No Way Back by Russell Trainer (Midwood F307, 1962)
Another great Paul Rader cover, this woman wading through stormy waters, apparently having jumped from the yacht in the background, her nipples cold and hard (what they called headlights back then on cover art).
No Way Out is an okay novel whose author is much more interesting than the book. According to a wikipedia entry, Russell Trainer was a low key criminal who wrote his first novel, The Warden‘s Wife, in 1959, and sold it to Beracon Books. And this…
Russel Trainer’s importance stems from his publication in 1965, of his most famous work, “The Lolita Complex”, which had the appearance of a serious psychological work, with an extensive bibliography of legitimate authorities, who were liberally quoted and referenced from their work. Trainer, however, had no credentials at all as a psychologist, and many authorities saw the work as a sham and the author as a charlatan. The title is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov‘s book, Lolita, in which a middle-aged man becomes sexually obsessed with a 12-year-old girl. When Trainer’s book was translated into Japanese, it triggered a movement known as Lolicon, the Japanese form of the title of the translated book.
We have ordered The Lolita Complex and will review that when it comes in, as well as some other Trainer Midwoods.
No Way Out starts with a lot of promise…Dan is on a train going home, returning from Vietnam where he was doing spy and intelligence work. He can be called back at any time, but he has been in Vietnam, the early years before things escalated, for two years, and he yearns to see his wife.
On the train he sees a young woman who looks familiar. Seems she is the daughter of a woman he once dated. He has not seen her since she was a girl in braces. Now she is a woman, and they have, after a few drinks, a quick fuck in the bathroom.
It does not matter that he has been unfaithful to his wife at home, because a mere hour before they reunite, she has sex with her lesbian lover, Rebecca, or Bobby.
His wife and Bobby have been running the family real estate business in his absence and it has been lucrative, and the two of them scheme to get Dan out, even if they have to kill him.
The novel suffers too many characters, to many sideline stories, than keeping to the main one. More development of the Vietnam stuff would have been great, we only get glimpses.
Still, enough good stuff to warrant looking at more Russell Trainer novels. He also started the sleaze paperback company Chevron Books.