Archive for Max Collier

Diane – Max Collier (Midwood #F319, 1963)

Posted in Midwood Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on April 28, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A horrible photo cover from Midwood, but a great gem of a little novel tucked away in the bad packaging, akin to Max Collier’s The Mark of a Man.

The sexuality of young girls with older men is a strong staple in erotic fiction, especially after the court case with Lolita, which was quite tame and more suggestion than actuality.  In the 50s-60s sleaze books, the youngest female characters got were 17, though sometimes — such as Don Elliott’s/Silverberg’s Sexteen — they were 16.  In the 1970s, however, with publishers like London Fog and Surree House got into downright pedophilia.

The young girl in Diane, named Diane, is a precocious fifteen-year-old sex kitten that the protagonist, Adam Behr, meets in a bar while his wife is away on vacation.  Since the girl is in a bar and the bartender knows her, he assumes she’s at least 21, though a but young-looking. After some beers and talk, they leave and have sex twice, and later he goes to see her at her house and her mother catches them, informing him that he’s a dirty old man with jailbait.

Adam is stymied.

Then the mother tries to blackmail him, he says forget it, and she calls the cops.  He’s arrested, arraigned, gets bail, gets a lawyer, and waits for his wife to come home.

Meanwhile, despite the statutory rape charge, Adam’s street cred is boosted. He’s a quiet office manager at a paper distributor (The Office?) in Los Angeles and his make co-workers see him in a new light, as do the women…and women find him more sexually interesting — he winds up getting laid out of it, though he may go to jail for one-to-three years for catching some underage action.

Seems Diane has quite a few former lovers and lover, older men and boys alike.  And her mother was investigated for child abandonment.  Diane’s mother is a drunken floozy who goes from one man to another, and sometimes Diane sleeps with her boyfriends. How long the girl has been doing this is unknown.

But Diane says she is in love with Adam — she says no man has ever “turned her on” the way he does.  He finds her giving and better in bed than his wife — which he tells his wife when she kicks him out.

He gets a new apartment and nextdoor is a sexy school teacher and they get to know each other…

Throughout the ordeal and shake-up of his life, Adam takes a sarcastic attitude, as if he were living in absurdism…and a way he is, and finds he needed this disruption of his life and to get out of a marriage that was dull and a job that was killing his soul.

Diane frees him, and he owes her, and even goes back to her for more sex and innocent comfort.

The writing is excellent and the ending sardonic.  Again, a literary novel packaged as sleaze.

This one gets an A-minus and a high recommendation.

Say When by Max Collier (Midwood, 1963)

Posted in Midwood Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Collier - Say When

I was blown away by Max Collier’s Mark of a Man (aka Carol Came First), reviewed here, so I came to this one with high expectations and was somewhat disappointed.  Say When is a good read, just not the work of literature at the other one.

This one falls in the same categry as Sin Professor, reviewed here, the story of a college English prof who has a break down — call it mid-life crises or a rebellion against academic constraints.

Dr. Joseph Gorell, “Joe,” your average joe academic, wakes up one morning and is bored with his dreary life: he is in his late 30s, wakes up the same time every day, same wife in bed, same breakfast, same classes.

In his morning class, he discusses early newspapers as works of English lit, and comments on risque political cartoons showing fornication. This is a shocker!  The department admin. has sat in and is not pleased and later scorns Joe.  Joe is offended by this censorship, so the next day he talks about the origins of erotic fiction and drawings, and their use as political commentary.  He also shows up unshaven and half drunk.  He gets barred for the day from his classes.

As in the other book, I suspect whoever Collier was, he had experiece in academia, because his depiction of institutional politics rings true.  Much like Orrie Hitt’s Taboo Thrills, reviewed here, Say When doubles as both lurid Midwood book and criticism of censorship, attitudes about sexual literature, and the oppression of expression.  Collier sets out to expose the pettiness of administrations who claim to support “academic freedom” but are hypocrites.

Joe leaves his wife, rents a room, and sits down to write a novel about sex.  He is banned from teaching, grows a beard, starts to drinks and womanize — there are two students, one a campus slut, the other an innocent; there is the woman he shares office space with and the woman who runs the boarding house.  He juggles and sleeps with them all, feeling liberated.

The book cover is a bit misleading — indicating it is about a campus slut who collects men, when that character is a minor one. This is about Joe and his breakdown and escape from conformity.

Worth reading as a sleaze book and a Collier book.

Carole Came Back by John Turner (Midwood Books, 1963)

Posted in Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Turner - Carol Came Back

Have no idea who JohnTurner was; he did a handful of Midwoods (exclusively, it seems)  like Greg Hamilton, Jess Draper, Vin Fields, Grant Corgan, and Max Collier did.  In fact, I suspect that Collier and Turner were the same person, as the writing style is similar.  I’m not sure of this yet — need to read a few more books from both to determine this.

The sex is heavier than most Midwoods of this time, like Collier, and the book is well-written, like Collier.  While there are no graphic descriptions, Turner lets us know that unusual kinky things are going on “with hands and mouth” that most “normal” people do not experience in bed.

Bob Harper is a businessman in his late 20s, married, no kids.  One day he’s in his office and an old college flame calls, Carole — she’s in Boston and wants to see him.  Last time he spoke to her, she broke his heart in college by taking off tio Europe and marrying a Swedish guy and having a baby.

