Archive for William Coons

Sin Devil by Andrew Shaw aka Lawrence Block or William Coons (Nightstand, 1961)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, crime noir, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on December 1, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

 A curious one from Block where he experiments with style like he has in a few other of his later books for Hamling. This one begins in the third person with a reporter named Jules covering the death of an old multi-millionaire, Martin Trane, whose life was surrounded by secrets and perversity, such as his paying a sixteen-year-old girl for sex. Jules gets hsi hands on the manuscript of a confession/memoir Trane had written…

Here the book jumps to first person. The memoir takes up 80% of the book. Almost seems like Block wrote that first, realized it was too short word-wise, and added the beginning and end to reach the necessary 50,000 words for a Nightstand. Who knows. The technique is not smooth but the memoir is full of wonderful debauchery, starting from Trane’s early years in boarding school to middle age and to an old lecher who wallowed in what his money could buy.

For Block fans, or Coons, a good little read.

Some Andrew Shaw Covers!

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books with tags , , , on January 2, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The House of Seven Sins by Andrew Shaw (Lawrence Block or William Coons?), Nightstand Books #1575

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Another good early Andrew Shaw about a neophyte writer in the big city of big sin and lust…

Lou Packer, 25, has come from upper NY state Clarksonsville to chase his dream of being a writer — he rents a two room apartment in a building in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan, to sit down and write his first novel, with hopes of selling it to one of the Manhattan publishers.  Not an hour after he arrives, does the super, a sexy woman named Ameila, have sex with him — several times.

Well, this is a sleaze novel…or, in the case of Nightstand Books, a sleaze periodical, that has all the characteristics of early Larry Block….or does it?  According to Lynn Munroe’s Reed Nightstand checklist, this Shaw was penned by William Coons, reprinted in 1973 as The Obsessed.

Coons started ghosting for Block in 1961, the first Passion Slaves (NB 1563), and if he did ghost this one (1961 seemed to be a busy year for Block as he began to publish under his own name at Gold Medal, first with Mona), he did a good job imitating Block’s style — the clipped paragropaghs and the long chapters — there are only nine chapters here, and Block’s usually has nine or ten chapters. (This is easy to see why — each chapter is 5,000 words, and 10 makes a 50,000 word book.  Craftsmanship.)

At least, I thought this was entirely Block after Chapter One, but reading on it is evident this is not entirely Block.  I’m thinking Block wrote Chapter One (and maybe a few others) and Coons took over. This seemed to be the modus operandi for Block back then with his ghosters like Donald Westlake and Bill Coons and whoever else…

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Sin Alley by Andrew Shaw (Lawrence Block and ?), Lesiure Book #613

Posted in Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Shaw - Sin Alley

The cover alone is worth the price of admission.  It’s such a cool cover that, like Midwood’s Sin of Wheels art by Paul Rader or Gil Brewer’s The Bitch, it’s been reprinted on matchbooks, keychains, coffee mugs, and posters.

paul-rader-sin-on-wheels Brewer - The Bitch

 

 

 

 

 

The cover also reminds me so much of this former dancer at L.A.’s Jumbo’s Clown Room. When I showed her this cover (she no longer dances, but is an esatte chef in Bel Air) her eyes popped and she said, “That’s me!” Really — same body type, same hair, same lips.  Strange.

There’s no date on this, but as a Cornith Leisure Book, it would date between 1965-66.  It is on Lynn Munroe’s list of “are they or are they not” Lawrence Blocks from his article,”The First Andrew Shaw.”  There’s also question as to whether or not Block continued to write for Hamling and Kemp after 1963, when he and his agent split from Scott Meredith — after all, Meredith contracted all titles to Hamling & Kemp via The Black Box.

I think I’ve become adept at spotting Block’s style.  For one, in general, both his and Westlake’s Nightstands and Midwoods are between 9 and eleven chapters, often ten.  It’s a pragmatic thing — to get a 50,000 words manuscript, you do ten 5,000 word chapters, or nine 6,000 word chapters, and at on chapter a day, in less than two weeks you have a finished book. (Robert Silverberg’s were all fourteen chapters, until after 1965 when Greenlead required all books to be an exact 12 chapters).

Block also has a way of writing about Greenwich Village, a section of Manhattan that he obviously loves.  This is how Sin Alley opens, with colorful depictions of the the streets, trees, and builings of the Village, as well as its doomed youth in th streets:

It is a tough neighborhood.

