Archive for July, 2010

The Sin Drifter by Alan Marshall aka Donald E. Westlake (Bedside Book #1218, 1962)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on July 31, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

So while Westlake was writing and publishing 361 for Random House, he was also doing The Sin Drifter for William Hamling after Hamling bought out Bedtime/Bedside Books.

This one is more along the funny Westlake side.  It opens with 18 year old Mike trying to fuck his fiance, Janice…he has her naked in the backseat but she won’t let him stick it in until they’re married.  This is driving him nits so he takes her, rapes her. She says she will tell her daddy and the cops. He believes her, so he high tails it out of town, joining a door-to-door crew of publicity men for a snack foods company, giving people coupons for half off, two for one, etc.

Going to strange doors in various cities across the country leads to some hilarious and strange sexual encounters, from a nynpho housewife that does a gang bang with the whole crew to a bored rich girl who plays suicide games to a couple of sisters in L.A who lure him into making a stag film.

A coming of age story, and Mike is like Odysseus as he has his adventures and then returns home, wise and weary…

A fun read, a must for Westlake fans.

361 by Donald E. Westlake (Random House, 1962)

Posted in crime noir, Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction on July 30, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Westlake published this hardboiled crime noir when he was still doing Alan Marshall duty at Nightstand and Midwood.

A simple set-up: guy gets out of Navy, goes to see his dad, someone takes out a hit on his dad, plus his brother’s wife, and leaves him in the hospital.

Getting out of the hospital, he sets out, with his brother, to find out who killed his dad and why.  Seems his dad had connections with the mob, when he was a lawyer many years back, and was told to stay out of New York or else.

This is not the “funny” Westlake many of his fans know and love.  This is ultra hardboiled, stuff, cold, stoic, noir…more Richard Stark territory.

An interesting read when compared to the stuff he was writing at the same time for the softcores…

Hard Case Crime has a recent mass market edition.

The Many Faces of John Dexter #10: Miami Call Girl by Al James (Reed Nightstand #3019, 1973)

Posted in crime noir, John Dexter, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on July 29, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

We read the 1973 Reed Nightstand edition of this one, which had the same title of an early Nightstand, a Dexter penned by Al James.

Al James generally published all his softcores under his own name, with Cornith, Midwood, Novel, etc. (we have a stack of them here, ready to get to).  He was the son of popular crime noir author Day Keene, a Harry Whittington buddy and compatriot. The crime element influenced is present in Miami Call Girl.

Mandy is a young, hot hooker who works the hotel racket with her pimp, Philip. Phillip found her in the stix, a backwoods girl doing ten dollar tricks with a bad home life and a molesting father. He took her out of the hay and put her on the beach, where she commands $100 a throw, entertaining 3-5 men a day/night.

She meets Jim, a dashing lawyer who rescues her from being “raped” twice, by a pimply teenager with hot hormones and a room full of fat ugly businessmen who want to gang bang her.

She sees Jim as her knight in shining shields, a man who will whisk her away from her sordid life as a whore. He claims he loves her and wants to marry her.  She goes for it.  So long, Miami call girl life, hello to easy life as a big time Chicago lawyer’s bride.

Or so she thinks…

Once she gets to Chicago, she finds out differently. One, Jim has never really touched her, made love to her, not even on their quick Miami wedding night. Two, he expects her to sexually service anyone who wants it, from his driver to all the mob guys he represents.

Seems he wanted a hot hooker wife for two reasons: as flesh for his mob clients to exploit, so they can trust some floozy isn’t recording them for criminal info; and as a “beard” to cover up the fact that Jim is gay, as a front for his more legitimate clients.

A quirky book, fun at times, with a too-smoothly and unbelievable ending (as if any of these books have believable endings, but you know what we mean). A B-minus and worth checking out, and well see how the other Al James titles fare…

Up the Line by Robert Silverberg (Ballantine, 1969)

Posted in Don Elliott, Robert Silverberg with tags , on July 27, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A time travel novel about incest, really, a few years out from Silverberg’s softcore days.  Like many “New Wave” SF, sex is pretty prominent than the clean SF of the 1940s-50s.

The interesting thing is that the narrator is named Judson Dan Elliott III, a nod to the Don Elliott/Dan Eliot pen name for Cornith.

