Archive for Merit Books

Boudoir Treachery – Arnold Marmor (Merit Books, 1960)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on January 30, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I sat down to enjoy another Marmor crime novel and from the first page, I thought, Why does this sound so familiar? Well, because Boudoir Treachery is the same novel as Torrid Wenches…or, it seems, Torrid Wenches is a re-titled reprint of Boudoir Treachery.  Although both books have 1960 copyright dates, Boudoir has a cover price of 35 cents and Torrid is 60 cents…so Torrid probably came out in 1963-4.

Camerarts was notorious for doing this with their Novel and Merit lines, re-issuing books 2, 3, sometimes 4 times with new titles, often only a year apart. Orrie Hitt hated this, because he knew his fans were buying what they thought was a new book from him, only to get a book published a year or two beforehand.

I think I only paid $7 for this one, so no big deal. The cover fits the storyline better than Torrid, although the latter is more enticing.

Explosive Teaser – Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1963)

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on January 30, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A pretty good one here, and again: did Goff lift anything from Prather for this?

This is a Vegas novel, narrated by Barry, a 23-year-old dreamy hunk crooner, grew up in the Virginia coal mines, learned to play guitar and sing, cut a record that went Gold, got a gig in a Vegas room where he packs the women, old ladies and teens and lookers, and has the pick of any each night…but he is secretly married to Adrian, a gorgeous lounge singer in the same room. Their marriage has t be secret so their fans will think they are single and available.

A problem arises when an out of town housing developer gets a lucky streak and wins $150,000 from the hotel. The boss, Boccio, wants to keep the guy, Henderson, there so he will lose the money back the hotel — such a chunk will get the Syndicate boys back in Chicago pissed and Baccio could lose his job, or a hand.  Henderson has fallen for Adrian, so Boccio wants her to “entertain” him, to keep him in Vegas, to encourage him to bet heavy and lose…

Well, neither Barry nor Adrian are keen on this, because she will have to fuck the guy t keep him in Vegas, to promise to. Boccio informs Barry that it would be unwise to say no, and offers a $10K kick back if they get their money back from Henderson.

Barry and Adrian try to take a week-long trip away from Vegas that night, but Boccio and his two henchmen catch them — they beat Barry up pretty bad, and make Adrian keep her date with Henderson.

Barry is certain his wife will notive in, but when he comes to after the beating, he sees her standing naked on a craps table…Henderson is rolling dice  have her…if he wins, he doesn’tet her; if he loses, he gets her…so he loses her…and Barry watches in horror as the man fucks his wife on the crap table, and instead of fighting him off, she is enjoying it, encouraging the man…and then later Boccio shows Barry a hdden-camera 8 mm film of Henderson and Adrian going at it in a room — she does not seem like the Adrian the wife we had seen at the top of the novel: she talks dirty, smokes and drinks, throws herself on Henderson, does “perverse” things with him…and all Barry can do is watch and cringe and wonder if he really knows the woman he married…

Goff writes these scenes in a cold way, but you too cringe as you read what Adrain does, what the mob makes her do, how Boccio and his boys get a nasty thrill out of hurting Barry, physically and mentally.

Torrid Wenches – Arnold Marmor (Merit Books, 1960)

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on January 24, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Another swift and nifty crime tale from Arnold Marmor with the typical Camerarts/Merit title and cover.

Karl is a real estate developer come into New York City over the death of his brother, a freelance investigative journalist. It was made to look like his brother committed suicide but Karl knew his brother well, and he was not the suicida; type.  Karl goes on his own investiagtion, racking up a list of possible suspects: the shady lawyer who stole ten grand from his brother’s estate; his brother’s floozy lover/call girl, Lola Knight; a magazine editor; a rich party throewe who makes his money from blackmail; and his brother’s jilted ex-girlfriend, Janice, a TV actress who soon becomes Karl’s lover…

Th wrap-up is a bit implausible, but reading Marmor’s prose is fun: fast and witty, a lot of snappy dialogue and wise-cracking a la Chandler or Robert Parker’s Spencer.

Abnormal Assault Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1962)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on January 20, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Another quirky fun Merit crime book from Goff. Charles Simmons is fresh out of journalism school and has joined the weekly paper, The Kirby Bugle, in small mid-western town Kirby, mainly to be near his girlfriend, Marcy, who is in the teacher’s school. This set-up seems to be a nod to Jim Thompson’s Savage Night, even with the buffoon local sheriff.

