Archive for September, 2009

The Widow by Orrie Hitt

Posted in crime noir, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on September 20, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

hitt - widow Reviewed here.

You’ll Die Next! by Harry Whittington (Ace Double, 1954)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

whittington - youll die next 2

Previously, I had talked about Harry Whittington’s first Nightstand novel, Lust Farm.  He wrote 39 for Hamling, listed by Lynn Munroe over here.

He also wrote softcores for Bedstand under his name and as Shepard, and nurse novels under a female pen name and even his own name, like The Young Nurses. Westerns, movie tie-ins, Man from UNCLE books, Whittington wrote anything for a buck — a true hack’s hack.

Whittington - Naked Lust

Whittington - Prodigal Nurse

I had heard about how wild and good You’ll Die Next! is, so I pciked up the old Ace Double and read it in an hour — it’s that short (c. 35K words) and fast-paced.  At the time I’m sure this was crazy crime fiction; today’s it’s ho-hum and has some major plot problems, but it is a fun read if you like that “common man with his back against the wall, let’s see how he squirms out of it” genre.

whittington - you'll die next ace double

Henry Wilson is an average guy, not that good-looking, semi-tough buy not hardboiled, with a sixty-five-dollar-a-week job at the V.A., and married to bombshell Lila, a former club singer and gangster moll (or so it seems).  He has no idea why she loves him or wanted to marry him — cowlick and big ears and all, but he’s grateful. They have a common suburban home and a quiet life, the marriage six months old.

One idyll morning a thug knocks on the door and beats him up and sas more is coming.  He gets a threatening letter from someone named Sammy.  He goes to work and finds out the VA thinks he served prison time in California and ask for his resignation or else face fraud charges for lying on his job application.

He thinks this may have to do with his wife’s previous life among the criminal types, that someone is jealous of their marriage.  He comes home and his wife is gone.  He knows someone was there, though.  He leaves.  His wife is assaulted and in the hospital and the cops think he beat her up.  The cops chase him down and one cop accidentally shoots another and they blame it on him.

Henry is a man on the run, trying to clear his name, with a blind fellow, whose eyes were burned out by acid, wanting revenge for something he did not do: steal money from the syndicate and take off with the woman the blind man, Sammy, was in love with.

He’s being set-up all right, in an almost implausible manner, but it’s still fun to read. The ending is predictable as hell.

Next Whittingon to read: Desire in the Dust, Fires That Destroy, and Blood Lust Orgy.

Whittington - Fires That Destroy

Dexter - Blood Lust Orgy - Whittington

Whittington - Desire in the Dust

The Peeper by Orrie Hitt

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on September 19, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Hitt -- PeeperReviewed here.

The Passionate Professor by Brian Black

Posted in Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on September 17, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Black --Passionate Prof

A disappointment, especially when I was curious about Brian Black and his books.  I couldn’t get past page 50.  It was trying to be cute, about the academic trysts between profs, grad students, and undergrads, but there were too many character shifts and it tried too hard to be a comedy.

Sin Professor by Frank Peters (Bedside Books #1225)

Posted in Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Sin Prof

Frank Peters is quite an obvious pen name.  As I was reading, the style seemed familar…then a character named Anton Plotnik showed up…but this was not Art Plotnik, it’s Hal Dresner (aka Don Holliday) — it has Dresner’s whacky, playful style throughout.

Makes sense since Nightstand and Hamling purchased Bedstand in 1961, and after book # 1201 (Don Elliott’s Woman Chaser) many Bedstands were penned by Nightstand writers.

The sin prof is Boris Marholt, libertine English teacher, philopsher, and roustabout who has devised the theory of The Whole Man: a man who does as he pleases, takes as he pleases (women, wine, song) without a care for society, decorum, or the law.

He’s been fired from his teaching post for growing his beard long and shaggy.  Seems the university has an anti-beatnik policy, and no men can wear long beards. A student, Anton Plotnik, had previously been expelled.

Boris refuses to shave his beard. He leaves, but before he goes, he whisks off with an 18-year old student, Lydia, who was tormenting him in class with her mini-skirts, flashing him in class.  She falls for him, but can’t go to New York City with him until the semester ends.

Boris heads to Manhattan to look up his ex-girlfriend, Lisa, whom he lived with before.  She’s not home so he breaks in and helps himself to her scotch.  When she comes home with a man, Boris frigtens the man off and Lisa finds this delightful. They rush to bed. She says he can move back in with her.

