Archive for Jr.

Uncontrollable Urge! by Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1963)

Posted in noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on August 30, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks


Uncontrollable Urge is aptly titled, when many Novel/Merit Books often were not — it’s about a man whose right hand is not his, and is possessed. This is a bit of a horror/paranormal storyline, unlike other Goffs we’ve read here. Whether or not he plagarized Prather in this one is uncertain.

It begins with the narrative of Dr. Mays, who tells of George Calumet, a wealthy Beverly Hills stockbroker who wants his right hand cut off. Not seeing a life or death situation, Dr. Mays refuses, so George goes down the street to a machine shop and places his hand at a saw.

Treating George at the ER, Dr. Mays gets the story from the handless man. Here the narrative gets sloppy, we’re spposedly listening to George on a tape recorder, but the author doesn’t make an effort to change voices much.

For reasons unknown, George’s right hand started doing things beyond his control — stealing small items, trying to run nurses down on the street, smacking strange women on the ass, buying an engagement ring for his girlfriend while they are in Vegas, and then marrying her…and later, when he realizes his new wife is unfaithful, the hand picks up a gun with the intent of murdering her…

He also writes in cursive not his own, and writes out a review of a pay about Satan, signed “Etienne Coeur.”  That’s the name of the local paper’s love advise column writer, who also does reviews…the same play review appears in the paper.

Dr. Mays finds out from a cop that Etienne Coeur is the pen name of George’s brother-in-law, whom George had given a cushy job at his stocbrokereage firm, and has had a criminal past George is unaware of: three years in the pokey for forgery.

The funny thing is, at the same time George cuts his hand off, someone pushes his brother-in-law in front of a subway and he loses his own right hand too, when the subway runs over it…

Strange. There’s plenty of sex to make this a sleaze men’s paperback, but the whole notion of this possessed hand gets confusing.  But it’s not a bad read.

The Genuine Wanton – Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1964)

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Apparently, this Goff book has “lifted” passages and plotlines from four Richard Prather novels: Kill the Clown, Shell Scott’s Seven Slaughters, Three’s a Shroud, and Dagger of Flesh

Since I have not read them, I can’t pinpoint what Goff used.  Seems he used a lot from Seven Slaughters for a number of books, since it’s a collection of stories.

The Genuine Wanton is told by Angus Cordi, a syndicate hitman. It’s pretty short, 128 pages of big type, so a 30,000-worder, episodic.  Cordi is hired by gang boss Mancini — he gets $300 a week retainer, always ready for a job, which he will get a $5K bonus, 10K if he’s loaned out to another syndicate family.

His first kill: the ex-mistress of Mancini, whom Cordi has been seeing.  Mancini wishes to test Cordi’s loyalty: will he murder th woman he has feelings for? She knew this would happen, and to help Cordi, she commits suicide in front of him.

Cordi develops an MO: get close to the wife or mistress of each target, romance the woman, and make it hurt the target twice, sometimes killing the woman as well.

Cordi is deeply cruel, strangely cold and hardboiled — much like an Ennis Willie killer perhaps…and how much like Shell Scott?

If I didn’t know what Goff was up to with stealing from Prather, I would say “wow!” to this cold, violent short novel; as is, original or whatnot, it’s still a cool book in the ultra-hardboiled fashion.

So who is the “genuine wanton” in the title, or is this another misleading Merit book?  It may be either Cathy or Susan, two young ladies he escorts to a reefer madness swinger party that later proves to be his downfall.  There’s enough sleaze to make this a sleaze book:

The brunette’s tongue lasted like bourbon and went like a piston in my mouth. I forgot about Cathy and Susan and the marijuana, and concentrated on the naked woman in my arms. (p. 111)

And enough killing to make it crime noir.

Tropic of Carla by Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1963)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I was previously impressed with Jerry M. Goff, Jr.’s Thrill Crazy and Wanton Wench! and continue to be so with Tropic of Carla.  I have been amassing all his other books for future reading.

His novels aren’t perfect by any means, and have any number of flaws that many books like these do, but there is a certain assured quality of story-telling, mixed with good manly two-fisted hardboiled-ness typical of Merit/Novel Books, that tickle my noir funny bones.

