Archive for July, 2010

Re-Issue Campus Tramp by Lawrence Block

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on July 9, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Creeping Hemlock Press will reprint Block’s first Andrew Shaw title, Campus Tramp (Nightstand Book #1505)which first introduces the fictional Clifton College in Ohio (Antioch Univ., in Ohio, where Block went to school). It was the fifth book William Hamling and Harlan Ellison published at Greenleaf.

Some characters in this one appear or are referred to in other Shaws later on, as does the Clifton setting (which pops in in some Sheldon Lords, like Older Woman and April North). We wonder if Creeping Hemlock will also re-issue these in series?

The small collector’s edition publisher is offering pre-sales of the paperback until August 1 and seems like a good deal, which will have the original cover art.  An edition with new art is coming.  They use the 1960 version, not the 1973 Reed Nightstand version, that has updated looking people:

There has been a flurry of vintage reprints — Subterranean Press did Cinderella Sims and will put out the Sheldon Lord/Alan Marshall collaborations, as well as some Don Elliotts from Silverberg. Black Mask has re-issued some Orrie Hitts.  Stark House has been busy with many, from Harry Whittington to Gil Brewer. Hard Case Crime has reprinted a couple of Block’s Beacon Sheldon Lords.

But are they the same as the real, cheaply produced little paperbacks? Certainly, many are cheaper.

We  hit the “like button” about this.

The Many Faces of John Dexter #8: Sin Psycho by Harry Whittington (Sundown Reader #512, 1964)

Posted in crime noir, Harry Whittington, John Dexter, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on July 7, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Of the few “Missing 38” I’ve read so far, Sin Psycho is the best, next to Sharing Sharon. The title is misleading, surprise there — the protagonist isn’t psycho, she’s desperate to save her family from the pit of poverty.

Ginny is a beautiful housewife who lives in the suburbs of Boston. She has two kids and a husband, Bob.  Bob, however, has been laid up sick in bed for months by an unknown illness, keeping him from his manager job at a bank.  They’re running out of money, and the bank that owns their mortgage is close to foreclosing, and the milkman can’t keep extending her credit even though her kids need to eat.  The elctricty will be turned off soon and although Bob is bed-ridden, he’s always horny…she’s cold, but when he touches her, she changes, she turns into a fiery sex-crazed naughty housewife…

But they need money and none of the jobs she’s offered will help pay enough…

Then her friend Aggie, who seems to always do well, lets her in on a secret, to help Ginny: Aggie really works for a beauty salon in Boston, but the salon is a front for a call girl service where a number of desperate housewives work out of…

And Ginny is desperate. And she does like sex. And men do find her attractive…

She’s nervous with her first client, but he’s grateful to have her because she seems to actually like the sex and have real orgasms…

Eventually she gets into the swing of things, and not only does she like the sex, and the adventure of being with strange men once or twice a day in their hotel rooms or homes, she likes the money… because she now can pay the bills, keep the bankers happy, feed and clothe her children, and have some left over to spend on herself.

She tells Bob she works at some office. When Bob gets well and goes back to work, he wants her to quit…stay home again…but she finds it hard to quit. She has become addicted to the life: the sex and money and excitement of strangeness…

One client, a rich old man, likes to pretend she is Martha, his dead wife…

Some like rough sex, and some like torture…when she gets a man who beats the hell out of her, she knows she’s gone too far, with a broken niose and swollen eye and bleeding…

And then she gets arrested by the vice cops (the cop had been one of her customers) and all goes to hell, exposed…

An interesting little story.  Whittington delves into Ginny’s psyche well, and tells of her sexual “affair” with a twenty-five year old Navy guy who rented a room from her parents, and she was ten years old. Whittington handles the pedophilia smoothly, we’re never quite sure if she had sex with the guy but we assume so, and Ginny never feels it was wrong.  All her life she has been trying to find a man just like that first lover…

Highly recommended, if you can find a copy — the Whittington Corniths are rare.

The Many Faces of John Dexter #7: The Sin Fishers by Harry Whittington (Sundown Reader #542, 1965)

Posted in crime noir, Harry Whittington, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on July 4, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This Whittington has a structure slightly influenced by Block and Hitchcock’s Psycho: you think it’s one story type but goes another way, there’s a woman on the run, and there’s a small motel with a crazy woman in it.

It opens with 26-year-old Rafe and his mother-in-law, 32-year-old Charlotte, mourning the death of Angie: his 16-year-old child bride who died pregnant.  Cahrlottle had Angie when she was 14 so she was a child-bride herself. She’s always had her desires set on yung virile Rafe and was deeply hurt he took her dautghter instead. Now that Angie is gone, perhaps she can have him?  They run a small lodgings in a fishing village in Florida; he also takes care of charter boat rides.

Rafe is not interested in loving up Charlotte — she’s an alcoholic, clingy, manic, and delusional.

In chapter three, we meet Maggie, on the run from her mobster boyfriend Harry Gildhurst, for having turned states evidence on him.  Harry and two of hi goons are hot on her trailer — he’s promised to let one goon, named Monk, rape and defile her to death.

