Early Lawrence Block is always a mixed bag of good and not-so-good, such as some of the very early Nightstands. Midwood published Block’s first book as a Sheldon Lord, Carla [Midwood #7, 1958] (later reprinted as Puta), although his first sale was the Lesley Evans lesbian novel, Strange Are the Ways of Love, for Fawcett Crest, 1959. Seems Midwood had less turnaround time from manuscript sale to publication.
Bock excelled in the lesbian themed novels as Sheldon Lord, some Andrew Shaws, and as Jill Emerson, who went from sleaze paperbacks to several mainstream novels with Putnam in the 1970s. Many critics were convinced that Jill Emerson was actually a woman, and has been included in some lesbian pulp fiction anthologies without a mention that Emerson is really a man. Block was more convincing a female writer than Silverberg.
So Block continued to write more books for Midwood, most lesbian themed works, and one he collaborated with Donald Westlake, Of Shame and Joy.
Candy is considered a lesbian novel, or a novel with lesbian sex going on…an instance where the woman, Candy, leaves the narrator for what a wealthy Park Avenue lesbian has to offer a sexy girl from the backwoods of America.
Candy is also one of Block’s finest Sheldon Lord books and early works, better than April North, better than the Sheldon Lords that Hard Case published. His early Nightstands were about college kids and young sexuality, and then he started to move toward crime noir/erotica, like Shame Dame as John Dexter.
In one typical Block line, he has a character reading a book by Alan Marshall (Westlake), with one hand in his pocket…
Jeff Flanders is 34 and works at a finance company that gives personal loans with a high rate of interest. They are basically legal loan sharks without the leg breakers.
One day a sexpot 19-year-old blonde from the sticks, now in the big city, wanders into the finance company looking to borrow $1000. She has no job, is new in New York, and no credit or collateral, but she figures her looks and sexuality will get her the loan. She suggests Jeff co-sign her loan and in exchange he can have sex with her….