Archive for the Andrew Shaw Category

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.

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 Sadist – Andrew Shaw aka Lawrence Block (Nightstand #1629, 1962)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, crime noir, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on June 17, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Block wrote, as far as I know, two Corniths featuring ice man Jack Garth, The Sadist and Passion Madman as Andrew Shole (though seems that one was penned by William Coons).  In his essay “The First Andrew Shaw,” Lynn Munroe writes about The Sadist:

Sadistic hit man Jack Garth comes to Albany to kill an entire family, which he proceeds to do with methodical terror. In one chilling, unforgettable scene, he chops up the mom with an ax while forcing her daughter to watch. This one lives up to its title and took readers into a dark night of the soul quite removed from the usual sex and fun of the Nightstand books. “I realized when I read The Sadist that Larry Block was creating a whole new direction in these books,” Bill Coons told me. “Instead of being the villain, this insane sadistic killer was the main character.” Jim Thompson, of course, had already written The Killer Inside Me, but Lou Ford is a pussycat compared to mad Jack Garth. The cold, bleak, amoral world of The Sadist takes us further, disgusting and compelling us with a morbid fascination. Our “hero” is a serial killer. “Block was ahead of his time,” Coons says. Coons’ sequel, Passion Madman (LB603), was published in 1963. Clue: one character lives in the Kallett Building. Many Nightstands are tame by today’s standards. This one is strictly Adults Only.

In his introduction to the reprint of Cinderella Sims, Block notes that sometimes he’d start a book for Gold Medal that would wind up being a Nightstand, and vice-versa. I believe this may have been the case with this novel, as it reads like it was targeted for a Gold Medal audience and perhaps the publisher rejected it on the grounds of too much graphic violence, and having a protagonist we neither care nor root for.

How can we have sympathy for Jack Garth?  He’s a cold-blooded murderer and gets off on the kill — ahead of his time, indeed, as this type of “psychological horror” fiction with the bad guy as main character was popular in the 1980s.  Garth has no redeeming qualities like, say, Block’s later criminal hitmen or burglars.

Overall it’s an okay book, not one of Block’s best.  There are some usual early Block elements: the hipster beatniks, orgies, over-sexed teen girls.  I give it a B-minus.

Lust Slum – Andrew Shaw aka Lawrence Block (Midnight Reader #416)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, crime noir, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on May 16, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A sleek, hardboiled crime novel that has Lawrence Block’s early (and later) style all over it.

Told in the first person by big a big tough guy named Sylvester who is working as a bouncer in a club.  In walks a classy woman, Karen, who takes a liking to him.  Her husband walks in, Jake, a big tine wise guy, who has to keep his nympho wife on a leash.

Our narrator takes out Jake’s bodyguard with a few fists and loses his job; but Jake is impressed, and later hires him as muscle.  He’s told to ignore Karen’s advances and keep his nose clean. He tries. He can’t resist Karen and the more he learns about how her husband, who is involved with drugs and the syndicate, and how he treats her, he can’t blame her for her wandering eye, seeking love and comfort that the cold man doesn’t give her.

And he falls for her.

Block/Shaw makes good use of the “metaphor” sex scene, here describing in poetic language oral sex in the “69” position:

She was on top of me. Her belly was against my chest. “This way,” she said.

Her mouth was like fire, searing me.  I held her, and was consumed in a sea of liquid flame.  Her long hair swept against me like a gale sweeping the land. Her head moved with gyrating rhythms …

Faster and faster …

I sought her too, then.  The turbulent river had overflowed its banks and I smoothed the waters.

The river became a rolling sea and I dipped my face in the tide.  It seemed that the heavens had opened at that moment and all the torrents of the ages had come pouring out.

The sea was clam then, and quiet.

And I, as never before … I became the storm. The storm raged, turbulent and rampant. I felt pulsations of thunder, and an explosion of lightning. There was a flash of white-hot sensation as the storm erupted into a cloudburst. (pp. 55-56)

Nice, but it’s out of place with the narrator’s clipped, tough guy prose writing in the whole book.

Sometimes the writing gets a little too clipped and tough-guyish that we get lost in the coldness of it all. Is the narrator even a human being, or a fucking and killing machine?

In this book, and others such as Lust Damned, Crossroads of Lust, $20 Lust, for Nightstand; April North, The Sex Shuffle and Pads Are for Passion for Beacon; Candy and A Strange Kind of Love for Midwood — we see the seeds of the writer and style Block was to later become; working out of Scott Meredith’s “black box” was a wealthy training ground for a young author.

Vintage Paperback Show Purchases

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on March 23, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Sin Sultan – Andrew Shole aka Lawrence Block (leisure Book #605, 1963)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, crime noir, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on February 8, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

For a while in 1963, because of a legal case, William Hamling created a couple new imprints — Pillar and Leisure Books — and made slight alternations to the stable of names — Dan Eliot for Don Elliott, John Baxter for John Dexter, Alan Marsh for Allen Marshall, and Andrew Shole for Andrew Shaw.

