Friday, September 14, 2018

Paperback 1036: Circle of Sin / Leslie Behan (Domino 84-700)

Paperback 1036: Domino Books 84-700 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Circle of Sin
Author: Leslie Behan
Cover artist: Photo cover

Condition: 7/10 (tight and square, but w/ water stains on edges)
Estimated value: $25-30

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Domino700
Best things about this cover:
  • No single word is going to derail your Sexy Train faster or more efficiently than "groping."
  • Jeez, male gaze much?
  • "Now why don't you sit up here on my desk?" "Wh-?" "Shhh. It's standard practice." "Uh, OK, I guess. But who's that?" "Him? Oh, that's just Steve. Ignore him." "Uh..." "Good, now whatever you do, do Not look at the lamp." "Bu-" "AVERT YOUR EYES!"
  • The psychologist's suit is legit hot.
Domino700bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Groups gone WILD {CRACK!}
  • "Revolved achingly" = me trying to dine at one of them revolving restaurants, no sir, I'll take my food
  • stationary, as god intended, thank you very much
  • I love how this goes from dumb-ass sex fiction to super dumb-ass Agatha Christie mystery on a dime! Wait, we got a body!? I'm in.
Page 123~
"You met a girl?" Durango looked at him closely. Somehow he found himself believing the answer. "Where? What girl?"
"I picked her up on Broadway. She was standing in a doorway. A hooker. I went up to her place with her."
This novel has to be sexier than this dude Forrest Gumping his way through Sex Town. Hang on ... OK here we go:
Her hands moved downward, over the tiny waist to the flat belly. She massaged the belly for a long time, moving farther downward slowly to the trembling mound beneath it. And then her fingers were nearing their target, the tips becoming slippery with the dew of passion they found there. They caught the tiny polyp of flesh awaiting them and stroking it.
I can't stop laughing at that last "sentence." As with the cover copy, this writer really, really knows how to ruin whatever meager sex vibe he's able to get going. I mean, "polyp"? That's something you discover during a colonoscopy, why would you use it to describe the clitoris, dear lord? Am I really supposed to believe a woman wrote this? "Leslie" ... OK, Leslie, aside from possibly a fake name, could also be a dude's name. All I know is a guy wrote this. A guy whose grasp of grammar, like his grasp of sexiness, is not very, uh firm. ("... and stroking it"?)

~RP

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Paperback 1035: The Man With the Getaway Face / Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) (Pocket Books 6180)

Paperback 1035: Pocket Books 6180 (PBO, 1963)

Title: The Man With the Getaway Face
Author: Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: I just paid $20 for it, which felt low

Perma6180
Best things about this cover:
  • It's got Richard Stark's name on it
  • Those. Hands.
  • Harry Bennett has no time for GGA (Great Girl Art). Just put the freaked-out lady in the far back corner and give us more of the Mummy With Giant Hands!
  • The hair on Those Hands is gonna haunt me
  • My wife was with me when I bought this at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, so she can attest that the following minor anecdote is true: we walked down the stairs to their basement-level store, I opened the door, saw this book directly in front of me, walked straight to it (looking at nothing and no one else), picked it up, checked the price, and knew it was mine. Then a nice woman appeared next to me and asked, in the hushed voice of someone suggesting something at least vaguely illegal, "Would you like to see our annex?" She explained that there was a room in the back where they kept their large supply of vintage paperbacks. Would I like to see it? Uh. Yes. Yes I would.
Perma6180bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Price tag ... is an interesting direction to go in, design-wise. By "interesting," I think I mean "bizarre." There is no consumer culture to speak of in this novel, which is about an armored-car heist.
  • Also "interesting" that there's nothing on this tag about the details of the novel. The fact that he had plastic surgery is relevant, but it's not the main event. Why hide the action and describe the novel so vaguely that it sounds dull? It's like the copywriter couldn't be bothered to know anything about the plot and got all his info from the (admittedly longish) title.
  • A cover that dramatic should not have a back cover this anemic.
Page 123~
Eleven thousand went into the box, which he then wrapped up and addressed: Charles Willis, c/o Pacifica Beach Hotel, Sausalito, California, Please Hold. Unless the Pacifica Beach had changed hands in the three years since he'd last been there, they would know enough to stick the carton into the hotel safe and forget about it till Parker showed up again.
This is making me remember this novel and how good it is. I really should plow through all the Parker novels, in order, once and for bleeping all. I've only made it through the first three, I think, before other things grabbed my attention. I think I have my next reading project now.

