Archive for the Sheldon Lord 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.

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.

Campus Tramp by Andrew Shaw aka Lawrence Block (Nightstand Books #1505, 1959)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This was the fifth book William Hamling published at the end of 1959, and the first of many titles that a very young Larry Block furnished for Hamling and his editor, Harlan Ellison.

This is also one of the more hard-to-find Shaws, at a reasonable price, with a but of a cult status among Antioch University alumni from the 1950s and 60s.  Block went to Antioch, later opting out for a career in Manhattan as a hack pulp writer, selling his first novel, as Lesely Evans, to Fawcett Crest in 1958, then to Midwood and Nightstand in 1959-63.

A number of Block’s early books are, well, uneven–they are either good or bad.  Mona was very good and The Adulterers and The Wife-Swappers very bad.  Campus Tramp is not on part with Mona, $20 Lust, The Sex Shuffle, or Candy, but it isn’t bad, and there’s even some sociology involved in the text.

Campus Tramp tells the story of Linda Shepard, a nineteen-year-old young lady from Cleveland, Ohio, who is off to her freshman year at Clifton College, Block’s version of Antioch, a liberal arts institute with a loose structure in experimental (for the time) pedagogy.

Linda is a virgin and has been proud of keeping it that way, as a number of boys in high school tried to claim her cherry but she was firm in her desire to wait until marriage…until college that is. Once at Clifton, she decides that she wants a lover, that she wants to lose her virginity, and while a guy named Joe has his love eye on her, the man she really wants is a senior, Don Gibbs, a sort of bohemian rich boy who edits the college newspaper (as Block did at Antioch).

Many sociological studies have been conducted over the decade about how wild freshmen get in college, especially in the dorms: they are away from home, mommy and daddy, they have access to alcohol and drugs, they let loose. I remember when I was in the “older student” dorm floor way way b ack when, and the freshmen were all on the eighth and seventh floors, said floors in shambles every weekend, shattered bottles, beer cans, clothes everywhere…rooms where a drunk or high 18 year old was taking on anyone, and guys lining up for a turn…yeah, the good old days. Later, the young girls who did this would experience shame, and they’d leave the dorms or even try to kill themselves, or they’d wallow in booze and cocaine and sleep with anyone who passed by…

That’s what happens to Linda.  She gets Don Gibbs, inserting herself into his life, and when she loses her virginity, and experiences lust, she can’t get enough.  She an Don fuck whenever they can; she spends all her time with him, not going to classes, her grades slipping.

When Don breaks up with her over her ultra possessiveness, Linda sinks deep into debauchery, having sex with any boy or guy or man who wants her, a shabby replacement for Don; she thinks of suicide but getting drunk is better to dull the pain, and there are plenty of older students willing to give her the booze in exchange for a romp in the backseat.

Linda starts to get a reputation as the campus tramp, and guys ask her out only with sex on their minds. Linda doesn’t care what people think of her.  Her roommate, Rachel, is quite concerned, and one drunken night, when Rachel gives Linda a massage, the two girls go at it.  Linda is shocked by what she has done, and her roommate confesses that she’s been a lesbian since she was fourteen.

Then Linda realizes she is pregnant, and she has no idea who the father could be…just as she decides to stop drinking and tramping and get her grades back up, the school informs her that they want her to leave for a year or face explusion…and now she is pregnant…she isn’t getting a break anywhere.

The book doesn’t wrap up as expected — usually these stories, for moral standards, have the wanton floozie realize the errors of her sinful ways, and finds the boy who loves her…we thought it would be Joe, that seemed to be the set up, he confesses his love despite her reputation, but she just fucks him and drops him…

Instead, Linda returns to Don Gibbs and tells him she’s knocked up and needs help.  He’s willing to help because, unknown to her, he broke it up because he was in love and was afraid of the emotion…

Creeping Hemlock Press recently reprinted Campus Tramp as a a trade paperback, with an intro by Ed Gorman and an afterword by Block; the afterword is worth the price of admission: Blocks talks about leaving high school and going to Antioch as a would-be young writer, sellingb his early novels, moving to New York, and being asked to leave Antioch in a way that Linda is asked to leave Clifton.  He talks about the book’s cult status at Antioich, and how some students and faculty thought the book was his way of “getting back” at Antioch.

Clifton College appears in a number of Andrew Shaws, referred to in one Sheldon Lord, and is the setting of one of Donald Westlake’s softcores, as Edwin West.

Creeping Hemlock is set to reprint the Seeldon Lord, April North, which has many similarities to Campus Tramp.

Hellcats & Honey Girls by Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake

Posted in crime noir, Don Elliott, Lawrence Block, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on September 20, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Subterranean Press is soon to publish a 400 page omnibus with three collaborative softcores from the 1960s by Block and Westlake, Hellcats and Honeygirls.

It contains two Sheldon Lords, So Willing and A Girl Called Honey, and one I am not aware of, Sin Hellcat (or A Piece of the Action).

There certainly seems to be a flurry of these old reprints popping up like lillies in the field, with Creeping Hemlock Press doing Block´s Campus Tramp and April North, Hard Case Crime doing two Block lesbian-crime books, Stark House doing two Silverberg-Don Elliotts plus all the others they have out, Ramble House with Ennis Willie, Borgo Press with Victor Banis, and so on…

Will this effect the collector market? I may boost it.  We here are delighted with these reprints and say, more, more…

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.