The Sex Peddlers – Clyde Allison (Midwood #73, 1961)
William Knoles was also writing as Clyde Allison for Midwood Books as wel as Nightstand/Cornith/Greenleaf.
This is my second Allison/Knoles and I am pleased to say it’s a wonderful, humorous, and mature read. If Knoles had not written this as an assignment from Scott Meredith to provide books for Midwood, I am sure he could have sold thus to a more upscale paperback house like Avon or Pocket or Dell.
This one is about the scummy side of the publicity racket in Hollywood filmmaking. Roy King, the narrator, is a pure self-made man — a hood from the wrong side of Brooklyn, he took speech lessons from a Shakespearean thespian so he could speak with a slight British accent and claim he went to Oxford and it rubbed off. With a fake resume and fake letters of recommendation from England, he slides his way into the Madison Avenue game.
The company he works for wants to go Hollywood and buys a small PR firm in L.A. Roy and another guy are sent out to assess the company’s clients and determine what is good and what is bad and what they can fly with.
The major project is a cheesy low budget SF flcik called Amazons from Space, filled with barely-clad day players and extras, women who get completely naked after hours and provide Roy and his cohort plenty of women to paw.
Roy get entangled with two women: an ambitious actress who will sleep with any man who can advance her career, and his young nerdry secretary who looks like a model out of her clothes and glasses.
Roy comes up with all sorts of lies and tricks to get Amazons from Space noticed by the press, and he will stop at nothing to backstab and destroy anyone is his way to success.
Knoles knew the film business well — his family was in it and he was a Hollywood denizen with a slight British accent for his time in England. Thus it has a ring of truth, and is one hell of a read. Highly recommended, and I look forward to more Clyde Allison novels.
This entry was posted on February 18, 2010 at 4:25 am and is filed under Midwood Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags ad men, Mad Men, Madison Avenue. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.