Archive for November, 2009

Mad for Kicks by Jack Lynn (Novel Books Special, 1960)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is dubbed a “Novel Books Special” and is one of a number of Lynn;s Tokey Wedge private eye books.  Not sure which one is the first but doesn’t seem you need to start with the first, although there are references to characters and incidents from other books.

Wedge is not your typical tall, dark and handsome gumshoe.  Wedge describes himself as

five-six and one half [tall]. One hundred aned forty-seven pounds. A bundle of nerve and verve. Persuasive. Permissive. When it comes to girls, I love ’em. (p. 19)

The women he connects with often note that he’s “a little guy” or “short man.”  On the cover of Tall and Torrid, we get an idea of what he looks like:

Like the typical 1960s shamus, he gets laid often, he’s tough as rawhide, and he kills the bad guys when necessary. Which has given him somewhat a rep — in Mad for Kicks,  a man offers Wedge $5,000 to track down the man men who kidnapped nd raped his daughter, and wants Wedge to kill them. He’s heard Wedge kills but Wedge tells him he’s not a hired gun, and has only killed ijn self-defense.  Wedge takes the five grand to track the men down, but says he will turn them into the cops. Wedge’s relationship with the local cops is shaky.

Novel Books’ usual hyperbole to make the book seem more than it cam be is employed with this blurb from Men’s Digest (which was owned by Camerarts, that owned Novel):

MAD FOR KICKS outdoes LADY CHATTERLY’S LOVER and any book that you care to name for that strong stuff that you men like. Not recommended for women and children.  This NOVEL BOOK powerhouse will make you do a double-take every time you pass a beatnik.

What the book’s connection to Lady Chatterly’s Lover is unclear, as this is a private eye two-fisted tough guy yarn…

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Love Drive by Adam Snavely (Kozy #181, 1963)

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on November 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The curious thing about this Snavely novel is that the interior title page lists Orrie Hitt as the author, causing some to wonder if Snavely was a Hitt pen name:

At first, I thought this could be a Hitt book — the protagonist is a con man with a number of female lovers, but as I read more, I realized this was not Hitt, but the same author of Wine, Women and Love and The Big Flick.

So what happened here?  In the Kozy catalogue of books in the back of some of these volumes, Kozy #169 is listed as Love Drive by Orrie Hitt, yet this Love Drive is #181, with #180 listed on the back cover: Hitt’s Strip Alley (the Kozys usually had the proceeding or next title in the series on the back).

Kozy #169 is actually Hitt’s Love Slave, so seems it was all a bit of confusion on the editorial production side.  This happened often in quickie sleaze publishing — but usually the real author’s name would be on the title page, with a pen name on the cover, as Nightstand did with some John Dexters.  Bedstand Books put Harry Whittington’s name on a Shep Sheppard novel, but it seems Whittington was not Shepard.

It still happens. Blue Moon Books once ran 5,000 copies of Michael Perkin’s Burn with my name on the cover, and had to pulp the entire run and re-do it.

No other writer’s name ever appeared on my books, though, maybe because I always checked the galleys and covers for mistakes (such as misspelling my name).

Onto Love Drive

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The Big Slap in the Big Sleep

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

To continie the debate of Harlequin’s politically correct censoring and altering of reprints of their old books, and the above-board objection from readers, I wonder how Harlequins’ bright and culture-savvy editors would have “changed” Chandler’s The Big Sleep if they got their dainty little hands on the text…

Surely they would not use the above cover art from the 1950 Pocket Books edition.  As you can see, Philip Marlowe is abound to backhand a pensive blonde — is she staring at his digits in fear or waited excitement?  Does the famous private eye need domestic violence and anger management counseling?

On the back cover, in large red letters, is:



“Come on,” I said brightly. “Let’s be nice. Let’s get dressed.”

Before anyone claims I condone violence aganst women in fiction, I do not…but the point of contention here is: these PC editors have no sense of the history of noir, and the elements that make up the vintage books from the 1940s-60s.  Sure, they were sexist, mysoginistic, brutal, crass, caddy, heel-bound, with women’s sexuality often the cause for a man’s downfall — but that was the point. That’s part of the genre.