Wanton Wench! was about a sea diving bum getting into some trouble because of a rich woman; Tropic of Carla is about a pilot bum getting into trouble because of a rich woman, Carla Lopez.  The narrator, Dino Shawn, muses on it:

I had been in boxes before, but never like this.  And all because of a beautiful woman with a fantastic figure.   But what the hell? I thought. Life without beautiful women and fabulous builds wouldn’t be worth living. I had no other choice but to do General Lopez’ bidding. (p. 81)

Dino had been forced to fly a fighter plane for a small banana republic dictatrorship, a fictional Latin American country, Tammara…

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The Big Flick by Adam Snavely (Kozy Books, 1961)

Posted in Orrie Hitt, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Snavely - Big FlcikAlong with Jerry Goff, Max Collier, and John Turner, Adam Snavely is my next “big find,” and he’s at the top of the heap.  I have no idea who he really was, but he did a dozen or so books for Kozy.

Snavely may have been a house pseudonym, as a quick glance at a few titles I have, the writing styles look different.  One of them, Love Drive, credits Snavely on the cover, but on the title page the book is called The Love Drive by Orrie Hitt, also listed that way in the back of book catalogue of a number of Kozy books I have.  I’m not sure yet if Love Drive is Orrie Hitt, haveb’t scrutinized yet, but it’s set in L.A., not Hitt territory. Could be Kozy had titled a Hitt book Love Drive and changed it in favor of Snavely…

The Big Flick is also set in L.A. and the film industry.  The protagonist is 20-something Terry Wilson, a young writer with a smash first novel and a collection of stories on th way.  An old college friend, Zip Zachery, has established himself as a hot young producer with a couple of hit indie films under his belt, and has brought his old buddy Wilson to Tinsel Town to write his next film.  What that film is is anyone’s guess — there is no script, not even a treatment or idea, as  Zachery has rounded investors and studio backing based on the strength of Wilson’s hit novel. He’s also casting small parts for actresses, in exchange for investment from parents and sex from the eager starlets.

Whoever wrote this odd little Hollywood novel wrongly packaged as a sleaze wank book knows the business of filmmaking and the seediness of behind-the-scenes machinations of sex, lies, and double-speak required to get stories on screen.

This is territory I know well myself, having dealt with producers, agents, actors, and other types in Tinsel Town. (See the indie flick I wrote, The Watermelon, now distributed on DVD and Blu-Ray; plus I have had published novels and screenplays optioned here and there,won some screenwriting and festival awards, have optioned and pitched TV pilots, had a short documentary screen at Cannes last May, and soon.) There are some scenes and situations in this book that ring true to my experience, and probably just about any other writer whose virgin eyes have been popped when the illusion of Hollywood is shattered like a cheap wine bottle, and the whole tawdriness and ugliness of how things really work is revealed like a drunk, old, and worn stripper in a dark hole-in-the-wall bar.

Why The Big Flick wound up with Kozy is anyone’s guess  — was the author unable to place it with a mainstream house?  It could have been a Dell, Avon, Pryamid, or Ace title at the time, companies that surely paid better than Kozy.

The sexual stuff is minimal, as the case usually is with some sleazecore books; the core is a well-written yarn of a reclusive literary author’s slow corruption with sex, booze, and drugs as people chase after dreams of the visual image on the silver screen and all the lies fame and fortune Hollywood presents to the neophyte, writer, actress, directors alike.  It is a business truly run by fast-talking “producers” who are two steps away from the label con artist or thief.

Although published decades before Robert Downey, Jr., there is a Downey-like character, a damn fine actor who keeps having to go to detox, running off sets with models and hookers, and just a mess…

Wilson is placed in a hotel room, then an  apartment, to write the script.  He has been assigned a “secretary” who takes care of his any sexual need, but he has his heart set on this actress, Harriett.  Eventually he moves in with her.

Zachery goes over budget and to get more money, he signs a three-film contract with the distributors to do some monster movies. “Find me a lizard!” he cries.

When the movie screens, Wilson thinks it’s horrible but the audiences like it, get gets more writing work, the reviews are good…he doesn’t understand how Hollywood can like the crap the movie came out as, but he takes the money, the actress, and the life…