Boris wreaks havoc across the city, picking fights in bars, picking up women in the streets, sleeping with his friends’ wives, and getting his heart broken by a vixen named Rosemarie.

Then Lydia shows up…he is living with a woman, having several affairs, and now he has this lovelorn teenage hottie to contend with…

A crazy, short and fun novel about a man spiraling downward after losing his job and his way, living in denial and masking his fear in a nutty philosophy of life…when in the end, Boris is just a loser who needs a good woman to steet him right.

The Mark of a Man by Max Collier (Midwood Books, 1963)

Posted in Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Collier - Mark of a Man

It’s always a joy to sit down and read a “sleaze” novel and discover a gem of literature.  Max Collier’s The Mark of a Man is just that (reprinted in 1966 as Cathy Came First, a dumb title). Collier - cathy Came First

I have no idea who Max Collier is — probably a pen name, but I cannot find any information on him. If anyone out there knows, please tell me on this blog.

Collier wrote a hanful of books for Midwood, and one for Newstand, Sherri.  He may have written more under other names.  In his introduction to Lawrence’s Block’s Cinderella Sims (aka $20 Lust from Nightstand), Ed Gorman writes:

I read a lot of Midwood and Beacon and Nightstand novels […] I quickly came to realize that some of the writers were much better than others.  Max Collier, for example, wrote some of the most perverse books I’ve ever read.  As I remember them, he frequently paired up his bitter hunchbacked heroes with heiresses […]  Orrie Hitt sometimes got too perverse for my tastes but usually supplied a kind of second-rate James T. Farrell-like blue collar take on the standard “sexy” plots.

The Mark of a Man is a coming-of-age, sexual-awakening story of 17-year old Paul, son of Polish immigrants, in an unnamed town in America where there is a mill and shabby streets. Paul runs with a gang — they roll drunks, steal car parts, and beat people up for kicks.  Paul has a spark to better himself, though.

He gets a job as a telegram messenger.  The first chapter opens with him delivering a message to an attractive older woman but it’s a ruse.  Her husband is there. He wants to watch Paul make love to her.  Paul gives in, and as he has sex with the woman, she holds her husband’s hand.

This is all strange for virgin Paul.  Who are these weird people?  Why did they want that?  He goes back to find out. The woman is alone. She says she loves her husband but he is unable to make love to her “like a man” so they do these things…

It’s a powerul chapter: both sexy and sad and strange.

Then comes Cathy, the town nymphomaniac, a girl who likes to invite a group of boys up when her mom is gone and have sex with them all as they watch each other.  Paul observes this and doesn’t understand this girl — why does she do this?

Paul is an ideal romantic — he believes in love, marriage, kids, normalcy, and he’s surrounded by freaks.

He next meets Kit, a 24-year-old bohemian scholar and artist.  Her father is also a bohemian and they hang around a group of odd artist, writers, painters, philosophers, who all believe in free love and free will and impulse.

Paul falls in love with Kit and wants to marry her. She says she will live with him, but because of her parents’ awful divorce, she does not believe in marriage.  She tries to get Paul to accept her bohemian lifestyle and ideas, but he doesn’t understand them.

He decides to quit school and get a job in the mill, where his father has broken his back for 25 years.  Kit hates the working class element and sys she will break up with him if he does. She wants Paul to finish school, go to college, “because you have so much potential.”  He’s stubborn: he thinks he can work for a short time, save money, and they can leave the town and be married.

His parents aren’t happy, either. They want him to have a better life than a mere mill-worker.

At the mill, Paul befriens Walt, a happy-go-lucky guy who lives for ork, booze and sex.  They have fun.  Paul takes Kit to a dance hall and she has fun but still finds the working class envirnment detestable.

We know tragedy is coming: someone will die at the mill, the love between Paul and Kit will wane, and Paul will come full circle in his education and get the hell out of Dodge…

The book reads somewhat autobiographically; sex scenes aside, this novel has suffered by being a Midwood book and packaged as sleave, even with the cool Paul Rader cover.  This book could have been published by a mainstream house and found a better audience.

So: who the hell is Max Collier?

I will discuss more of his books later…

Collier His to Command

Collier - Male Call

Collier - Test of Love

Recommended: Splendor in the Dorm Room by Sandra Boise

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

splendor

Olympia Press has published a nifty lesbian D/s novella, Splendor in the Dorm Room by Sandra Boise.