Changing such things is offensive to the genre’s roots, and to assume readers would be appalled or shocked is just plain stupid.  A disclaimer or foreword would have worked, as wel as being informative concerning the views of women some men had in books, or at least their characters did.  Just because  Marlowe feels the need to slap a dame now and then for her own good doesn’t mean Raymond Chandler did this in real life.  He was writing to the specs of his hero and the genre.

I suspect, however, that the day may come when a politicaly correct version of The Big Sleep — and any other books with offensive terms, such as the workls of Joseh Conrad, Hemingway, Faulkner and even Nancy Drew — will be “toned down” for modern day sensitivity.


Wait…what if the book has a woman slapping a man?  Does that need to be changed in some eyes, or is that “culturally acceptable”?

The Cheat by Orrie Hitt

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on November 28, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Reviewed here.

Pardon My Body by Dale Bogard (Harlequin, 1952 and 2009)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Back in them thar olden politically incorrect years of the 1940s-50s, Harlequin Books published in a lot of genres, like any other paperback house, inlcluding softcore, westerns, crime noir, etc.  Their romances were the most profitable and successful, so when things wound down in the 1970s, Harlequin went exclusive with romances, where they excel at and have the market’s lion share today.

Recently, Harlequin re-printed half a dozen of their old noir properties as a gimmick for the 60th anniversary.  This seemed pretty cool, until I read here that the oh-so-bright editors there did some “fixing” to remove “politcally incorrect” matters, eschewing integrity, albeit

our intention was to publish the stories in their original form. But once we immersed ourselves in the text, our eyes grew wide. Our jaws dropped. Social behavior—such as hitting a woman—that would be considered totally unacceptable now was quite common sixty years ago. Scenes of near rape would not sit well with a contemporary audience, we were quite convinced. We therefore decided to make small adjustments to the text, only in cases where we felt scenes or phrases would be offensive to a 2009 readership.

Are these slap-happy bitches kidding?  So I suppose it might be fine to edit out, or even re-shoot, scenes of guys smackin’ dames and dolls in The Big Sleep or  a Robert Mitchum classic?  How about The Big Valley, that S/M TV western?

Does this also include spanking?  Do no Harlequin romances contain rough sex where women like to be slapped during a hard bang, or have rape fantasies in the dark hearrt of the urban sprawl?

When I read this, Iwas sorry I picked up Pardon My Body, because I was offended by Harlequin’s assumption.

Still, I tried to give it a read and couldn’t get past four pages.  Perhaps I was poisoned at the start, or maybe they edited the good writing out, but I found the sentences dull and cliched.  I’d rather pick up a Chandler, an Orrier Hitt or a Don Elliott…unedited and true.

And this is not a true vintage reprint. It’s a rewrite of an old book, as we can assume the otherd are, since

grammar and spelling standards have changed quite a bit in sixty years. But that did entail a text edit, which we had not anticipated. AND, we had to clear those adjustments with the current copyright holders, if we had been able to locate them.

And of course, the covers: Though we used the original covers, they had to be scanned and touched up.

Touch up the art and make the books look “new,” touch up the prose so readers won’t be confused and OFFENDED. Chinks become American-Asians and “twilight women” practicing sinful dykedom become “same sex partners seeking equal civil union.”  You get the gist of what has been done here…

I’m sure the backlash Harlequin will get from true noir fans — and those who are offended by the company’s lack of honoring their true past — feedback that pretty much says: “F*%@ YOU.”

It’s how we feel here…just as, we’ll take the cover above over the cover below any day!

Sheba by Orrie Hitt

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on November 27, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Reviewed here.

Adam Coulter — Who Was He?

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on November 26, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

We haven’t gotten to Adam Coulter yet, though he hasbeen recommended by a few…

Who was he?  Real name James T. Smith.  As Coulter, he did titles for Novel, France, Boudoir, Pillow, Sabre, Brandon and PEC.

Some cool covers, anyway…

Tropic of Carla by Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1963)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I was previously impressed with Jerry M. Goff, Jr.’s Thrill Crazy and Wanton Wench! and continue to be so with Tropic of Carla.  I have been amassing all his other books for future reading.

