Archive for crime

Money Bed – Clyde Allison/aka William Knoles (Nightstand Books #1602, 1963)

Posted in crime noir, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on February 4, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is the first William Knoles Clyde Allison book I’ve head, although I am convinced that the John Dexter Prig was Knoles, because the funny style is similar.

Funny yes — this is one witty, well-written combo sleaze and crime novel, sharing a similar theme with Don Holliday’s Only the Bed (that I now think was penned by Lawrence Block, not Hal Dresner) — a smart-mouthed operator has little time to drum up a big chunk of change to pay off the local syndicate bookie or wind up six feet under.

Mark Yeager sees himself as “an operator” rather than a con man:

I operate. I manuever. I pull deals. I get myself, never mind how, in the middle of two guys who are trying to do business together and I fixed things so they can do business — through me. (p. 11)

This is involves talking people into giving him money so he can place bets.  But Mark Yeager has lost big on two sure horses that didn’t come in so sure, and how he owes the local mob bookie $25,000.  He already owes the guy $20,000 from one bad bed, and another $5,000 for another bet.  The law of the land is: “Ten days, cash or coffin.”

He has to move fast, real fast.

The story opens with him in bed with young and plump Sharalee with an IQ of 75, who gives him $1,000 for a stock tip that he tells her he will turn into $10,000 in 24 hours.  He has $5,000 also, so now he just needs another $19,000 to stay alive.

He’s conned one girl out of a grand, so he decides to open his little black book and call on past lovers, girlfriends, and flings to see if he can’t drum up the rest.

And so he goes through his list of various past lovers — from the lady who runs a new age religion scam to a has-been former child star (somewhat like Shirley Temple) he manages to book into a risque Vegas act for a $3K finder’s fee.  He has sex with a number of women in a single day, all the while avoiding a “C.E. Granger” who is hunting him down.

C.E. turns out to be Circe, a Hawiaan con artist he once` had a love fling and con scheme going, selling plots of worthless atolls in Polynesia.  She has a deal for him — she’ll pay his gambling debt if he agrees to court and marry a drab librarian gal who has come into two million dollars but doesn’t know it yet.  What else can he do?

This novel — fast and funny — has several curious plot twits; it starts off as a guy on the run to get money, then turns into a con job that becomes a different kind of con job, and then a love story with a happy ending.

All in all a fine book to read, and a good example of the humorous sex books of William Knoles/Cylde Allison.

Lover by Andrew Shaw (Lawrence Block), Nightstand #1551 (1961)

Posted in Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Shaw - Lover

Another potent early Lawrence Block, this time as Andrew Shaw; it’s a dark tale with a rather depressing ending, not the usual happy endings we tend to see in sleaze books where the protagonist repents from his/her sinful ways and finds happiness in the arms of a good man or woman.

Lover chronicles the making of a gigolo, how a kid from the slums learns to use lonely rich women for their money, and remakes himself through autodidcactism — similar in a way to Loren Beauchamp’s Connie, reviewed here months back.

Johnny Wells is 17 when the book opens. He’s a good-looking sexy boy in jeans and a leather jacket and long hair. He wanders the streets around 57th and Third in New York until he exchanges looks with older women who find him tasty-looking.

It all started when he was 15…

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Candy by Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block), Midwood #40 (1960)

Posted in crime noir, lesbian pulp fiction, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lord - Candy

Early Lawrence Block is always a mixed bag of good and not-so-good, such as some of the very early Nightstands. Midwood published Block’s first book as a Sheldon Lord, Carla [Midwood #7, 1958]  (later reprinted as Puta), although his first sale was the Lesley Evans lesbian novel, Strange Are the Ways of Love, for Fawcett Crest, 1959.  Seems Midwood had less turnaround time from manuscript sale to publication.

Evans - Strang are the ways of love

Lord - CarlaBock excelled in the lesbian themed novels as Sheldon Lord, some Andrew Shaws, and as Jill Emerson, who went from sleaze paperbacks to several mainstream novels with Putnam in the 1970s.  Many critics were convinced that Jill Emerson was actually a woman, and has been included in some lesbian pulp fiction anthologies without a mention that Emerson is really a man.  Block was more convincing a female writer than Silverberg.

So Block continued to write more books for Midwood, most lesbian themed works, and one he collaborated with Donald Westlake, Of Shame and Joy.

Candy is considered a lesbian novel, or a novel with lesbian sex going on…an instance where the woman, Candy, leaves the narrator for what a wealthy Park Avenue lesbian has to offer a sexy girl from the backwoods of America.

Candy is also one of Block’s finest Sheldon Lord books and early works, better than April North, better than the Sheldon Lords that Hard Case published. His early Nightstands were about college kids and young sexuality, and then he started to move toward crime noir/erotica, like Shame Dame as John Dexter.

In one typical Block line, he has a character reading a book by Alan Marshall (Westlake), with one hand in his pocket…

Jeff Flanders is 34 and works at a finance company that gives personal loans with a high rate of interest.  They are basically legal loan sharks without the leg breakers.

One day a sexpot 19-year-old blonde from the sticks, now in the big city, wanders into the finance company looking to borrow $1000.  She has no job, is new in New York, and no credit or collateral, but she figures her looks and sexuality will get her the loan.  She suggests Jeff co-sign her loan and in exchange he can have sex with her….

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