The Wikipedia synopsis describes this novel best:

The story’s protagonist is Jud Elliott III, a failed Harvard history masters student in 2059. Bored with his job as a law clerk, he takes up a position with the Time Service as a Time Courier. After an introductory course, Jud shunts up and down the time line (“up the line” is travel into the past; “down the line” is forward time travel, but only to “now-time,” Jud’s present of 2059) as a guide for tourists visiting ancient and medieval Byzantium/Constantinople. Jud’s problems include not only stupid tourists, but also greedy and mentally unstable colleagues who attempt to cause various types of havoc with the past. He is forced to break the rules in order to patch things up without drawing the attention of the Time Patrol. When he meets and falls in love with the ‘marvelous transtemporal paradox called Pulcheria’ – his own multi-great grandmother – Jud succumbs to the lure of the past, creates irreparable paradoxes, and faces the inescapable clutches of the Time Patrol.

Silverberg’s narrative includes some cleverly worked out details about the problems of time-travel tourism. For example, the number of tourists who over the years wish to witness the Sermon on the Mount has increased the audience at the event from the likely dozens to hundreds and even thousands. Time-tour guides re-visiting the same event must also take care not to scan their surroundings too closely, lest they make eye contact with themselves leading another tour party.

Silverberg’s interest in the Byzantine era of Roman history is put to use with a vivid description of Constantinople during the reign of Justinian, and the Nika riots of 532.

The era that Jud Elliott originates from, 2059, seems more like 1969 with a bunch of free-loving hip cats, easy pick ups, getting stoned and having sex parties. But SF often reflects the time it is published.

A lot of interesting time paradoxes are indeed presented, mainly the changing of timelines by seriously altering the past, and the Time Cops who set things straight.

Jud falls in love with his great-great-multi-great grandmother, Pulcheria Ducas, a dark-skinned beauty who marries at age 12.  Jud has sex with her when she is 17 — seems her husband cannot give her children (and suggests that Jud may seed his own lineage down the line).

Things go awry when a pedophile gets loose in time.  A man in Jud’s tourist group to Byzantium, who has a penchant for little girls, gets his time travel belt device free for his own use and takes off; seems he winds up seducing and marrying Pulcheria at age 11-12, which makes Jud a non-person up the line in 2059, since his lineage never occurred. It is up to Jud and his fellow time couriers to fix this before the Time Cops find out.

In the process, Jud somehow duplicates himself…one of the paradoxes presented is that the couriers must avoid running into and interacting with themselves while “shunting” about.

Seems in 1990-91 there were a series of five books by other writers set in this universe, called “Robert Silverberg’s Time Tours.”

Word has it that Up the Line will soon be republished in an omnibus edition with Project Pendulum and Hawksbill Station, a book to be called 3 x Time.

Hawksbill Station is about political dissidents and criminals sentenced to live in the pre-Cambrian era, and Project Pendulum is a YA-marketed short novel about the first time travelers, a set of twins, and all the time paradoxes they encounter.

Slavemaster’s Plaything by Jocelyn Ryder (Greenleaf Classics #1250, 1969)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on July 27, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

In 1969, Greenleaf Classics (Hamling, Kemp, etc) published a fifty title series called Keyhole.  Each cover had a keyhole shape cut into it, and on the other side was a lurid illustration.

Slavemaster’s Plaything is #12 in the series, and behind the keyhole is a nubile nubian slave girl being whipped on a post.

This is a plantation story set in the south, with bad southern dialect in prose and horrible sex scenes.

A great idea for a series…an awful novel.

The problem, as I stated before with Midwood’s post 1966 books, was when the censorship laws went lax, the writing seemed to degrade.

Roadhouse Girl by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Midnight Reader #412, 1962)

Posted in crime noir, Don Elliott, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on July 26, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The first two Corniths I purchased in 2004 were from Don Elliott/Rbt Silverberg: Roadhouse Girl and Expense Account Sinners. I had yet to read these two until now.