His novels aren’t perfect by any means, and have any number of flaws that many books like these do, but there is a certain assured quality of story-telling, mixed with good manly two-fisted hardboiled-ness typical of Merit/Novel Books, that tickle my noir funny bones.

Wanton Wench! was about a sea diving bum getting into some trouble because of a rich woman; Tropic of Carla is about a pilot bum getting into trouble because of a rich woman, Carla Lopez.  The narrator, Dino Shawn, muses on it:

I had been in boxes before, but never like this.  And all because of a beautiful woman with a fantastic figure.   But what the hell? I thought. Life without beautiful women and fabulous builds wouldn’t be worth living. I had no other choice but to do General Lopez’ bidding. (p. 81)

Dino had been forced to fly a fighter plane for a small banana republic dictatrorship, a fictional Latin American country, Tammara…

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Wine, Women, and Love by Adam Snavely (Kozy Books #160, 1962)

Posted in crime noir, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

When I previously examined Adam Snavely’s The Big Flick, I was impressed and wondered who this guy was, or whose pen name it was and to date I still don’t know (I have heard Adam Coulter, but I don’t know who that is either).  “Snavely” published seven books with Kozy, the rest are Bait, 2-4 Sex, Love Drive, Pool Side Pushover, and Split Level Love. I will get to them all eventually — they are all set in Los Angeles, so that’s one clue; the writer was probably L.A.-located.

Wine, Women and Love is a subtle suspense thriller involving domestic espionage, blackmail, and a group of shady government operatives.  The protagonist is a woman in her mid to late 20s, Peggy Porter; the first chapter opens with her in bed with some drunk man, a man who is important in some way.  She has lured him to her hotel room.  Just as the clothes are off and they are in the middle of coitus, several men burst into the room and start taking photos.

The intention here: blackmail the guy.

At first you think they’re grifters targeting rich men, or private eyes, but we get the sensation — it’s never quite said, only hinted at — that Peggy works for these government agents who target certain “key” men in Los Angeles with blackmail and extortion, to make use of at a later date. The group is headed by a sleazy suit named Al Manning, who seems to be power hungry in the political arena.  Is he an operative of . Edgar Hoover?  The operation sounds like the sort of illegal doings Hoover had FBI agents do in the 1950s-70s.

Peggy isn’t an agent; she seems to be a woman with some sort of criminal entanglement,  possible conviction, and she herself is under extorted measures:  she is doing this to keep out of prison.  She’s not the only one; the group has several women working undercover to get dirt and sleaze from various people….

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John B. Thompson — Who Was He?

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on November 24, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I’ve been meaning to get to John B. Thompson for a while here, and have been amassing a number of his books.  I tried reading Male Virgin and it was a bit comical and I wasn’t in the mood — it didn’t seem bad, about a stuffy shirt college prof shown the wild ways by a wanton nymph studet. It was co-written by Jack Woodford, or from the cover of the 1950 Arco edition co-written by Thompson, although in the second and third editions from Beacon, Woodford’s name was taken off ditto on Trapped by Orrie Hitt, co-written with Woodford as Lease in hardcover).

Apparently Woodford had a number of “students” that he “trained” to write in the Jack Woodford style, specifically for The Woodford Press.  Thompson did quite a few with Woodford, as did a number of other writers.  Looks to me that they took an outline or unfinished manuscript of Woodford’s and finished/fleshed them out.  I don’t know Woodford’s work much but from what I have seen, seems to be on the comical and whimsy wide of softcore.  While Woodford seems to have dominated that market in the 1940s-50s, his type of softcore did not bode well in the 1960s boom.

On the back cover of Kiss or Kill, it’s stated that Thompson

was born on a large Louisiana plantation, spending his childhood and early manhood in the woods and bayous of this lush land…Thompson became a writer the hard way, having studied engineering at college. He says, “I flunked dismally and I’d glad I did.  The cold logic of the side rule was a little offensive.”

Indeed, seems many of his books have a southern, swampy setting and feel…