Archive for the Nightstand Books Category

The Pain Lusters by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Idle Hour Books #492, 1966)

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on July 14, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Well, I know, I have been away from updating this blog for quite a while; I will try to get back into the game. And getting back into it, let’s start with a nifty later Don Elliott/Silverberg, The Pain Lusters.

The set-up is similar to the Loren Beauchamp Another Night, Another Love (which I discussed almost three years ago here): an out-of-work actor in his late 20s, Nick, his TV and stage days slowing fading, needs money, and is approached by an old acting pal who recruits him for male prostitution: in Another, it is loving up rich older women at a resort; in The Pain Lusters, it is beating up rich older women with a taste for pain in an outskirts NYC mansion that caters to the wealthy and sexually weird.

Nick slowly gets into the job — he has to audition for the madame, of course (the girlfriend of his pal), and learn the finer points of BDSM (L.T. Woodward, Silverberg’s doctorly pen name, provides a sort of preface, taken from Sex Fiend)…the men and women of the pain mansion, we find, are not mere mindless, soulless whores, but people with lost dreams and future hopes, each in need of finding love as any human.

All seems to go well until one wealthy woman, Carolyn, comes to the mansion seeking to re-experience a rape she endured three years ago, when a burglar broke in while her husband was away and ravished her by force; she claims it is the only time in her life that she had multiple orgasms and felt alive (and as any real psychosexual researcher will tell you, there are these instances, fueled by the forced ravishings of romance novels). When Carolyn’s husband gets wind of his wife’s secret desires, he stakes out the mansion, gains entry, and causes all hell to break loose…

I was possibly looking for a connection to this book with Silverberg’s 1963 story, “The Pain Peddlers,” but there was none…in that SF story, people tune into pain TV with neuro-headsets to experience operations without anesthetic vicariously — the virtually feel the pain the patient goes through when opened up or having a limb cut off; this need for true pain revealing the numbness of existence that a future society (and perhaps now) falls into it.

Then again, maybe there is a connection here: the characters in this softcore title do indeed seek out pain to remind themselves they are real and alive; or in the case of the burglar-rapist re-enactment, to return to a memory of sexual heights that normal society would find deviant.

Silverber’s post-1964 Don Elliotts seem to lean toward S/M and the desire of pain, to give and receive (Black Market Shame, Sin Kill, Sin Warped) , something also noticed in his later 60s-early 70s SF: Thorns, for instance, about two people in great pain, which is pretty much a novelization of “Flies,” The Man in the Maze and The Second Trip

Kicks Books Brings Back Paul Merchant!

Posted in crime noir, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on June 10, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Been waiting for this one. Kicks Books reissues the 1959 book that Ellison used to deny, would never reprint, but now in his 11th hour on earth, he allows “a very young” collection of his then-racy stories published in men’s magazines like Knave, Rogue and Caper, and pulp crime rags like Manhunt and Guilty…the original Nightstand Books title was, of course, Sex Gang by Paul Merchant (he originally wanted to use D.S. Merchant, as in Dirty Sex), the third title from the series after Robert Silverberg’s Love Addict.

Pulling a Train is the new title (from a novella in the book), with an ironic twist on the cover: a woman with a blade hovering over a man.

I have not gotten a copy yet, but when I do, I will talk about it more. What is nifty is that Kicks will come out with a companion volume, Getting in the Wind, that will contain previously uncollected softcore sex and crime stories from the same era, written under a variety of pen names.

What is nifty is that Kicks also offers a limited box set and a perfume called Sex Gang. Great creative marketing there indeed…

No Lust Tonight by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Midnight Reader #429, 1962)

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on December 19, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This one reads more like a Loren Beauchamp than a Don Elliott, if that is even possible, being both are Silverberg, but the Beauchamps always seemed to have a bit of a darker overtone than the Elliotts,

This one opens with a burglary in the house of the Lamsons, a fairly well to do couple. The burglar ties the husband up and forces him to watch the rape of his wife, Moira. But there is something odd: the burglar resembles Lamson in body sizem hair, etc., and it almsot seems like Moira knows who her rapist is…she does go frigid and starts to see a psychiarist…and the shrink violates all codes of medical ethics by telling the husband what the wife says in the sessions. (Reminds me of soemthing from the TV show Mad Men where the main guy pays a shrink to make his wife believe there is something wrong with her.)

The shrink also suspects Moira knows her rapist, that he is a man from her past, a guy who “got away” and she only married Lamson because he resembles this guy. This turns out to be true,  the guy is an ex-boxer turned small time crook and pimp of Greenwich Village bar hookers. Moira had dated him but would not sleep with him unless they married, so he jilted her.

Lamson sets the guy up for a fall and…

You can read the book for what happens. Not a bad read, as always with Silverberg,

 

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.