Simmons is replacing a reporter who was murdered, a crime that the paper’s editor, egomaniac Higgins, has been hounding the sheriff to solve.

Just as Simmons lands into town, crime erupts: the hit-and-run murder of the town drunk, who is the secret husband of the town floozy, Polly Cast, a strumpet that Simmons quickly cheats on Marcy with, and then is defiled and  murdered. Then there is a fire in the women’s dorms in the college, and then Simmons is knocked out and Marcy is brutally raped and disfigured: her nipples slashed off, her face beaten to a pulp…hence the title, Abnormal Assault.

For a while we think Simmons might be the culprit and has another personality, killing the other reporter to get the job, assaulting Marcy for his deep hatred of her; killing Polly for having seduced him. No, too easy…

The real killer rapist maiac is also too easy, and Goff drops plenty of clues and hints. It’s a toss from Citizen Kane, the newspaper publisher creating the news. Higgins wants to up the circulation of the Bugke, get national wire syndication, sensstional stories of blood, sexual crime sprees and madness…so why not…

The Genuine Wanton by Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1963)

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on January 6, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is strange…apparently I read and wrote about this one almost two years ago in February, 2010. I do not recall either reading or blogging about it…and what I sid in that post I was going to say here. Is my memory going? Have I slipped into an alternate universe?

Very strange…I still like this Goff, though, plagazrized from Prather or not.

Carnal Rage by Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1962)

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on December 26, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I have curiously intrigued by the books from Jerry M. Goff, Jr., since reading Thrill Crazy, Wanton Wench!, and others, and the scandal of the plagarism from Prather books. Carnal Rage has to be the best of them so far.

This short 30,000 word novel is narrated by an auto mechanic named Roscoe, a quite and quietly insane person who now and then gets an uncontrolable urge to rape and murder women.  His boss throws an engagement party for a fellow mechanic who is getting married to gorgeus Marcie who Roscoe thinks is too uppity with her good looks and strong perfume. After the party, he slips out of the apartment and spies on her, then follows her and rapes her in a park. It is a brutal and violent rape. Marcie is a virgin but she seems to turn passionate; she urges Roscoe to rape her hard and good, her face bloody…this is most likely Roscoe’s delusion. He leaves her near dead. Later, she is in the hosptal with broken bones and comatose.

He lives with Ann, a homely girl who is afraid she may lose him — she has followed him on three moves t different cites. In Cleveland and Pittsburgh, he raped and murdered, and afraid te cops might track him, he always moves and Ann follows. A mechanic can get work anywhere.

The cops question everyone who was at the party. Roscoe learns a stripper in a near by club has briefly seen him. Worried she might identify him, Roscoe tracks her down and rapes and kills her too.

His rambings are Thompson-esque, like The Killer Inside Me. Or maybe Gordon Lish’s Dear Mr. Capote. Roscoe does not believe there is anything wrong with him, and has no moral issues with his capitol crimes: he sees himself as a regular guy who has these crazy urges and needs now and then and he has to act on them as if it were natural.

Ann finds out the truth, but she stands by him. She offers herself::”If you need t rape someone, raoe me.” But he cannot. He loves her in his own weird way.

The wrap-up is hokey and illogical but this was still a guilty pleasure of a manic read.

Hell Cat by Arnold Marmor (Merit Books, 1961)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on September 7, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

As noted before, Arnold Marmor — not a pen name — was a regular guy in the detective, crime, and SF pulps in the 40s and 50s, then turned to, as many hacks did, the sleaze houses that marketed fine genre literature as smut.

Hell Cat opens in a strip club with a new dancer on stage — she calls herself El Gato, wears a cat suit she strips off, keeps a cat mask on the whole time. The men go wild for her.  But it seems she may be a jewel thief.

The book is narrated by a guy whose a friend of the club photographer that El Gato punches backstage, in a hurry.  He wants to know what happened, which leads him to an insurance investigator looking into the theft of a pretty pricey necklace made of rare South African diamonds (there’s a chapter set in South Africa about the origins of those diamonds).  Seems a security guard was punched out by a woman similar to the El Gato incident. The neclace heist happened an hour after El Gato’s set — two and two: El Gato is the culprit.

Marmor didn’t write the best of these kind of books, but he was a competent professional genre author and we’ve found his work so far, like Hell Cat, entertaining reads.