They fourteen they have smoked their first marijuana cigaratte; by age fifteen they have taken their first hit of H; by sixteen they have graduated to sin-popping and by sixteen they are ready to shoot with medical hardware.

They have already had their first love by age twelve. In the basement or boiler room or hallway or on a fat rooftop, with a girl who is a known tramp, someone from the crowded apartment next door or the street. They start early and soon learn all about that. They know how to get their kicks. (pp. 6-7)

That passage is pure early vintage Block, as if taken from the pages of Pads Are for Passion.  In fact, there are a lot of “pads,” man, in early Block, and, like, beatnik lingio, Daddy-O.

In Sin Alley, The Pad is a special place, a cool space, it is “five rooms on the top floor of a four-story brick painted apartment building” (p. 8).  No one lives there and some think it is a myth; only those with a key, or know someone with a key, can get in.  No one knows who pays for it.  But The Pad is a safe place to take a chick and make her, smoke M or shoot H, play jazz and trip and float and ride the reefer wave.

So happens with a girl named Marion in chapter one; she meets a sexy beatnik trumpet player, they have dinner, he gives her booze and speed, and they go up to the pad.  He tells her to never talk about The Pad and to deny being there if ever asked. She’s too high to remeber anyway.

Chapters two and thre are in completely different writing styles which causes me to think this is a collaborative novel.  Chapter two reads like Westlake’s dense early style and I believe chapter three could be William Coons, who was already ghosting Andrew Shaws as of 1962.

This is a multi-character book, almost a collection of stories, a biout various people in the Village finding their way to The Pad and experiencing mind0-blowing sex and drugs and music.  We don’t get back to Marion’s story until chapter six, and back to Block’s writing — in fact, his chaptrs are choppy, stucatto, single word paragraphs that flow like jazz riffs, returning to themes — the way we return to Marion half way through the book.

It’s an okay book, I’m not a fan of multi-character novels or collections disguised as a novel, because you don’t get to know the characters or even care for them.  Plus, the different writing styles throughout make it an nerratic read.  But like I said at the top, the cover is worth the price of admission into this pad, Daddy-O.

Adios, Scheherazade by Donald E. Westlake (Simon and Schuster, 1970)

Posted in Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Westlake - AdiosDonald Westlake, RIP, wrote this funny book around the same time that Hal Dresner wrote his funny book, The Man Who Wrote Dirty Books, both novels about the sleaze publishing racket, both published by Simon and Schuster.  Both wrote for Midwood and Nightstand as young writers needing money experience, both were contracted out by Scott Meredith, both went on to bigger and better careers, both got a funny book out of the experience.

The narrator of Adios is a writer, 25, with a wife and kid and dreams of graduate school someday, knocking out a book a month for a New Orleans paperback house as Dirk Smuff.  The pen name used to belong to his friend Rod, who now has a spy series with a better house at $3,000 advances, publishes articles in Playboy, and has a movie deal in Hollywood.  The smut publisher still thinks they are getting Dirk Smuff novels from him, not knowing he has “a ghost” as they call it.

adiosP

His cadre of writing friends all have ghosts, collecting part of the $1,200 per book minus the agent’s commisson; they all have better careers and magazine or mainstream book writers. All except the lonly narrator, who is having a hard time getting his monthly books in on time…first two days late, then three, then four, then nine…the agency tells him if he’s late one more time, they will replace him with an eager writer who can do the work.

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Ursula Grant and Other Pseudonyms

Posted in Midwood Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Midwood - Campus Queen

Grant - Boss Lady

I ordered these two Ursula Grant Midwoods because I liked the covers.  She only did a couple stand alone movels and a few doubles, but looking at th style, this is obviously Joan/Julie Ellis writing under this pen name. Odd, as the name is not listed as attahed to her, like Linda Michaels and Jill Monte are.

Ellis’ style is too distinct, easy to recognize, and the themes of the above are classis Joan Ellis: the college hellion and the woman going for the younger lover.

I will review these two down the line…but next: an early Midwood by Fred Martin, Hired Lover, that is obviously Orrie Hitt…

midwood - hired lover

Also found out that Barbara Brooks was a female pen name for William Coons, who penned some Andrew Shaws and Don Hollidays at Nightstand…

Midwood - hellcat

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