A. Shole — funny.

This one is penned by Lawrence Block — his style at the time dominates, and it’s a crime novel about a bad cop and a good hooker.

The novel opens with a raid on a brothel, simply a political move for good press for the new district attorney in New York. For Detective Mannix of the vice squad, it’s a way to pick up bribe cash.  But the new D.A. and others in city hall are onto Mannix, wishing to clean up the police force, for Mannix is given the choice: resign quietly or be publicly humiliated and tossed into prison.

Mannix resigns.  But he has a new career in mind: as a pimp.  It’s all abt money for him, as a cop or not.  He even pimps out his estranged “wife” who is in a big hole with her bookie — she has little choice: she can work off her debt through Mannix as a hooker, or wind up six feet under from the bookie.  There’s one curious scene where she takes on three johns at the same time, and she discovers that she doesn’t mind this work after all.

This is a flawed novel, however; and I think Block didn’t write it alone — I detect some hints of Westlake or maybe Coons in there.  It starts off great, like a classic Block crime novel, then devolves into loosely-held-together scenes of the various women working for Mannix, flashbacks of their sexual history, and how they wound up in New York and eventually working the sex trade under the wingof a disgraced vice cop,.

A C-plus overall. Possibly written too quickly to meet a deadline.

Leather – Andrew Shaw (?) (Ember Library #338, 1966)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on January 31, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

One thing for sure, this lesbian BDSM prison romp is not Lawrnece Block! Not sure who penned this — maybe William Coons, or some other nameless hack that Cornith used to put “Shaw” on the cover, later in the 1960s when the sex got more graphic and the quality of writing and story-telling took a nose dive in favor of a perceived market demand.

I wonder if some people thought John Dexter, J.X. Williams and Andrew Shaw went shcizo, as their styles and themes radically changed over a decade.

Tramp by Andrew Shaw/Lawrence Block (Nightstand #1541, 1961)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

In many ways, Tramp is a lot like No Longer a Virgin — a young woman comes to New York and is unprepared for the men of the big city, their only interest in making her.  Then again, the set-up is a common one, as in Don Elliott’s Party Girl or Loren Beauchamp’s Meg.

Julie Marsten is 22, recently graduated from Clifton College, the fictional but disguised Ohio campus similar to Antioch College, where Block went before heading to New York to become a writer and work at Scott Meredith, where he met fellow fee readers Evan Hunter, Richard Curtis, and Donald Westlake, among others.

She’s a virgin, and daydreams of the perfect moment when she will lose her maidenhead.  She gets a modeling agent and starts into “fashion” and nude photography, a la an Orrie Hitt novel.  When she does lose her virginity to a rich man who likes to take pictures of naked women, it is less than romantic as she dreamed.  But once she’s had sex, she gets the wild itch and can’t stop…and from there, she picks up men in bars, has a lesbian experience with a model named Lou, Lou who drags her into a New York party world or orgies and yacht trips to the Caribbean.

Like Terry Southern’s Candy, this is a funny romp about a innocent girl turning wild tramp.  I have a feeling Block had fun with this one, as there are numerous funny scenes with witty dialogue, my favorite: “The hell with Oedipus, as long as he loved his mother, what did it matter?

In the 1973 edition, some updates are included, like using “tits” and “cunt” and one “fuck,” and the movie she sees in the original, The Sound of Distant Drums, which appears in many Shaw/Sheldon Lord books, is changed to Blume in Love.

As with many tales of wayward girls in the big city of sin, Julie does fnally meet Mr. Right and repents her ways of shame and embraces love and marriage — her eventual knight to the rescue is Ben Christopher, a Block pen name.

Far from any work of art, this is a fun romp of a read, and I give it a  B-minus.

Passion Alley by Andrew Shaw (Lawrence Block), Nightstand Book #1611, 1962

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Block was (and perhaps still is) at his best when writing in the first-person, whether his narrators are criminals, lost young men, con artists, burglars, hit men or private eyes.

Such is the case with Passion Alley, the story of Jack Edwards’ downward spiral after being kicked out of college (it’s also interesting to read a “sex” book from 1962, after Block started to come into his own, publishing under his own name at Gold Medal, like with Mona and others).

Jack is a little older than your usual undergrad, 23, having served in Korea and hitching onto the G.I. Bill.  Block adds an interesting aside about how the college campuses of the U.S. changed after Korea, when all these battle-hard young men began to mix in with the soft rich kids and intellectuals who were worlds apart from the battlefield.  Jack is also in an upper-crust fraternity, only because he’s a good football player, and the football team is important to the college.  A teammate gets killed one game, and Jack punches out the other player at a frat dance party, which causes a scandal and gets Jack the boot.

Before leaving for New York, Jack talks his girl into giving him her virginity, promising to marry her, and leaving her in the morning a ruined girl, his final act of defiance against the conservative social and political environment that has always treated him like a slug, a guy without a rich family, a grunt on the G.I. Bill.

He heads to New York because he has a notion–like a number of Block’s male characters, such as in Shame Dame–of becoming a writer.  New York is the place to go, right?

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Some Andrew Shaw Covers!

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books with tags , , , on January 2, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks