Archive for August, 2010

The Baby-Sitter by Vin Fields (Midwood #F342, 1964)

Posted in Midwood Books, Paul Rader, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Another ultra sexy Paul Rader cover!

Vin Fields was a pen name used by Irving A. Greenfield, for a handful of Midwoods and Beacons.  Greenfield wrote men’s action and military paperbacks for Zebra, Manor, Signet, Dell, etc.

The Baby-Sitter is an engaging, well-written short novel (about 40K words) about a Madison Avenue ad man, Cliff Morton, who has a lot of troubles and problems: his wife has gone frigid and she knows about his tom-catting around; he’s about to lose some accounts and a large one is uncertain; the boss has moral issues with his providing call girls to potential clients; and he has started to have a thing for his jailbait baby-sitter, Charna,  a little sex kitten that could be the end of him.

Charna is in the background of the novel until the end really; much of the story deals with Cliff’s jumbling business around, and sleeping with a female account exec who is trying to talk him into breaking off and starting a new agency, stealing accounts in the process.  We can feel Cliff’s Mad Man tension and who can blame him for needing a lot of sexual relief, the kind his wife won’t give him but what he can get from a blond, tanned teenage girl.

Then he fucks up and fucks up bad when he talks Charna into sleeping with a man who can get a potential account with a bra company, and the thing is, Charna’s uncle, who raised her, is a cop…

The ending is quite different from your usual sleaze or Midwood fair…

We will definitely read more Vin Fields.

Our Flesh was Cheap by Eve Linkletter (Fabian Books #Z-128, 1959)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

In Taxi Dancers, Eve Linkletter wrote about a young lady’s desperation in the Big Apple, taking a job in a taxi dance hall. In Our Flesh was Cheap, Linkletter writes about a desperate young girl in Tijuana who sells her body and is abused by her pimp.

The narration is first-person, told by Rosa Sanchez, 18 years old, who has worked as a “crib girl” since she was 16.  A crib in vintage Tijuana hooker lino is a brothel, similar to old red light brothels where the prostitutes sat by windows and/or kept a red light on in their room, announcing availability.

The book opens with Rosa working a cantina because the cribs are closed over some articles written by an American reporter over an incident with some American teenagers, so the local authorities are worried about decline in tourist trade. This still happens — whenever there’s negative news about the clubs or sex trade district, curfews and early closing times are imposed, or the streets cleaned up, which only lasts for a few weeks until things go back to normal.  For instance, in Tijuana’s Zona Norte, one used to be able to find underage streetwalkers, but all the negative press and pressure by religious and human rights groups, underage hookers can only be found in certain brothels that do not advertise, you have to know where to look; and the young-looking streetwalkers, although they look 15-18, will tell you they are 20.  The age of consent in Mexico is 12, but supposedly a girl has to be 18 to work the streets or bars, and they all carry health cards, which Rosa does in this marvelously written short novel…

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Taxi Dancers by Eve Linkletter (Fabian Books Z120, 1958)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Who was Eve Linkletter? We cannot seem to find any info on her and if anyone knows, please do drop a line.

It does not seem she was a man writing under a female pen name.  One, Taxi Dancers has a womanly touch and understanding to it; two, other Fabian titles she did, Our Flesh was Cheap and The Gay Ones, sports back cover photos of the author, an attractive woman, so we see Fabian leading the way of author looks marketing before the NY trade houses did, starting with Truman Capote’s first novel…

Little has been written, in fiction and non-fiction, about the curious early 20th Century occupation of taxi dancing, the precursor of stripping and lap dancing.  According to a wikipedia entry, the taxi-dance hall

is a uniquely American institution that was first introduced in 1913 within San Francisco’s Barbary Coast neighborhood. At that time reform movements were shutting down many bordellos and red-light districts within America’s cities, and strength for Prohibition was gaining. In 1920, when the taxi-dance halls began to enter their steep upward climb to popularity, Prohibition was enacted and made serving alcohol in saloons, bars, and cafes illegal. The taxi-dance hall’s roots can be traced to a number of earlier dance establishments.

There was an early Chicago School of New Sociology study, Paul Cressey’s The Taxi-Dance Hall, started in 1925 and published in 1938, and June Miller worked as a taxi dancer, that Henry Miller wrote of in various books, most notably Sexus. At the end of Last Tango in Paris, we see Marlon Brando at a taxi dance palace (hence the double meaning of the title). In my ethnography, Zona Norte, I discuss the evolution of taxi dancing, and while it is no longer something you can find (in old form) in the U.S., it is still common in Mexixo, where women dance for a dollar or ten pesos per song, and get drinks and tips too.  (NOTE…Borgo Press will soon release a cheaper paperback edition of my dissertation on sex workers in Tijuana and San Diego.)

