getting married to gorgeus Marcie who Roscoe thinks is too uppity with her good looks and strong perfume. After the party, he slips out of the apartment and spies on her, then follows her and rapes her in a park. It is a brutal and violent rape. Marcie is a virgin but she seems to turn passionate; she urges Roscoe to rape her hard and good, her face bloody…this is most likely Roscoe’s delusion. He leaves her near dead. Later, she is in the hosptal with broken bones and comatose.
He lives with Ann, a homely girl who is afraid she may lose him — she has followed him on three moves t different cites. In Cleveland and Pittsburgh, he raped and murdered, and afraid te cops might track him, he always moves and Ann follows. A mechanic can get work anywhere.
The cops question everyone who was at the party. Roscoe learns a stripper in a near by club has briefly seen him. Worried she might identify him, Roscoe tracks her down and rapes and kills her too.
His rambings are Thompson-esque, like The Killer Inside Me. Or maybe Gordon Lish’s Dear Mr. Capote. Roscoe does not believe there is anything wrong with him, and has no moral issues with his capitol crimes: he sees himself as a regular guy who has these crazy urges and needs now and then and he has to act on them as if it were natural.
Ann finds out the truth, but she stands by him. She offers herself::”If you need t rape someone, raoe me.” But he cannot. He loves her in his own weird way.
The wrap-up is hokey and illogical but this was still a guilty pleasure of a manic read.
The narrator of this fine noir novel is Carl Bigelow, once known as Little Bigger, a notorious hit man for the mob who is five feet tall and perpetually looks like a kid. He has been hiding out in Arizona, running a gas station, having got a new set of teeth, contact lenses, and a new life…but he is suffering from a lung ailment that has him coughting up blood from time to time.
“The Man” has found him…The Man is a mysterious syndicate guy who one day is in the papers for indictments, beats them, and a month later he is seen in society pages yukking it up with the judges and politicians who were trying to convict him of this or that. We realize it is all for show, and it is all about money.
There is a fellow who is abut to tur state’s evidence because he cannot deal with jail, and Carl Littke Bigger has been found and hired t take the guy out. Carl cannot say no to the job, or The Man will just have him killed, just as The Man orders Carl to kill a mutual acquanitance to prove he still has a killer inside him.
The plot for murder is an intricate one: Carl moves to the snall town where the target lives, enrolls in the local teacher’s college as a cover, and rents a room in the house of te very target…there he seduces and plays emotional games with the target’s lonely ex-singer/stripper wife, and the crippled maid, Ruthie, who also goes to the college.
Ruthie needs crutches because ne of her legs, at the knee, did not fully form, and there at the knee isna tiny foot wth tiny toes. Carl witnesses this tiny foot when he ravishes Ruthie in his bedroom in one of the most perverse sex scenes to come out of noir fiction yet.
I could see Mickey Rooney in this part, c. 1960 or so…a small tough guy. How does this five foot fellow charm the ladies? They crave attention and he gives it to them — he is s charmer, and flatters them, and gets them to love him…the idea, he tells The Man, is to get the wife to actually help him murder the target, and he will patsy her and make it look like she did it alone.
Instead, he frames Ruthie, and then runs away with her…he runs because he knows The Man will take him out after he does the job, to insure no loose ends.
The local good ol’ boy sheriff suspects him, checks him out…and in a bold and swifty move, Carl frames himself by sending an anonymous note stating who he really is, the notorious Little Bigger, but shen it all comes up to look like b.s., it helps him in his plan.
But Carl is insane…he is dying from his ailment, he knows he will never get out of the grip of the mob, and he slowly goes nuts…he may even have fallen for Ruthie, the cripple girl he has knocked up and framed for murder.
The last 10 pages are bizarre…we are not sure what is reality and what are hallucinations…did he kill Ruthie and the baby in her or has she murdered him? Did she ever exist? Has this whole novel been the wild paranoid fantasies of a dying man?
An amazing read…evidence of Thompson’s brilliance as the, yes, Fyodor D. of crime spree. Existential, literate, and American all the way.
Jordan Park was one of the pen names of golden age SF writer C.M. Kornbluth, a New York member of the Futurians, who died at 34 of a heart attack and may have reached the ranks of Asimov, Silverberg, Pohl and Delany had he lived and continued. Many have compaered Barry Malzberg to him for the black humor of the future. Frederick Pohl would later finish some of his imcomplete manuscripts.
Valerie is a 30,000 word short novel with a misleading cover and cover copy, making it look contemporary. It is set in 1512 Scotland and deals with a witch cult and its leader, “The Black Man,” who seems to be Satan; the 12 witches in the coven dance and worship him in the woods on certain nights and they all have sex with him, for he is an entity of great stamina.
Valerie is a kitchen wench in a castle who once came from a family of wealth but now is poor and looked down upon. She tries to get a nobleman interested in marrying her but she is laughed at — why would such a man marry a lowly whore? She vows vengeance…her desire is noted by a woman who says her coven is 11 and needs one more woman, and the The Black Man will give her whatever she wants in the world if she worships and gives her body and soul to this fellow.