22-year-old Roaslie Lyons in Roadhouse Girl is probably the most dull, pathetic-minded Don Elliott heroine I’ve come across.  Usually even an Elliott call girl or stripper has redeeming qualities, but Rosalie is a simpleton who lets things happen to her and is shocked when she discovers she likes rough sex.  In a way, she is Elliott’s Justine, a girl caught up in a sexual world she doesn’tr understand but still enjoys.  And like de Sade, much of the sex that happens to Rosalie is either rape or S/M.

Rosalie takes a job at a Grove City roadside hashhouse, where she makes decent tips, and has free room and board. Along somes the owner’s son, Johnny, a tough guy who has his way with all waitresses. He’s waiting in her room and rapes her…and she responds to the rape with pleasure, which confuses the girl.

His knee was working its way between her legs. She could feel the rough fabric of his trousers grinding into the soft skin of her thighs. Her ankles throbbed with pain. She thought they were going to snap.

Suddenly he brought his right hand around and tapped her on the chin. Her lower lip and upper teeth came together. She winced in pain, and tasted blood trickling out of the little cut, and in her surprise and fear she loosened the grip of her ankles, and the next moment she had her legs apart… (p. 13-14)

The same night of the rape, she accepts a date with the local wise guy, Carlton, who likes to use whips on his female partners…she responds to the whips, and likes the pain.

Carlton offers her a place to live with hm and before she leaves the roadhouse, Johnny tries to rape her again but she knees him in the nuts. Johnny vows revenge.

She soon discovers that Carlton is quite the sadist. To get even with an ex-girlfriend who left him for a Hollywood mogul, Calrton forces the ex- to perform lesbian sex on Rosalie.  Carlton also ups the ante with S/M and the toys…

But Rosalie likes living in comfort with money. One day, driving one of Carlton’s sports cars in town, she is jacked by Johnny who forces her to drive out to the country where he rapes her.

And so Carlton seeks out Johnny, and Johnny seeks out Rosalie again for revenge, and things get messy…

Another Manhunt-style story, and not too bad of a read. I’d give it a B-minus for treading similar ground as in Stripper!

The 1973 Reed Nightstand edition was called No Pleasure Too Painful and is apparently hard to find…

Dirty Harry & Paperback Parade #75

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on July 20, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Paperback Parade #75 is out and contains an article by Pete Enfantino about the Dirty Harry series of PBOs that Warner Books issued in the 1980s, penned by “Dane Hartman” (at least two writers, maybe more).

Well, I had no idea, beyond the film tie-in novels.  Being a Dirty Harry fan since I was a kid, I have to get these books, and will talk about them here when I read them…

This issue of PP also has my essay, “A Sleaze Investigation,” about the David Challon/Loren Beauchamp/Andrew Shaw/S.N. Burton thing with the same college sex club novels I talked about some months back…

Also in PP, editor Gary Lovisi gives The Trouble with Tramps a nice little review:

The Trouble with Tramps…is a hell of a fine novel. It is a neatly plotted noir in the Hitt and vintage paperback tradition. This was a blast for me to read and one I know you’ll be unable to put down. This slim 134-page paperback packs more wallop than most of the big bestseller guys writing those overly big fat books today.”

Stag Stripper by Mike Avallone (Midwood #F132, 1961)

Posted in crime noir, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on July 18, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A fast-paced Mike Avallone…Ivy Savage is a redheaded bombshell burlesque dancer with her own on the road act, making up to $700 week. Despite her exuded sex, it’s all an act, she sends money back home to help take care of her sister and sister’s kids, and she holds a flame for a young man who died in Korea, the only man she ever loved.

In Kansas City, she’s arrested for lewd public behavior and put on trial.  As the jury debates over it, we learn that the judge in the case is a sadist who beats on his wife; that the prosecutor holds a secret desire for women like Ivy, and has a black book of call girls; and that the jurors are rather biased pro and con about the art of stripping, neglecting legal boundaries.

Meanwhile, Ivy has been rejecting the advances of the local burly producer, who has mob ties. They kidnap Ivy’s young sister and give Ivy a choice: the sister gets raped and it’s filmed, or Ivy stars in the stag film for them to make money on.

Not a bad book.

