Archive for February, 2012

Bad Boy – Jim Thompson (Lion Books, 1955)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on February 27, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Here is a case of the pulp writer slipping “something else” onto the book racks simply on name value. Bad Boy isn’t a novel but a series of interlinked autobiographical vignettes…today we would call it a collection of creative non-fiction or flash memoir. Thompson offers anecdotes about his childhood, his restless father who could never decide on what to be (lawyer, oil man, insurance agent, realtor, lender), his three-year stint as a bellboy, which led to looks like Now and on Earth and A Swell-Looking Babe; a stay in a sanitorium to dry out, leading to The Alcoholics; a bizarre encounter with a smiling but psychotic sheriff who told a young Thompson he could kill Thompson and no one would ever know or care, leading to The Killer Inside Me and Pop. 1240…tales of odd jobs and odd men in the Depression era; working as a junior and senior reporter; writing stetckes and stories and then novels; hunger, desperation, and so on.

According to the Thompson bio, Savage Art, he would later mine the chapters in this book and re-write them as stories and articles for magazines when he needed a few bucks.

A must-read for Thompson fans…if you are not into is work, you might not appreciate the memoir of it all.

Sweet Smell of Lust – Arnold Marmor (Intimate Books/Art Enterprises, 1962)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on February 4, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This one is from Art Enterprises, a shady Hollywood outfit that published some cheap little books under a variety of imprints, later investigated by the feds for money laundering and mob connections with a corpoate board made up of people who were dead or retirement homes and had no idea they were officers of some questionable southern California sleaze publisher.  (Apparently, Art Enterprises took over Midwood in the late 60s/70s in leiu of the debt Harry Shorten had incurred with mob types.)

Fittingly, this Marmor is set in Hollywood and has a similar feel to McCoy’s I Should Have Stayed Home: the petty rich and poor players of the movie industry, women using sex to get ahead, jealousies, games, strategies, art as commercial commodity.

This is a multi-character story and the problem, with Marmor’s short, snappy chapters, is you got lost in who is who, who is doing who, and what is going on.  But the basic story is: Nancy Pulver, a one-time famous 38 year old actress, is vying for the lead role in a ne film based on a bestseller, only the lead calls for a woman in her early 20s…Kitty is the young starlet up for the part, and she has been sleeping her way up the ladder…Gertie is the screenwriter and a die hard lesbian after any girl flesh in Hollywood…but before Kitty can get the part, she has to do a strip show at the director’s wild Hollywood party, plus sleep with Gertie…Kitty feels like a whore but she will do what it takes to get what she wants, but not if Nancy does something to destroy her.

There are other characters and other games, like taking down the studio head by framing his wife in a sex scandal, but the other storyline is the main meat.

Not bad, nothing great…another fun read…three of the chapters include sexy illustrations, something a little different.