And a mysterious “inheritance” of an “uncle she never knew comes her way, castles and lands that were supposed to be absorbed by the Catholic Church, setting off suspicion by a Bishop and an inquiry into witchcraft…
While not as compelling as his SF, Kornbluth was a solid storyteller and this little tale was a fun read, and shows that Kornbluth knew a lot about history of the time and the beginings of the Inquisoition.
This one reads more like a Loren Beauchamp than a Don Elliott, if that is even possible, being both are Silverberg, but the Beauchamps always seemed to have a bit of a darker overtone than the Elliotts,
This one opens with a burglary in the house of the Lamsons, a fairly well to do couple. The burglar ties the husband up and forces him to watch the rape of his wife, Moira. But there is something odd: the burglar resembles Lamson in body sizem hair, etc., and it almsot seems like Moira knows who her rapist is…she does go frigid and starts to see a psychiarist…and the shrink violates all codes of medical ethics by telling the husband what the wife says in the sessions. (Reminds me of soemthing from the TV show Mad Men where the main guy pays a shrink to make his wife believe there is something wrong with her.)
The shrink also suspects Moira knows her rapist, that he is a man from her past, a guy who “got away” and she only married Lamson because he resembles this guy. This turns out to be true, the guy is an ex-boxer turned small time crook and pimp of Greenwich Village bar hookers. Moira had dated him but would not sleep with him unless they married, so he jilted her.
Lamson sets the guy up for a fall and…
You can read the book for what happens. Not a bad read, as always with Silverberg,
A third-person narrative, where Thompson normally wrote his best in first person, of young Dusty Rhodes, a bellhop in an “upscale” ($15 a night) hotel that never lets a single woman take a roon, because chnaces are she is a working girl, and young couples must show marriage certificates, and more importantly: employees are forbidden to spend some time in any guests rooms, especially the male employees with female guests. Dusty has had some propositions but thus far has ignored temptation, until one swell-looking babe from Dallas comes rolling into town and takes a room…her looks even make the night desk clerk forget that she is a single woman, and she gets the special rate of $10 a night.
His life basically sucks. He was going to college with an intent of becoming a doctor, but then his mom died, and his father lost his teaching job because he had signed a petition associated with an American Communist group. It is the early 1950s, there is the red scare and the black listing. His father’s health is bad and his mind is slipping. Dustyhad to quit college and get a job not take care of his dad, and pay the lawyer handling his dad’s lawsuit to get his job back. Working the night shift at the Manton Hotel is better for him, the tips are better.
One of the residents is a former botegger and wise guy with underworld crime connections named Tug. He always has wise guys coming to visit him. Tug has taken a liking to the young bellhop Dusty.
One night the swell-looking babe calls up for stationary and Dusty brings itto her…he is met with her half-naked body and a lipstick smeared kiss…then she pushes him away and starts screaming…the furniture in her room is upturned…Tug comes to his rescue, tells him gthe broad is setting hm up and do’t worry, kid, ol’ Tug will take care of it.
Dusty can’t believe she has set him up for a lawsuit at the hotel; she will claim he tried to rape her; the hotel will pay her off to keep quiet. He has heard of such scams. But he has Tug onhis side, Tug and his boys have whisked Marcia away, but Tug wants Dusty to do soemthing for him: help him rob the hotel of the safe desposit boxes where some of the guests, in for the horse races, keep a lot of money, at least $200K all together…
Murders happen, doublecrosses, the babe from Dallas is in on it with Tug, they had set him up all along…and despite Dusty trying to do the right thing, nothing works out for him.
Like many Thompson novels, a noir read with a dark twist ending.
I have enjoyed all the March Hastings books I have read so far, such as The Drifter and others. Anybody’s Girl is a decent, albeit predictable read about sexual confusion.
Addie is 19 and lives with her abusive alcoholic mother. Her father is absent, living in Manhattan with a woman named Margo. She is ready to give up her viriginity and when she does, the guy treats her like a whore, even tosses a twenty dollar bill at her when it is over. Humiliated, she vows to become a slut, to sleep with whatever man wants her, to become as the title says anybody’s girl. And she does…
One day she goes to visit her father and has a talk with her father’s girlfriend, Margo. They have a curious good rapport. She stays the night in the guest room and Margo comes to visit her, to seduce Addie, and Addie gives in…why not? And she likes it. It is apparent that Margo is only with her father for his money.
Margo sets Addie up in her own apartment so the two have a place to maintain their lesbian love affair. Margo takes Addie to Greenwich Village and the lesbian bars to introduce her to the third sex way of life. But Margo does not like that Addie still likes to fuck men.
In fact, Addie meets Cliff, the man who will turn her away from sinful dykedom, the way these lesbian novels often concluded as per genre stipulation: that heterosexuality wins out.
The cover is a Paul Rader classic with the classic Rader-esque woman. He also did the cover for the 1964 reprint: