Carnal Cage by Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg) (aka Passion Trap), Reed Nightstand, 1973
Carnal Cage is a reprint of Passion Trap (same cover), Nightstand #1521 and the eighth book Silverberg did for Wm. Hamling.
Ah, another academic in trouble because of sex, not unlike Sin Professor. In this case, Jay Blackett is working on his Ph.D. in 18th Century plays and teaching low level (90A) freshman comp courses reserved for T.A.s and instructors. He’s at Columbia Univ., by the way, and much of the action takes place at his room on 114th Street, the seemingly same building in Campus Love Club, possibly the same 114th Street digs Silverberg and Harlan Ellison lived in during the mid-50s pulp fiction hey day.
Prof. Blackett has been dating another Ph.D. candidate, Susan, but she’s somewhat frigid — in fact, she is afraid of sex and always comes up with excuses to not get into intimate situations with Jay.
So Jay finds an outlet in Nancy, a “low rent” waitress in an all night diner on 115th Street (I think I know the place!). Nancy likes to get drunk and have wild sex, which is what Jay needs for release, but she is hardly the kind of girl he can bring to academic and faculty functions, or take to the opera and discuss literature with. He tries to get her to read Othello but she would rather read the true confession magazines she likes.
Nancy is possessive, and wants to see Jay a lot, maybe have a relationship. She gets drunk and verbally nasty with him, only to come back sober and apologize. She might not be bright, but she has a body he cannot resist.
Susan finds out jay has been having a girl in his room and she realzies she may lose him if she doesn’t warm up, so one day on a picnic she has some beers and they go skinny-dipping.
Nancy tells Jay about her psycho ex-boyfriend whose in the army and will be discharged soon, and wants to come find her and marry her. She says he will kill her if she says no or if he find sout she’s been with another man. Jay thinks she’s making it up for attention but the ex shows up and murders Nancy. Defending himself with a knife, Jay kills the crazy ex, more on accident, when the dumb grunt charges into the kitchen knife (a similar scene is in Suburan Sin Club).
This was a quick read. I have not yet picked up a Silverberg sleaze novel I didn’t finish; they are all entertaining, some better than others, some gems of genius and some so-so. I would give this one a B+.
Which are the As and A+s? I would say:
Thirst for Love (aka Wayward Wife)