Archive for the Lawrence Block Category

Community of Women – Sheldon Lord aka Lawrence Block (Beacon, 1963)

Posted in Beacon Books, Lawrence Block, lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on January 11, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Was this one a “major bestseller” Beacon claims on the cover of the 1964 second edition, third printing? Who knows what is truth or hyperbole. Community of Women is Block fo’shure (BFS) and he has recently made it available as an ebook reprint.

The terse novel, told in 22 short chapters, is one of Block’s multi-character soap operas, like the many Andrew Shaws that take that form, a form Block still employs now and then, most recently with his 9/11 mainstream novel, Small Town. (I tend to prefer Block keeping to one POV, usually first-person.)  The caharcters here are residents of suburba, Cheshire Point, a commuter train’s ride outside Manhattan where many of the men work and their wives stay at home and have their own secret lives, such as Maggie, a secret lesbian married to a gay man for appearaces, who sets her seductive third sex sites of Elly Carr, a woman who sleeps with any man who comes around when her hubby is away — she has been a nympho since her days at Clifton College (a BFS giveaway). But when Maggie does get Elly into bed, Maggie convinces her the nymphomania has been misdirected, that no man has ever been able to satisfy her because she needs a woman’s lusty tongue and touch.

One fun character is Linc, a hack novelist having writer’s block; a new novel is overdue and he cannot seem to get any words on paper so he drinks to a stupor.  He and his wife, Roz, moved to Cheshire Point when he sold a novel to Warner Books for $35K…now, with books ovedue, no sales of stories, no advances, he and Roz are nearly in the poor house among the upper middleclass suburbanites. Not to fear, he gets his writer’s wings back, making love to Roz in between writing marathon hours.

One thing surprising here, for these books at that time, is the lesbian awkening is a positive thing; Elly does not discover despair in dykedom but seeks a happy new life in the arms of Maggie.

Another fun read!

Husband Chaser by Shelden Lord (Lawrence Block, Hal Dresner?) – Beacon Books, 1962

Posted in Beacon Books, Lawrence Block, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on January 3, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Fairly certain this one is Lawrence Block. Block did moist if not all Sheldon Lords for Beacon from 1960-63. It reads pretty much like early Block. Someone told me it might be Hal Dresner, and I am thinking maybe they collobarorated, or Block wrote this with someone, because there is a marked tone and style shift mid-way through the novel — and the second half is most defintely Block (aka M.D.B.).

Either way, either how, this is a pretty good one.

Stephanie has learned how to make money by marrying and divorcing men., She married at seveneteen to get away from her abusive moither, divorcing the guy two years later before he heads off to Korea and getting $15,000 as a settlement, one -tird to her shady Las Vegas lawyer.  $10,000 is better money than she has ever had to herself, and she lives high on the hog for a but.  She thinks: if dicorce is profitable, why not find men with money and do the same?

So she does.

The novel opens and she is 25 and on her fourth divorce, going the six -week Las Vegas route. In Vegas, she finds men to spend money on her in the casinos but she doesn’t let them sleep with her. Or some she does, especially when she wants to get rvenge on their fat obnoxious wives.

With twenty grand from her new divorce, she moves back to New York and takes a three room suite in a nice hotel at $425 a month (a fortune in 1962 money).  She starts pondering on a fifth husband. She notices the man living nextdoor to her is quite handsome and possibly well-off, his name is Jim Holloway (Don Holliday, Dresner’s pen name at Nightstand?).  She starts to see him, and surprisingly she falls in love with him and spends her money on him for a change.

Her money low, she knows she needs cash flow for her and Jim so she goes to get a job as a stripper, and then a call girl…Jim seems to know but does not care. This baffles her.

Her recent ex-husband does care. He wants her back. He has had a private detective on her and knows she’s hooking her sweet ass to any man with $100.

Things get violent in classic Block manner…

Everything is fine and noirsih dandy until the hokey happy ending, implausible in all ways. I was hoping for an ending like Sheldon Lord’s Candy…

…but genre needs at Beacon were different than Midwood.

Despite the sappy ending, this is an excellent little blast from the vintage sleaze past.

Sidney’s Wife by Sheldon Lord aka Milo Perichitich (Beacon, 1964)

Posted in Beacon Books, Lawrence Block, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on December 30, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Boy had I hoped this would be a keen Lawrence Block Sheldon Lord in the vein of The Sex Shuffle or April North…but no, this one is not Block, it is Milo Perichitich, the lesser of the Sheldon Lords.  Possible, as was the case with Nighttstand, Block stopped being Lord and Andrew Shaw after 1963 as he persued his crime fiction career and was being Jill Emerson. (Being Jill Emerson would be a great title for something.)

This one is your typical corporate suit types who lust after each other’s wives and use one another’s wife to advance or get revenge. Been there done that in pulp sleazeland. Sidney’s Wife is almost unreadable.

Las Vegas Lust by Dean Hudson aka Evan Hunter (Nightstand Books #1579, 1961)

Posted in crime noir, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on December 12, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This was the first of the twenty books that Evan Hunter did for William Hamling, and it is a nifty little gambling/crime book; in fact it reads, with it’s lack of the ususal sex scenes, like something Hunter may have written with Gold Medal or Dell or Avon in mind and could not sell, so he tacked on one detaled sex scene as the last chapter to make it fitting for Nightstand. That’s just a guess.

