Crime/mystery writer Lawrence Block wrote sleaze as Sheldon Lord for Midwood and Beacon and Andrew Shaw for Nightstand. Later Shaw books are penned by Donald E. Westlake, William Cons, and Hal Dresner, and possibly others, farmed out by Block when he didn’t have time or desire, cutting the pay with these ghostwriters of a pen name.
Lust Damned seems to be Block, it reads in his early style. It is a dark story of pedophilia. The crass, wise-ass narrator is a 33-year-old insurance guy with a wife and two kids and a secret desire for girls under 15. He spends his time in suburbia one summer admiring the young teen girls running around.
This is far different than the Don Elliots or Bellmores or Dexters from Nightstand/Cornith/Greenleaf — darker, with no happy ending, and more realistic. Obviously following in the footsteps of Lolita, the narrator muses, wax poetic, on the many fine points of the nymphet, in language that is not as graceful as Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, but smooth urban prose nontheless. Half way do we realize the guy is cracking up with the pressures at work and his need to break out of his suburban daddy/husband/breadwinner life. He has been carrying on with a secretary at the office but she’s too old for him.
First it is all fantasy…but then he meets a 15-year-old at the beach who likes older men…one thing leads to another…then he visits a special brothel in Spanish Harlem and pays for a 12-year-old hooker…then he seduces the 14-year-old daughter of his neighbor, who baby-sits for him, and he decides to kidnap her and run off…
This pushes the envelope of 1960s obscenity for Nightstand — I recall Earl Kemp writing in his online memoirs that Reed Nightstand/Greenleaf never published underage sex fiction like other companies did, but here is proof that they did (other titls like Sexteen and The Teeny-Bopper also)…perhaps Kemp meant they never publshed work that had sex with pre-teens, which in the 1970s, places like Surree House offered, along with beastiality, incest, and other kinks for certain readers.
A disturbing little suburban tale of a fellow gone sex crazy, trapped in the gutter of his mind, making his shameful fantasies into sinful realities! He is, yes, one of the Lust Damned!
As for a Block/Shaw book, it’s one of the best I’ve read so far, but I have some others I need to read, like Sin Alley, The Wild Ones, Flesh Parade, $20 Lust, and Passion COD.