Archive for Sin on Wheels

Sin on Wheels – Don Elliott/Robert Silverberg (Nightstand Books #1516, 1960)

Posted in Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

In 1960, Robert Silverberg published two books titled Sin on Wheels — this one and one as Loren Beauchamp with Midwood.

The Midwood book has a classic Paul Rader cover and is a much sought-after collector’s item, the first edition often going for $70-100, the second in the $50-60 range.  This Nightstand  title also tends to have a high price on it (I got it for $7 on ebay, actually).

This Sin on Wheels is told by 24-year-old Fred Bryan who is working as a driving instructor and enjoying the attentions of the rich older women he teaches how to drive cars — somewhat the same set up at Orrie Hitt’s Hired Lover (as Fred Martin), but not exactly the same; in this one, the driving school is just a front for a gigolo service for society women.

Fred is recently discharged from the army, wondering what to do, when while in New York City he crosses paths with a guy he knew in his unit who is working at the driving school, making good money and having lots of sex.

The same day Fred gets the job, he meets a girl in a diner, Nina, and picks her up — or she picks him up, it’s never quite sure, and they go from a one-nighter to a relationship.

Fred has some sexist, 1950s double-standard ideas when it comes to women, or marriage:

I told myself not to be a damned fool. Nina was a great girl, a looker, vivacious, good in bed. She had been around.  For one thing, I wasn’t interested in settling down and getting married for a long, long time. And, for another, I didn’t want my wife to be some Greenwich Village artist who had probably been laid by half a dozen guys a week before we met […] I knew what kind of wife I would want when I was ready to get married. She would be about nineteen, maybe twenty, demure, a virgin. That was important. I wouldn’t touch her until our wedding night, and then I’d teach her about sex.

I guess I was being hypocritical. I mean, for a guy who had been laying girls since the age of sixteen to want a virgin for a wife. But that was how I sincerely felt.  I wanted to be the first and only man in the girl’s life […] A girl like Nina was swell to pal around with, but not so promising as material for  a wife. (p. 59-60)

This sort of attitude is not only so 1950s but present day in certain religious and puritanical thought.  Ideal, maybe, but the usual double-standard — a guy can learn about sex with harlots and tramps, but the wife has to be pure.  Incidentally., Silvererg wrote, as L.T. Woodward, M.D., a faux “study” called Virgin Wives, about what men go thorugh when marrying a woman who has xero sexual experience.

The novel is really about the two of them, Fred and Nina, and Fred’s sexual adventures on the side.  He doesn’t tell her about the rich older women, he doesn’t ind a need to — he has sex with them during the day, with Nina at night.  Nina days she wants a so-string-attached open relationship — they’re friends who have sex, nothing more.  She’s a painter, a wanna-be bohemian with liberal thoughts.  They even get an apartment together.

But soon she breaks down and tells Fred she’s pregnant, and not by him.  When she met him at the diner, she was already quite along, carrying the baby of a rich playboy who has dumped her. (In an unlikely coincidence, this playboy happens to be the brother-in-law of one of her rich older lady clients.)

Nina is ready to leave but he won’t let her, he has fallen in love with her.  He helps her get an illegal, expensive abortion, and vows to marry her and quit his gigolo job — he seems to have forsaken his initial ideal in a wife, and accept Nina’s past with his love for her.

There’s problems. though, like one of the husbands finds out, and one of his “pupils,” an Amazon-like 44-inch bust six foot heriess nympho becomes possessive and threatens to expose him as a male whore — or is that manwhore?

This is actually, in many ways, a dark novel, a novel about lonely people with basic needs, how money does not buy happiness for the rich, how people make terrible mistakes in the name of lust more than love, how people ind love in the most unusual circumstances…

An excellent one from Silverberg, an A grade for sure, and a good one to be reprinted some day.

The 1973 Reed Nightstand imprint was re-titled The Instructor with pretty much the same cover, except the woman is wearing hot tight pink pants rather than a tight skirt, and she has a halter on, rather than being topless. The car in the background has been updated from a 50s jalopy to a 70s Ford model.  The guy seems to be the same.

Sin Alley by Andrew Shaw (Lawrence Block and ?), Lesiure Book #613

Posted in Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Shaw - Sin Alley

The cover alone is worth the price of admission.  It’s such a cool cover that, like Midwood’s Sin of Wheels art by Paul Rader or Gil Brewer’s The Bitch, it’s been reprinted on matchbooks, keychains, coffee mugs, and posters.

paul-rader-sin-on-wheels Brewer - The Bitch






The cover also reminds me so much of this former dancer at L.A.’s Jumbo’s Clown Room. When I showed her this cover (she no longer dances, but is an esatte chef in Bel Air) her eyes popped and she said, “That’s me!” Really — same body type, same hair, same lips.  Strange.