Now she has fled Europe and is in Boston, divorcing her hubby, baby in tow, and she wants to rekindle the romance from college with “Robbie.”

Bob is floored — she was the love of his life that he never got over; she showed him kinky and strange things in bed that he’s never asked his wife to do.

He goes to see Carole and of course she seduces him into her hotel room bed — she knows what buttons to push, she knows he is still in love with her and never quite got over her.

Only, he still loves his wife.  To make matters worse, his secretary has the hots for him and offers herself in his office.  He fires her. To get back, she calls his wife and tells the wife about Carole.

Bob is a mess — he wants to tell Carole to go away but he’s pussy-whipped and weak.  His wife decides that the only way to keep him is to do the kinky stuff “with my hands and mouth” that Carole did, and show her husband she can be just as dirty as his old flame.

We never see Carole’s baby — she’s in a hotel room the whole time, but the baby is never around, but may be at her mother’s house, as her mother lives outside Boston.

A curious love-triangle story with an ending that is not quite “happy” but not quite expected either.  A recommended vintage relationship novel (not “sleaze”)…I will be reading more Turner, such as The Captive, The Sinners, Christine, and Soft in the Shadows — all which have enticing-sounding story lines.

If anyone knows who John Turner really was (and Max Collier), please speak up!

Turner - Christine

Turner - Soft in the Shadows

The Mark of a Man by Max Collier (Midwood Books, 1963)

Posted in Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Collier - Mark of a Man

It’s always a joy to sit down and read a “sleaze” novel and discover a gem of literature.  Max Collier’s The Mark of a Man is just that (reprinted in 1966 as Cathy Came First, a dumb title). Collier - cathy Came First

I have no idea who Max Collier is — probably a pen name, but I cannot find any information on him. If anyone out there knows, please tell me on this blog.

Collier wrote a hanful of books for Midwood, and one for Newstand, Sherri.  He may have written more under other names.  In his introduction to Lawrence’s Block’s Cinderella Sims (aka $20 Lust from Nightstand), Ed Gorman writes:

I read a lot of Midwood and Beacon and Nightstand novels […] I quickly came to realize that some of the writers were much better than others.  Max Collier, for example, wrote some of the most perverse books I’ve ever read.  As I remember them, he frequently paired up his bitter hunchbacked heroes with heiresses […]  Orrie Hitt sometimes got too perverse for my tastes but usually supplied a kind of second-rate James T. Farrell-like blue collar take on the standard “sexy” plots.

The Mark of a Man is a coming-of-age, sexual-awakening story of 17-year old Paul, son of Polish immigrants, in an unnamed town in America where there is a mill and shabby streets. Paul runs with a gang — they roll drunks, steal car parts, and beat people up for kicks.  Paul has a spark to better himself, though.

He gets a job as a telegram messenger.  The first chapter opens with him delivering a message to an attractive older woman but it’s a ruse.  Her husband is there. He wants to watch Paul make love to her.  Paul gives in, and as he has sex with the woman, she holds her husband’s hand.

This is all strange for virgin Paul.  Who are these weird people?  Why did they want that?  He goes back to find out. The woman is alone. She says she loves her husband but he is unable to make love to her “like a man” so they do these things…

It’s a powerul chapter: both sexy and sad and strange.

Then comes Cathy, the town nymphomaniac, a girl who likes to invite a group of boys up when her mom is gone and have sex with them all as they watch each other.  Paul observes this and doesn’t understand this girl — why does she do this?

Paul is an ideal romantic — he believes in love, marriage, kids, normalcy, and he’s surrounded by freaks.

He next meets Kit, a 24-year-old bohemian scholar and artist.  Her father is also a bohemian and they hang around a group of odd artist, writers, painters, philosophers, who all believe in free love and free will and impulse.

Paul falls in love with Kit and wants to marry her. She says she will live with him, but because of her parents’ awful divorce, she does not believe in marriage.  She tries to get Paul to accept her bohemian lifestyle and ideas, but he doesn’t understand them.

He decides to quit school and get a job in the mill, where his father has broken his back for 25 years.  Kit hates the working class element and sys she will break up with him if he does. She wants Paul to finish school, go to college, “because you have so much potential.”  He’s stubborn: he thinks he can work for a short time, save money, and they can leave the town and be married.

His parents aren’t happy, either. They want him to have a better life than a mere mill-worker.

At the mill, Paul befriens Walt, a happy-go-lucky guy who lives for ork, booze and sex.  They have fun.  Paul takes Kit to a dance hall and she has fun but still finds the working class envirnment detestable.

We know tragedy is coming: someone will die at the mill, the love between Paul and Kit will wane, and Paul will come full circle in his education and get the hell out of Dodge…

The book reads somewhat autobiographically; sex scenes aside, this novel has suffered by being a Midwood book and packaged as sleave, even with the cool Paul Rader cover.  This book could have been published by a mainstream house and found a better audience.

So: who the hell is Max Collier?

I will discuss more of his books later…

Collier His to Command

Collier - Male Call

Collier - Test of Love

Cool Covers

Posted in Don Elliott, Midbook Books, Nightstand Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

No reviews this post, just cool covers of books I will be getting to in the next month or so.

Grant - Boss Lady

Budoir - Summer Stock SexBaby FaceSex BetweenElliott - Gang Girl

Collier His to Command

Ellis - Let's Play House

Three Strange WomenI Prefer GirlsLord - Candy