Pickup – Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Sundown Reader, 1964)

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on December 10, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A nice crime noir from Silverberg toward the end of his stint with Greenleaf Cornith. This one is about a criminal, Jimmy, traveling across the U.S., going from one woman to another, robbng gas stations and stores for money. He is running away from a painful break-up; he was with Maureen, a woman he loved, for years, and one day he catches her in bed with another woman. He is a bit oif an old-fashioned prude, lesbians make him sick. Now he hurts women to get back at Maureen, or all of womankind, “you witches are all the same” — he makes women fall for him, then he leaves them heartbroken the way he was.

Until he meets a hooker in a hotel bar, Helena, and the table gets turned…right off she pegs him as a killer, especially when she finds his gun with the silencer. As the cover blurb states: “Passion threw him into a cesspool of sin!”

Well, a fun read, as always with the Don Elliotts.

 

Sinville – Dean Hudson aka Evan Hunter – Nightstand, 1962

Posted in crime noir, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on December 9, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Evan Hunter (The Blackboard Jungle) was a wonderful paperback hack in his career and wrote under many pen names, mostly know  for Ed McBain. Few seem to know he penned 20 books for William Hamling as Dean Hudson. Thse Hudsons published after 1964 are not his.

Sinville is quite the find. I have had this one lying around for two years, not sure where I got it or how much I paid, but it is listing for $90 online.

This has Hunter’s tough, hardboiled style written all over it. The narrator is an interesting character: clean-cut, boyish-looking, wears a suit, carries an umbrella, Harvard educated, and a stone cold ruthless criminal and killer. He breezes into Sinville, part of Centre City, and quickly takes over the territory by shooting the neighborhood boss. Then he kills the area boss. He beds a few women, keeps on killing, keeps on moving up…meanwhile, he has to contend with a millionaire do-gooder out to clean up all the hooking, drug-selling and sundicate influence in Centre City. He is in for quite a surprise when he finds out who exactly runs the crime ring. This is pure Manhunt-style stuff.

The sex scenes are a different fair than the usual Nightstands, where an encounter is tossed in every other chapter. Hunter/Hudson devotes entire chapters to one sex act, going into sensual, almost poeic detail of every movement, kiss, and penetration. Nothing tedious, and gives the story a curious flow as other chapters have the guy shooting, cutting and strangling one person after the other.

This is the first Dean Hudson I have read and I will certainly be reading many more.

Baby Face by J.X. Williams aka Harry Whittington (Idle Hour Books, 1965)

Posted in Harry Whittington, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on December 3, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Another one of “the missing 38,” this is actually one of those “backwoods” tales Whittington liked to write (Cracker Girl, Backwoods Shack, Backwoods Hussy, Backwoods Tramp, Desire in the Dust,  etc).

Well, there are hillbillies and white trash backwoods types in Baby Face…it starts off with college life among the Ivy League upper crust, on a campus of a small elite college like Dartmouth or William and Mary. Lois is a sorority girl on a date with stud Mott and he wants some backseat action. She says she is not that kind of girl, maybe even a virgin, and he laughs and says he knows all about her…one fellow she bedded told Mott where she had a mole in an intimate place…and he knows about a tryst she had with an elderly professor…He blackmails her, says he will tell the school admins about the professor if she does not put out for him. Still she fights but he rapes her, three times he rapes her all night in the car, letting her go at dusk.

Two months later, she gets doctor confirmtion that she’s pregnant. She will be kicked out of the college and the sorority for such an immoral scandal. She tells Mott but he denies the baby could be his. She says she won’t get an abortion; she will simply go home and tell her parents the shame.

Driving home in the dark, it is raining hard. She is taking backroads. She is upset and driving fast.  She loses control of the car and slides off a hill, not caring if she dies.

She wakes up in a strange bed, bandaged up, and a hillbilly type guy staring at her. His name is Dan, an ex-Marine just off a tour in Vietnam. She was found by a family and brought to him because he has experience pathcing up the wounded from Vietnam.

Dan is crass, a hick, eyes her body, but she evntually warms up to him. He knows she is pregnant and he was afraid she would lose the baby.

After expericing backwoods white trash life, she returns home and reveals her shame, since she is showing. Her fokks are nit happily. Surprisingly, there are men who want to marry her: Mott, who changes his mind, and an old boyfriend of hers, who doesn’t seem to care she is carrying another man’s child. She says no to both, says no to her upper middle class life, and runs back to Dan to live a poor hick life and raise her baby in sin.

This was a fun read and seems like ol’ Harry Whittington had fun with it, probably mining material from old books I have not seen yet.  It is a rare find, this one, but  good find if you can find it. This is also a good contender for a reprint.