Maggie gets a room at the lodgings.  Rafe is taken a back by how much she resembles his dead wife, Angie.  Maggie is drawn to Rafe too.  He insists Charlotte hire her as a waitress. When Cahrlotte walks in on them making whoopee one day, Charlotte plots to murder Maggie.

And one wonders if she killed her daughter too?

But when Harry and goons show up to kill Maggie, things go awary, and Charlotte gets herself killed…

A good, fast-paced little crime novel, the sex isn’t heavy but there’s enough for a Cornith.

Whittington, needing that extra $1,200 a month in the mid-60s, wrote under three pen names for Hamling/Kemp & Co: the prolific John Dexter, the ambidexterous J.X. Williams, and the exclusive Curt Coleman.

Sin Hellion by Dan Eliot aka Robert Silverberg (Ember Book #913, 1963)

Posted in crime noir, Harry Whittington, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

David Wilson told me that when he and Lynne Munroe were seeking out Harry Whittington’s “Missing 38,” that Sin Hellion by Dan Eliot was on the list of contenders.

Robert Silverberg has stated on his Yahoo Fan Group that, aside from one book he had ghosted because he couldn’t meet a deadline, that no one else but himself ever wrote under the Don Elliott/Dan Eliot byline.

Dan Eliot was a slight change that William Hamling employed for a period in 1963, probably for reasons over a legal case of censorship and obscenity (Andrew Shaw was Andrew Shole, John Dexter John Baxter, Alan Marshall was Alan Marsh, etc).

It’s easy to see why one might believe Sin Hellion is a Lost Whittington — it’s about a half-crazed woman seeking revenge, and her name is Lora (Whittington’s heroines are often Nora, Cora, Dora, etc.)  The “hero” is a bartender named Harry, and Whittington often used “Harry” in pen-named books., as a pointer to himself.  The tone is gritty helplessness and loneliness a la Whittington noir.

Harry Donalds is a loner, a lowly bartender, closing in on middle age, getting by on $79.50 a week in New York.  Opening chapter, a gorgeous young woman wanders into the bar, named Lora, with the intent of drinking herself into oblivion with her last $5.

Both concerned and on the prowl for pussy, Harry talks her into going out for a bite to eat so she can tell him her woes and cry on his shoulder. She’s grateful for the kindness.  She tells him that she was the mistress of a rich stockbroker, Roy Brochard, who had promised her he’d divorce his plump wife ad marry her.  But she gets dumped, with $5 left to her name…

She’s been walking all day in the Manhattan heat (shades of Thirst for Love come to play) and needs a shower. Can she use his?  Sure.  Ca she live with him until she gets back on her feet?  Sure.  Can she make love to him for this?  Absolutely.

For the next week, Harry lives in bliss, as Lora stays home, cleans up the place, has dinner waiting after work, and keeps him company under the sheets. He can’t believe his good luck.  All is well except for the lesbian, Carlotta, who lives a foor below and who has designs of the third way on Lora…

And he doesn’t like how Lora constantly talks about Roy and his money and their trips on his yacht and impromptu jaunts to Europe.  How can he compete with such a man?  What does she see in him and his $79.50 a week?

And then one day Harry comes home and sees a big hunting knife on the table.  What the hell?  Lora tells him she bought it to kill Roy, for what she did to him, and to stop him from ever hurting another girl — she spotted him coming out of his office and meeting a fresh blonde 2-year-old, and now she knows he goes from one girl to the other, romancing them, promising them the world, and dumping them when he gets bored.

She wants Harry to alibi her — she was at his bar the time of the murder, and she came home with him. But Harry refuses. He won;t get fried for accessory to homicide.  He tells her to either forget her murder plot or leave.

She leaves.

But she comes back a few days later.  She says she will not kill Roy, but she does. He hears about it on the news.  So now he has to alibi her, and he comes up with a good one that gets the suspicion off her.

Their next sex session gets violent.  She says she’s been bad and needs to be punished. Angry with her, Harry goes overboard, slapping and punching and basically raping her, way beyond the spanking sessions they’ve engaged in. It’s quite the sado-masochistic scene; Harry worries he hurt her too much but she says she liked it…

She was begging for it. He could see the craving in her face […] He slapped her breasts until they were red all over. He slapped her in the face. He punched her in the stomach, hard, half burying his fist. She doubled up,  gagging and retching, and he spun her around while she huddled, bringing his knees up for a swift kick at the base of he spine.

Donalds leaped at her.

“Yes lover!” she moaned, half in ecstasy and half in agony. “Yes! Yes!”

He hurt her.

He mauled her. (p. 149-50)

Not your feminist sex scene here…but the scene is vital to the changes in the characters, and explains Lora’s state of mind better.  The rest of the sex scenes, however, all feel like padding, the required scene for the genre.

She wants to marry him as a reward.  But…if she killed a man once, will she do it again?  There’s a “shocker” surprise ending but I won’t spoil it…an ending that is Whittington-esque.

A fine little novel in the Trapped and Manhunt style.