Recommneded.

Kindle here.

Cool Cover from Novel Books!

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on September 15, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Novel Books - Don't Touch My Broad

Novel Books - Torrid Wenchesnovel Books - Farmer's Other Daughter

Novel Books - Warped DesiresNovel Books - Golden HussyNovel Books - Mad for Kicks

Novel Books - Swamp Lust

willie - WarpedAmbitionsLrg72

Male Lover by Orrie Hitt (Gaslight Books, 1964)

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on September 15, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Hitt- Male Lover 2Reviewed here.

The Many Faces of John Dexter 0.5: The Bra Peddlers by Robert Silverberg (Nightstand Books #1568)

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Dexter - Bra Peddlers

When Robert Silverberg wasn’t Don Elliott at Nightstand, he was sometimes John Dexter, like every other writer in William Hamling’s stable was at one point or another.  People must have thought Dexter — like Don Pendelton  or Ellery Queen — was the most prolific pulp writer in the galaxy.

While Joan Ellis’ Gay Scene had bra models, The Bra Peddlers is about Madison Avenue ad men scheming to sell a new product from Venus Bras: the Up-Cup, a falsie bra that will make flat-chested woman rise, or women who are too big squished down to conventional, less “cow-ish” size.  The material, when touched with clothes over, will fool any person that it’s a real breast — they even have nipples!

Ted Griffen gets the account, moved from sporting goods — it’s a big promotion, and he’s in line to take over the company when the Boss retires, or keels over.  Thing is, he soon finds out that part of the unspoken deal is that Ted’s wife will sleep with the Boss whenever he feels the urge.  Seduced by big money and a future mansion, Ted and his wife, Hazel, agree to this, much to Hazel’s dismay.  But she fears her husband may get fired if she says no, and she does want a better life for her kids.  This is a common softcore theme: women sleeps with the boss or clients so better her husband’s job position…one of Silverberg’s Mark Ryan books, Company Girl, is about this, which I will get to next month, I hope…

Ryan - Company GirlBesides, she has cheated on Ted and he knows…she doesn’t know that he has regular extra-marital sex: there’s his secretary, who comes in and lays on the couch when he needs it…Ted justifies sex this way: with his wife, it’s about ten years of marriage and love; the secretary is just for tension release in his high-tension job.

There’s the occasional woman here and there, too, like one of the senior copywriters, now on the Up-Cup account, who wants to re-kindle an affair that ended three years ago.  Ted has no interest, so this woman sets out to destroy him.

Another copyrighter, a 26-year-old “frigid virgin,”  breaks down at the Christmas party after too much booze, wondering what is wrong with her, why he goes frigid whenever a man tries to make her.  Plus, she feels digusted by the whole advertising biz and the lies they push on the public.  All she wants is to be a houswife and mother, but how will she ever get a husband and have kids when she is afraid to try sex, or has no desire for it?

Ted, drunk too, says he will de-flower her in his office for her own good.  At frst she resists but then gives in, and feels disgusted after.  Over the holiday weekend, she commits suicide.

There seem to be a lot of suicides (Sin Servant, Convention Girl) or attempted suicides (Connie, Unwilling Sinner, Party Girl)  in Silverberg’s softcores, not unlike the suicide in Thorns and other SF works.

The Bra Peddlers is not as good as his other Mad Ad men novel, Woman Chaser, reviewed here, but it is a good, very swift read. I got through it during the one and a half hour train ride to Tijuana. Like Woman Chaser and Orrie Hitt’s Tell Them Anything, reviewed here, these books all read like epsiodes of AMC’s Tv show, Mad Men.

After the suicide of the copywriter, Ted does start to garner a conscience and guilt…and when a lab report comes back that indicates the material in the Up-Cup may cause breast cancer, he decides not to bury the info — but Venus Bras and his Boss do: they are willing to take the chance of harming women in favor of the revenue the product will bring in.

Yep, Ted loses his job. He doesn’t care.  He goes home.  His wife thinks he was fired because sh erefused to sleep with the boss anymore, but he tells her otherwise.  They decide to give their marriage a second go without the temptations of money and material things.

The 1973 Reed Nightstand reprint is The Venus Affair by Jeremy Dunn (John Dexter’s 70s name).

Nightstand - Venus Affair