The protagonist is Mike McCloud, freshly sprung from the pen on a five year strecth for armed robbery. He grew up in a family of magicians and knows a lot of tricks. He hitch hikes to Vegas with nothing but the clothes on his back and $20 to his name. He walks into the Sunrise Hotel and heds to the craps table where, within hours, he turns twenty bucks into ten grand…he is using weighted dice palmed in his hand, a magician’s sleight of hand that not en the pit bosses know what he is doing. He then asks to see the owner, Frankie Harvard, and tells Harvard how he did a con to get the money, and asks for a job to catch hustlers. He gets the job.

The intricate details of gambling hustler tricks shows that Hunter knew some things here, reminding me of Lawrence Block’s/Shelon Lord’s The Sex Shuffle aka Lucky at Cards in certain ways that card game hustles were shown.

Lynn Munroe’s take on Las Vegas Lust should be noted:

McCloud is a laconic, flawed, tough gambling antihero, the kind of guy Paul Newman and Steve McQueen were playing in movies like The Hustler and The Cincinnati Kid. McCloud goes to work for the casinos, busting the con artists and grifters who breeze through the story. The sex scenes seem added on (they probably were), and one way you can tell Hudson’s heart isn’t in it is that all the different women are described in exactly the same words (every single one of them, we are told, has “long and dark” nipples). None of the “variety is the spice of life” smorgasbord of feminine types of the Clyde Allison books is at play here. Although the story eventually peters out into a thoroughly unbelievable ending with plot holes you could drive a fleet of trucks through, there is enough going on here to make us want to give Hudson another try. If, that is, you can believe a cutie Vegas lounge singer/gambling addict could be a virgin. Of course, our virile stud Mike McCloud will handle that at the climax.

True, the solution to McCloud’s big problem — the $53,000 gambling debt the virgin singer he is in love with racks up, a debt he takes on so she won’t have to become a hooker and fuck her way out of the jam — is a bit convoluted and strange, when with his skills he could easily do some tricky gambling and come up with the cash. The crazy solution is…well, unqiue.

The book is good enough for a revival, however; would make a fine Hard Case Crime title.

Gutter Girl by Andrew Shaw aka Lawrence Block (Bedstand Books, 1961)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, crime noir, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on December 1, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This one is defintely penned by the young Larry Block, one of the handful of titles from Nightstand’s stable when Hamling bought out Bedstand Books.

The premise of Gutter Girl is the same as many female juvenile delinquent books, such as Silverberg’s Gang Girl (now out in reprint from Stark House, by the way) but takes a few steps ahead with the graohic violence and sex: tough 15-year-old deb has to move to a new neighborhood and join a new gang, beds the President of the gang and becomes his main girl, then has delusions of taking over the gang. Rumbles, murders, cops…there is a gang rape of a 13 year old girl who is the sister of a Puerto Rican gang member where she is dismembered.  Our lustful heroine turns tricks for money, catches the eye of the local syndiacte guy and ex-President of the gang, moves in with him atr his upper East Side digs; and once he is bored with her, has her start doing tricks for fat ugly men connected to the mob, then is turned out as a high priced call girl at age 16.  Byt at least she has money, and she can take care of her nerdy little brother…there’s incest, but I won;t spoul the perverse fun of the gutter themes.

Quite a good one.

Sin Devil by Andrew Shaw aka Lawrence Block or William Coons (Nightstand, 1961)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, crime noir, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on December 1, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

 A curious one from Block where he experiments with style like he has in a few other of his later books for Hamling. This one begins in the third person with a reporter named Jules covering the death of an old multi-millionaire, Martin Trane, whose life was surrounded by secrets and perversity, such as his paying a sixteen-year-old girl for sex. Jules gets hsi hands on the manuscript of a confession/memoir Trane had written…

Here the book jumps to first person. The memoir takes up 80% of the book. Almost seems like Block wrote that first, realized it was too short word-wise, and added the beginning and end to reach the necessary 50,000 words for a Nightstand. Who knows. The technique is not smooth but the memoir is full of wonderful debauchery, starting from Trane’s early years in boarding school to middle age and to an old lecher who wallowed in what his money could buy.

For Block fans, or Coons, a good little read.

Diary of a Dyke by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Pleasure Reader, 1967)

Posted in Don Elliott, Lawrence Block, lesbian pulp fiction, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on November 30, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I really wonder if Robert Silverberg penned this one for a couple of reasons: the publication date is 1967 and he has written that he stopped writing these books around 1965, although it is possible the manuscript sat around at Greenleaf for a year or two (half a dozen came out in 1966); and it does not jive with Silverberg/Elliott’s sytle, which always had a dark side…this book is light and airy and often funny.

It is the diary of a woman who has jsut turned 32 and is bored with lesbian sex. She engaged in a six girl orgy and yawned. She has been with men before, so she is really bu but prefers girls…until she sleeps with a VP at her work, Tom, and she her interest in sex is rekindled…maybe she will go straight, as many lesbian novels at the time had the characters do,

Around the same time, Lawrence Block wrote three diary-like lesbian novels as Jill Emerson…one, I Am Crious Thirty, is about a woan turning from 29 to 30 and wondering about her sexuality…in fact these two books are quite similar.

Silverberg claims that no other writer used the Don Elliott name, and only one, Carnal Counselor, was frmed out to a ghostwriter when he could not make a deadine.

Either way, a fun read.