Archive for June, 2009

PRIG by John Dexter (1964)

Posted in Nightstand Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Dexter - Prig

John Dexter was a Reed Nightsand/Greenleaf  house pen name, and just about all their writers had a title or two under the name — often used if they had two books by the same writer in a given month.  Thus, the quality and style of every Dexter book varies. I ‘m not sure who wrote Prig — the clipped style resembles Lawrence Block’s early writing, but the title is not listed under his pen name books, and supposedly Block stopped writing for William Hamling after he left the Scott Meredith Agency in 1963 (he had plenty of work at Fawcett Gold Medal and other publishers). It might be Donald Westlake or William Coons, who wrote under Block’s usual pen name, Andrew Shaw; it is definitely not Silverberg.

This a funny, fast-paced romp about a priggish, shy 27-year-old virgin male, engaged to his sweetheart who are both saving themselves for the honeymoon night…he lives in a small nowhere town in Nebraska, leading an unevntful life as a stationary clerk.

Then his rich uncle dies, a man he hardly knew but was worth fifty million from oil investments.  The uncle has left him $1 million, but with a stipulation: in order to get the money, he must travel the U.S., mever more than two days in one city, and sleep with 20 women in 30 days — they can’t be hookers, he has to seduce the women.  As witness, the dead uncle has sent one of his call girls and a $5 thousand in traveling money.

OswaldThis book reminded me a lot of Roland Dahl’s My Uncle Oswald — the same kind of humor mixed with funny sexual experiences. It’s a nice break from the dark and serious Silverberg novels.

French Sin Port by David Challon (Robert Silverberg) – Bedtime Books No. 820 (1959)

Posted in Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Challon - French Sin Port

Before he was Loren Beauchamp for Midwood and Don Elliott for Nightstand, Robert Silverberg was David Challon and Mark Ryan for Bedtime Books in the late 1950s.  The success of Bedtime sleaze titles on newsstands inspired (by suggestion of Harlan Ellison) William Hamling to start Nightstand, Midnight Readers, etc., as the science-fiction pulp magazine was dying out.  Hamling’s company already publoshed Rogue, a men’s magazine edited by Ellison that was good competition for Hugh Hefner’s Playboy — both were Chicago-based, with quality modeld and good writing (often by Ellison and Silverberg under pen names).  Hamling published books under the Regency imprint (issuring Ellison’s Gentleman Junkie and Memos from Purgatory, and the first edition of Jim Thompson’s The Grifters). (Silverberg also wrote a bio of de Sade for this imprint, which I will discuss in a later post.)

Silverberg welcomed work at Nightstand since Hamling had previusly had him on a $500/month contract for SF stories, and the start pay was $600 with a $250 bonus for sales…later increasing to $800, $1000, $1200, and then $2000 per book as the books sold well and made money.  Bedstand paid $400-500 a book, so Silverberg stopped writing for them when Hamling put him on a two-book a month contract — that was damn good money for a writer back then,  considering that Silverberg was still penning occasional SF, detective and ghost-written stuff, plus his non-fiction books for younger readers.

French Sin Port is an odd, uneven work of suspense and debaunchery.  The first few pages, I wondered if this was Silverberg, as it started rather sappy and superficial about two teenage American girls, Maureen and Naomi, on vacation in Europe for the summer.  First, they spent a month in France, where they find love, sex, and crime.

Maureen’s parents have sent her off abroad to keep her from marrying this geeky accountant (bow tie!) whom she lost her virginity to.  She meets an Ameican artist in Paris and falls in love with him; her friend meets a French guy who invites them down to the French Riveria for a week for fun in the sun and sin a la carte.

Maureen is hot, topless on the beach, and gets noticed by a hunky French guy who is a pimp for a Greek tycoon, his giant 20-cabin party yacht anchored off the shore.  She gets suckered into a big party on the yacht, mingling with countesses and the rich, gambling with money she doesn’t have, and getting the eye of the 62-year-old Greek man, whom she find srepulsive.

She sleeps with the French man, who fucks her like she has never been; she realzies the two men  she’s been with are lousy in bed, inexperienced.  But then the French guy hands her off to the Greek man.  He is willing to pay her money and she refuses.

The Greek man does not like to be rejected, and later he arranges for her kidnapping, where he rapes her.  During the second rape, acting like she is giving in for $25,000, she knocks the Greek over the head with a lamp, runs naked out of the cabin and jumps off the boat.

Returning to Paris, afraid she will be hunted down and killed, she sees the newspaper the next day that states the Greek tycoon died of a massive stroke.  She feels no remorse — she is glad she killed him for the rape.

Maureen acts strange for a rape victim — she sleeps with two other men (one her artist lover) immedately after.  Her accountant boyfriend shows up in Paris, prepared to marry him, ring in hand, but she tells him she’s moving in with the artist.  He tries to rape her too and she bites him and knees him in the nuts — she will not be a victim again.

She’s a bit two-dimensional, though, and this does read like a young writer’s early efforts (Silverberg was 24 at the time).  It’s a fast breezy read; I could picture it as one of those teen sex beach romp movies on the 1980s.

I have not read the other David Challon or Mark Ryan books yet. . . (Note: the number of typos in amazing, as well as a missing Chapter 13, where there is just blank space.)

French Sin Port was reprinted in 1967 by Greenleaf’s Ember Library imprint as Rogue of the Riveria by Don Elliott:

Eliott - Rogue

Party Girl by Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg) Nightstand #1509)

Posted in Don Elliott, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Party Girl

One of the early books Silverberg wrote, as it is the ninth one of the line: 1509 — he wrote the first one, Love Addict: 1501.