The Many Faces of John Dexter #9: Stripper! by Robert Silverberg (Nightstand #1530, 1960)

Posted in crime noir, John Dexter, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Strippers and hookers, call girls and club dancers were always good fodder for softcore novels back in the day (and still are, with more hardcore tossed in).  This is one of the few Nightstand/Corniths that is a single word high concept title without SIN, LUST, or SHAME.

Stripper! is told in the female first-person voice (making one wonder why this wasn’t penned by Marlene Longman, that Silverberg used for Sin Girls): Diana DeLisle, 22, is a dancer/singer at The Pelican Club who has moved from chorus line to solo act, meaning she has to strip completely naked and sing a song.  There’s a live band. This Philadelphia strip show is actually a show, where a dancer had to do more than just gyrate on a pole as they do these days.  This is a “class act” with both men and women watching, where the woman wear elegant gowns and are only seen fully nude the last ten seconds, as a big tease.

Diana loves her work: “It excites me to take my clothes off in front of an audience. It gets me all hot. That’s why it’s so easy for me to do it I like it” (p. 9).  She’s an exhibitionist.  In my own encounters with strippers — I’ve been known to date and live with a few in other younger years — some women get into it beyond the need for money: they just like to dance, or they get off on strangers looking at their naked bodies.

One ex-girlfriend dancer told me: “I’m like a marriage therapist. I keep married people together — when these married men watch me, they get hot and horny and they go back home and fuck their wives crazy, imagining they’re fucking me. The wife’s happy, the husband’s happy, I’m happy — the world is happy.”

Another told me:  “The men are like flies and I am the spider, they’re in my web and I draw them in, and I suck their energy away.”  (For more on interviews with strippers, see my ethnographic study, Zona Norte.)

Many strippers in te U.S. will say they are not also prostitutes. Not that case wth Diana. From day one she knows she has to sleepwith the club manager, Mack, whenever he wants her; othertimes she may go home with a customer if the price is right.

In comes Johnny Lukas, big time crime and Vegas roller, who owns the seven Pelican Clubs across the nation and has his hands in a lot of illicit business, from money aundering to abortion clinics to white slavery.  He takes a liking to Diana she at the behest of Mack, she sleeps with him.  Johnny son wants to set her up as a main mistress in New York.  Mack has been vying for this, because he is plotting to murder his boss, Mr. Lukas, with the help of Diana.

Diana is to get Lukas away from his bodyguards and somewhere remote, phone Mack, and Mack will kill him…the police will think nothing because he is a mob guy with enemies, and the IRS and FBI have been investgigating him (Lukas admits to Diana he was happier as a Vegas gamber living day to day, that having money and power is more a burden than asset).

Diana has no choice…Mack will have her tortured if she doesn´t agree, and if she rats Mack out to Lukas, Lukas will have her killed for being a rat because one day she may turn on him, and she will know that Lukas had Mack killed for his scheme.  She is stuck in a Catch-22 here.

This is a good crime-sex novel, something that could have been a condensed Manhunt novella at the time, but the female narrative does not ring true, we can tell this is a man writing as a woman…but that does not really matter. Again, Silverberg told a compelling page-turning yarn in 1960.

The 1973 Reed Nightstand version is called One Bed Too Many, with an appropriate cover, and “by” Jeremy Dunn, which was the later name for John Dexter…

Call Me Bad by Orrie Hitt (Beacon Books, 1960)

Posted in Beacon Books, crime noir, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on July 14, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

After reading a slew of bad Orrie Hitt titles recently, it was good to pick up a decent one.  This is another novel centered around one of his favorite settings, a sleazy hotel where illicit crime happens, mostly prostitution.  A woman named Ma runs the hotel and several girls who live there, with the help of the elevator boy who procure customers for the girls.

One is 20 year old Sherry Jenkins, who sells her body because she was gang raped at 17 and vows all men must pay…except for this married traveling salesman she thinks she is in love with, and he has no idea what she really does.

Sherry takes care of her alcohlic father, why she does not know because he says he was never sure if he was her father.  Then her father fgets an 18 year old girl pregnant and she puts up the money for an abortion, which is botched, and the girl dies, and the police start doing a crack down, and she gets arrested…

There are some flaws in this short novel but they are minor, so it is a good read. Like many Hitt characters, the people in this book are all desperate, in pain inside, and down in the gutter…kind of a sad read.