In Taxi Dancer, women get ten tickets per song, each ticket costing ten cents…they can also get drinks at the bar, and they can get tips from men.  Some meet the men outside the dance palace. The book mainly revolves around young Linda, who went to New York as a high school theatre star, knowing she would take Broadway by storm, and soon destitute and desperate for work…so like many young women in that era, being a call girl, streetwalker, or taxi dancer were quick options.  She is naive about what happens and what is expected at such an establishment.  She is lured in with the promise of making 100 bucks a week, which turns out to really be more like 30 or 50, unless she is willing to sell her body…

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Pirate Wench by Frank Shay (Pyramid Giant Books, 1953)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on August 13, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

No review…we just like te cover!

No Way Back by Russell Trainer (Midwood F307, 1962)

Posted in Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on August 12, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

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 Wardens 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.

Lawrence Block Seeks Lost Pulp Sleaze Novel

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Beacon Books, crime noir, Lawrence Block, Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on August 12, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Great essay online by Lawrence Block.

Morals Charge by Paul Hunter (Midwood F101, 1961)

Posted in Midwood Books, Paul Rader, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on August 10, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This one sports one of my favorite Paul Rader covers.  It’s unknown who “Paul Hunter” is/was, a one-shot pen name never used again by Midwood.  It’s well-written.

Like Jodie in The Disciplined Daughter below, Nancy in Morals Charge is a constant victim of circumstance and her own sexual appeal.  The 18-year-old girl lives at home, a horrible home where her alcoholic, lazy mother steals the money she makes at a clerk job, even though she gives her mother half her pay; she’s been saving so she can leave home, maybe go to Hollywood or somewhere.  And then there is her equally alcoholic, fat mother’s boyfriend Frank, who is convinced Nancy is a floozy on the side, the way she dreses sometimes.

One day Nancy crosses paths with an old high school friend, Candy, who has nice clothes and seems to be doing well in New York.  Candy invites Nancy to a party her “boss” is throwing, and tells Nancy to dress sexy. Nancy meets the boss, Howie Mann, who runs illegal gambling parlors out of ritzy hotels — he’s a big powerful man connected to the mob and local politicians, and has girls on his crew…not exactly hookers, they are there as “shills” (playing tables with house money to lure men)…a girl in Howie’s crew can leave with a customer and make extra money, and it’s expected, Howie wants them to come back and blow their money.  Sometimes Howie requires his girls to sleep with VIPs…

Howie seduces Nancy that night and takes her virginity. She thinks there could be a romance but  he was testng her out, breaking her in.  He also gives her $50. She gets home late and her mother and Frank yell at her. They find the $50 and figure she’s hooking, and Frank decides he will pimp her out. Frank knocks out the mother and rapes Nancy, just two hours from her having lost her cherry to Howie.

Nancy leaves home and moves in with Candy and works for Howie. At first she doesn’t like having to be nice and fuck ugly old men with money, and Howie lays down the law. He has a sadistic woman who runs the girls, Jane, and an equally sadistic goon named “Fingers” who knows torture techniques by just using his fingers.  Nancy has a choice of the lesser two evils, at home being raped and pimped by Frank who takes her money, or in the city where she’s pimped out but makes money. She soon falls into the groove of being used for her body, but at least she’s making good money.

Frank tracks her down one day and breaks into her apartment and demands $1000, and that he will be her new pimp.  She gets Howie and his goons to work Frank over. Sweet revenge on the drunk fat fuck.

One night she gets arrested in a hotel with one of Howie’s VIPs. Since she’s not being paid, it’s not an actual “morals charge” for hooking, but the cops frame her with a bogus $50 payment.  Three of the four cops want to gang rape her but the third cop, a straight arrow, intervenes.  This cop also tells her she’s just a pawn to get at someone bigger. Here the cops make her a victim by depriving her of her rights for a phone call and lawyer, by physically  beating her up in interrogation.  But Nancy knows they want Howie so she doesn’t talk. Later, a lawyer tells her that the D.A. is after one of Howie’s friends in political office, and if she keeps mum all is well although she will have to take the fall and do some time to appease the D.A. who is pissed her arrest was botched.

An interesting novel that, while trash pulp fiction, does reflect a time in America where the rights of women, even though prostitutes, were trampled on without repercussion, and where physical force was par for the course during third degree questioning (although some will claim that still goes on, just look at Abu Gahrib).  Poor Nancy is just abused everywhere she goes — at home, at work, by the system. In jail and prison, she meets street hookers as young as nine, heroin addicts, thieves and lesbians.

A good read, and good  to own for the cover alone. In the next week or two, we want to to focus on vintage books with Issac Paul Rader covers…

The Disciplined Daughter by Kipp Cameron (Dansk Blue #BB-179, 1972)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on August 9, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The ebook version of this novel is available for a cheap download here.

Jodie Hamilton is a 17-year-old Beverly Hills high school student who has a bad night at the prom — Tony the Latino lover tried to rape her, ripped her dress, chewed on her nipples, but she gets away…and she has to walk home, so she gets in late.