Love Addict A novel about heroin and sex and what a woman will do for her dope.

There are no drugs in Party Girl, except booze, but it’s about what women will do for money, small money, large money — women come to New York in the late 50s looking to dance or sing or act on Broadway, and get suckered by shady sleazy agents and promoters. Money becomes a drug later on…

In Party Girl, all sex leads to tragedy. There is no love — there is only desperation, fear, loneliness, loss of hope, loss of humanity.

Laura Haynes is a gorgeous Kansas farm girl who comes to the Big Apple looking for her chance on Broadway.  She’s 22, full-figured, a virgin and naive. That all goes away when the first agent she has a meeting with has her get into a skimpy outfit and then rapes her.

Shocked, Laura wanders around NY, in pain from the rape, and collaspses. A girl helps her. The girl, Marilyn, is a streetwalker.  Laura roomates with Marilyn.  After a week of looking for work, Laura decideds to become a streetwalker.

But she’s too good-looking for $10 tricks.  She soon gets the attention of a powerful, high class pimp who runs an upscale call girl service. He puts her up in a Westside apartament, buys her clothes and jewrely, gives her a $500 advance.  He promises her $500 a week (about $5K in 1959 money) plus whatever tips she makes;  and she has to work every night, with four days a month off; each afteroon she gets a call where to meet a cleint — bankers, lawyers, businessmen in town.

Within months, she is wealthy, putting money away…with tips, she is making $30K a year, and figures she can retire by 27.

Of course, she meets a fella whom she falls in love with — not a client, just a guy…typical call girl story falling for a common joe who falls for her too…

…and he finds out the truth about her and kills himself over the pain of it all…

…and Laura has a gun…

It’s a damn fine story — professionally paced, with a few illogical parts that the writer didn’t think out right, but that’s okay.  The sex is cold and sad, even the drunken lesbian sex between Laura and Marilyn.  I would nto say this novel is not “erotica” but a morality play on the sins of the flesh, a la 1950s morals.

The dialogue reads like a 1950s black and white movie too, with the sweeping soundtrack, but an ending akin to Sunset Boulevard.

The Fires Within by Loren Beauchamp

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Midbook Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

beauchamp - Fires

A desperate housewife yarn.  Not as engaging as Silveberg’s other Beauchamps, but a good guilty pleasure read…

She’s 37 but books 27, married to a man ten years her senior who is a big time Manhattan lawyer living in a giant house on Long Island, two cars, lots of money…and no sex life…

A yoing auto mehcanics sets the fire within her loisn and she has an affair with him; one day they go to a motel where the owner is a former client of her husband’s.  This sleazy motel owner blackmails her: have sex with him or he’ll tell her husband.  Seems he does this to a lot of married women who come to his motel for a romp.  But he likes to spank and hit and bruise.  She only does it once.  He threatens to tell. She tells her husband the truth and he forgives her, but her husband and the motel owner have it out, the motel guy falls down the stairs and dies and her husband has a heart attack.

Now she is a rich widow and can sleep with whomever she wants…this is not a morality play, obviously, and does not have the patent “happy” ending the other books have.

Robert Silverberg must have had, or still does, a thing for busty red-heads, and many of this heroines thus far are all that — Connie, Meg, Wayward Widow, other womne in the Don Elliott books…just an observation.

(Sidenote: the woman in this novel reminded me a lot of a certain married woman I had an affair with in the late 1990s, who was also 37, older than me at the time — I was 29-30 — and well off. She was an actress ad hung around my theater crowd at The Fritz Theater in San Diego.  She was in a sexless marriage, but also on a crazy binge after the death of her mother.  But she was just like the woman in this book, so I find it…curious and odd I suppose…and she was a red head!  I write about this affair in semi-autobio fashion in my novel Drama (Blue Moon Books, 2002), reprinted as Bad Karma and Kinky Sex (Ophir/OlympiaPress, 2009).



Another Night, Another Love by Loren Beauchamp

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Midbook Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on June 1, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

beauchamp - anoyher night another love

This Beauchamp is one of Silverber’s lighter titles — that is, there are no suicides or murders in the end, although there is a but of violence, and it ends on a sappy romantic note.

The out-of-work New York actor who turns to prostitution seems to be a common theme in vintage sleaze.  In Another Night, Another Love, it’s not a young woman this time but a 27-year-old actor typecast and finding it hard to get jobs.  Destitute, in debt, and close to homeless, he applies for a job as a “recreational director” at an upscale rural New York country club for the summer.  The job is really that of a gigilo, and he must prove himself first to the owner of the place, a heavy-set brute of a woman.  He does so.  And while there, he sleeps with all kinds of women — widows and bored wives with impoetnt husbands, all of them rich, all who tip him well.

But he develops a romance with one of the childcare girls, a 2o-year-old NYU student (the girl on the cover matches her description), and she gives her virginity to him, thinking they will get married…and then she finds out the truth about what he does at the club, and so does one of the husbands, who guns after him with fists ablaze, hitting and breaking his perfect actor’s nose…

But all ends well.  The girl forgives him, he relaizes he muts save his self-respect and stop being a whore, and the two leave the country club on the first bus back to New York City…

A fast read and aother guilty-pleasure.  This one was more like a Lifetime or TNT movie of the week…

It was reprinted as Sin a La Carte, which references one female client who has him bring her breakfast three mornings a week, along with some lovin’ spoonfulls…

Beauchamp - Sin a la Carte