There’s no date on this, but as a Cornith Leisure Book, it would date between 1965-66.  It is on Lynn Munroe’s list of “are they or are they not” Lawrence Blocks from his article,”The First Andrew Shaw.”  There’s also question as to whether or not Block continued to write for Hamling and Kemp after 1963, when he and his agent split from Scott Meredith — after all, Meredith contracted all titles to Hamling & Kemp via The Black Box.

I think I’ve become adept at spotting Block’s style.  For one, in general, both his and Westlake’s Nightstands and Midwoods are between 9 and eleven chapters, often ten.  It’s a pragmatic thing — to get a 50,000 words manuscript, you do ten 5,000 word chapters, or nine 6,000 word chapters, and at on chapter a day, in less than two weeks you have a finished book. (Robert Silverberg’s were all fourteen chapters, until after 1965 when Greenlead required all books to be an exact 12 chapters).

Block also has a way of writing about Greenwich Village, a section of Manhattan that he obviously loves.  This is how Sin Alley opens, with colorful depictions of the the streets, trees, and builings of the Village, as well as its doomed youth in th streets:

It is a tough neighborhood.

They fourteen they have smoked their first marijuana cigaratte; by age fifteen they have taken their first hit of H; by sixteen they have graduated to sin-popping and by sixteen they are ready to shoot with medical hardware.

They have already had their first love by age twelve. In the basement or boiler room or hallway or on a fat rooftop, with a girl who is a known tramp, someone from the crowded apartment next door or the street. They start early and soon learn all about that. They know how to get their kicks. (pp. 6-7)

That passage is pure early vintage Block, as if taken from the pages of Pads Are for Passion.  In fact, there are a lot of “pads,” man, in early Block, and, like, beatnik lingio, Daddy-O.

In Sin Alley, The Pad is a special place, a cool space, it is “five rooms on the top floor of a four-story brick painted apartment building” (p. 8).  No one lives there and some think it is a myth; only those with a key, or know someone with a key, can get in.  No one knows who pays for it.  But The Pad is a safe place to take a chick and make her, smoke M or shoot H, play jazz and trip and float and ride the reefer wave.

So happens with a girl named Marion in chapter one; she meets a sexy beatnik trumpet player, they have dinner, he gives her booze and speed, and they go up to the pad.  He tells her to never talk about The Pad and to deny being there if ever asked. She’s too high to remeber anyway.

Chapters two and thre are in completely different writing styles which causes me to think this is a collaborative novel.  Chapter two reads like Westlake’s dense early style and I believe chapter three could be William Coons, who was already ghosting Andrew Shaws as of 1962.

This is a multi-character book, almost a collection of stories, a biout various people in the Village finding their way to The Pad and experiencing mind0-blowing sex and drugs and music.  We don’t get back to Marion’s story until chapter six, and back to Block’s writing — in fact, his chaptrs are choppy, stucatto, single word paragraphs that flow like jazz riffs, returning to themes — the way we return to Marion half way through the book.

It’s an okay book, I’m not a fan of multi-character novels or collections disguised as a novel, because you don’t get to know the characters or even care for them.  Plus, the different writing styles throughout make it an nerratic read.  But like I said at the top, the cover is worth the price of admission into this pad, Daddy-O.

Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks — The Coolness of the Past

Posted in Uncategorized, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Holliday - Scars of List

Welcome this Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks Blog.  The purpose of this blog is to post some hot, cool paperback covers for the gaze of your eye sockets, and to review and discuss selected titles.

Most of the titles will be from Don Elliott, Lauren Beauchamp, David Challon, Mark Ryan  (all pen names of Robert Silverberg), Gerrold Watkins and Mel Johnson (pen names of Barry N. Malzberg), as “notes” toward the two monographs I am writing, one on Malzberg and one on Silverberg and his pen names.

(But I will discuss others too as I go along — Joan Ellis, March Hastings, Andrew Shaw [aka Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake], Don Bellmore, etc etc.]

I wanted to write a short monograph or essay on the Don Elliott/Laoren Beauchamp books, as they were/are of high quality, compared to many books of the time or even erotica today.  They also exhibit Silverberg’s early style. But I was uncertain where such an essay or book would find a home — best here on the net.

I have discussed Barry Malzber’s US-era Olympia Press titles under his name and Gerrold Watkins in a monograph, Barry N.  Malzberg: Beyond Science Fiction, Toward Psychoanalysis (Borgo Press) due out late 2009, but I do not have 3 of the Watkins and none of the Johnson (Midwood Books) that are hard to find…as I do locate them, I will post a blog here.

Beauchamp - Sin on WheelsDon't Ever Love MeCarnival GirlGang GirlsGang Girl

Kept - MidwoodLord - Badelliott - beatnik

Horizontal Woman


Instant Sex A

Challon - Suburban Sin Club

4 Nightstand Books Don Elliott Covers

Posted in Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Elliott - Black Market ShameElliot - Summertime AffairElliott - Sin on WheelsElliott - Convention Girl
elliott - flesh lessions