Her father has been waiting up for her.  Seeing her ripped dress and the teeth marks on her nipples, he assumes she’s been whoring around “with that Mexican” rather than listening to her story of being sexually assaulted; he proceeds to whip her breasts with his belt, creating welts that erase the teeth marks, and then giving her bottom a good beating. When she asks her Daddy why he’s doing this, he says, “Because you’re an icon to me, of what a pure and clean girl should be.”  He then checks her between the legs to make sure she’s still “cherry.”

Poor Jodie has been victimized twice in one day. She calls Uncle Dick, her hippy uncle in Hollywood, to tell him about it. He says, “Get over here now.”  Jodie has held secret sexual longings for her outcast uncle since she was a little girl, having fantasies that he would molest her.  The Beverly Hills Hamiltons have written him off as a nutcase who spews poetry and wears his hair long and smokes reefer madness…

So she goes to live with the appropriately named Uncle Dick and soon has many incestuous and adventurous sexual experiences, opening her up to a whole new world of free love…quite similar to Terry Southern’s Candy, who runs away from home because of an abusive father and has a series of coming-of-age sexual adventures.

But Candy was satire, a bite at 1960s conformity and mores. The Disciplined Daughter is just crass 1970s smut. There are some insightful passages here and there, but for the most part it’s junk. And yet entertaining junk nonetheless.

The funniest part is, like many of these books, has a faux medical and social redeemed foreword — this was to keep the obscenity lawsuits away, to declare that the lurid story has a moral, psychological, and social value to it.

Recommended: Sand’s Game by Ennis Willie (Ramble House, 2010)

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on August 8, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Over the years there has been talk of this publisher or that reissuing the Ennis Willie books. We figured Stark House would step up to the plate, and maybe they still will, but Ramble House has just released this fine ditty, with two Sand novels (or “Shockers,”  which always tended be be short, about 25-30K words), a handful of stories, an interview with the author, and commentary from Max Alan Collins, Waynde Dundee, James Reasoner, Bill Pronzini, et al., about an author who influenced many and was published almost in a void by Merit Books (Camerarts).

Les Floozies by Loren Beauchamp aka ??? (Ron-San Corp/PAD Library #504, 1965)

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on August 5, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is the last of the Loren Beauchamp books. On reading the first chapter, I wasn’t sure if this was actually penned by Silverberg, as the writing is choppy and dialogue pretty bad.  But Les Floozies is listed in the bibliography on the Quasi-Official Robert Silverberg website.

Some other chapters do have that Silverberg feel, and others do not. Erratic. Was this one co-written with another writer, perhaps?  Or badly edited.  There are only eleven chapters, instead of Silverberg’s usual 12-14 for his softcores, and Chapter Ten is only four pages and feels cut.  In fact, the ending seems rushed, the typesetting uneven with large spaces between paragraphs in some chapters and tight typesetting in others — sloppy methods of getting a book to a certain page count, 192 here, but this looks more like 40,000 words of text instead of the typical 50K.

But wait — when I sent a link of an earlier version of this post to the Rbt Silverberg Yahoo Fan Page, Mr. Silverberg replied, “I didn’t write this book. I know nothing about it. It doesn’t belong in any bibliography of my work.”

So seems the publisher decided to use the pen name.  These pen names were not trademarks, after all.

The Beauchamp pen name was generally for Midwood, with one for Boudoir, The Wife Traders, although that was a truncated version of Suburban Sin Club by David Challon.

Ron-San Corp/PAD Library in Arizona was an off-shoot from Greenleaf/Cornith, created by former employees of William Hamling’s.  Did they buy this manuscript off Greenleaf or Silverberg and then butchered it?  It seems so.

The bad opening chapter reveals a guy, Romero, driving a hot rod with two girls fighting for his loving attention:  Linda Lou and Chastity. It’s hard to figure out what’s going on and why these people are together, other than they are a threesome of some sort.

Then we jump back in time and learn that Linda Lou is  a backwoods hussy from the south who runs away from home with a trucker, who lets her off in some Ohio town with brothels for her to work in.

Chastity is a society debutante from a family going back to the Mayflower; but when she gets pregnant and an abortion is needed, her wealthy uptight parents disown her.  She winds up getting a ride with the same trucker, but she goes to work in an upscale cal girl service in Manhattan to make ends meet.

Romero is 20, kinda dumb, but wants to be a pimp.  He learns the sex trade by working in a brothel and later running girls on the convention circuit for $100 a toss rather than $15 tricks in the whorehouse or $25 with call girl services.  Eventually, Linda Lou and Chastity go to work for him and both fall in love with him and fight for his approval and touch, each having their own nights with him if they are not with a john.

It’s not convincing, and Romero is so dull we wonder why the hell any woman, let alone a floozy, would fall so hard for him.

Unfortunately, this is the weakest of all the Beauchamps or any Silverberg softcore pen name, seemingly a victim of bad editing and slicing and adding.

The cover art, however, is excellent, and the book itself is quite rare and hard to locate and pricey if a copy is found.  We paid some bucks just to complete the Loren Beauchamp collection here at The Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks Library.