~RP

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Paperback 1034: The Professor and the Co-Ed / Babette Hall (Belmont B50-786)

Paperback 1034: Belmont B50-786 (unknown ptg, 1967)

Title: The Profesor and the Co-Ed
Author: Babette Hall
Cover artist: Uncredited

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10

BelB50786
Best things about this cover:

  • The Advanced Hugging seminar was beginning to take its toll on Steve's knees...
  • "Oh Steve, I want ... I want ... something for these bare walls. A kitten poster, maybe? Oh, I wish I lived in a different dorm. Babette Hall is so drab!"
  • I like how this cover subverts expectations by placing a generic dude's back where the Great Girl Art should be.
  • I apparently own multiple editions of this book.

BelB50786bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • "Don't look so frightened!" he shouted, terrifyingly
  • "A child of sixteen?" I did not know they made "Co-Eds" that young.
  • "The teacher in me" 1000x LOL that's what she said
  • What is "the world's oldest predicament"? Prostitution? Pregnancy? Gym class?
  • Ladies Home Journal with the fake blurb! "Could you give us a blurb?" "Uh ... would you accept an aphorism?"

Page 123~
At seventeen sixteen was a million miles away. Why, I could hardly remember it, principally because I didn't especially want to.
I gotta borrow this one. "You ate the last donut." "Did I? ... I don't remember?" "It was 10 minutes ago." "10 minutes ... it's like a million miles." "There's still powder on your face. And on your hands. Look at your hands." "I don't especially want to."

~RP

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Paperback 1033: The Black Mass of Brother Springer / Charles Willeford (Black Lizard nn)

Paperback 1033: Black Lizard (no number) (1st ptg, 1989)

Title: The Black Mass of Brother Springer
Author: Charles Willeford
Cover artist: Kirwan

Condition: 9/10
Estimated value: $35-40

BlackLizNn
Best things about this cover:
  • An interesting variation on the "Killer's POV" cover. Hands that would normally be coming to strangle her are instead filled with Bible.
  • Those thumbs get creepier the longer you stare at them.
  • Willeford is a master. I have read stuff where he has written really interestingly and provocatively about race (and racism). I have no idea what kind of territory this book gets into, though...
BlackLizNnbc
Best things about this back cover:
  • He was white. She was ... ? So much white male gaze here. No idea if the book critiques or revels in this whole way of seeing blackness. I'd guess the former. I really should read it.
  • Jim Thompson is the author that got me into vintage paperback collecting (long story I'll tell some other time, when one of his books comes up ... or maybe I've told it already—I've been at this blog a long long time and there's lots I've forgotten about what stories I have and haven't told). Anyway, the irony here is that I don't care for Jim Thompson any more. He was the gateway ... but now the gateway has dissolved, or become irrelevant, or something. Weird how these things happen.
  • I think my next collecting effort will involve these '80s Black Lizards, before the imprint was bought out by Vintage (those early Vintage/Black Lizards were part of the whole Jim Thompson Gateway To Paperbackville...)
Page 123~
The shadow I stared at was not a part of the regular inventory I saw every day.
      And then the shadow stretched.
~RP

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Paperback 1032: Behind the Flying Saucer Mystery / George Adamski (Paperback Library 53-439)

Paperback 1032: Paperback Library 53-439 (1st ptg, 1967)

Title: Behind the Flying Saucer Mystery
Author: George Adamski
Cover artist: what is this cover, anyway?

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $8-12

PapLib 53-439
Best things about this cover:

  • What am I even looking at?
  • Feathers?
  • Wood shavings?
  • Arrow heads?
  • How 'bout you "rip the curtain of secrecy" from whatever this picture is?
  • And the little white streaks? Is this supposed to be a Rorschach-type dealie where I basically ascribe meaning based on my paranoid imagination? What if I'm just bored?

PapLib53-439bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • The QAn*n folks have nothing on this guy
  • "Since that fateful day in 1952 when he first lost his fucking mind, George Adamski became a known lunatic who somehow got a book contract"
  • "Men" LOL
  • The Brothers!
  • The Silence Group, Can I Join Please Shhhhhhhhh.... No Talking Ever
  • "Revolutionary" and "new" are both angry at being dragged into the whole "twelve-planet solar system" conversation
  • Jeez louise, this isn't his first UFO conspiracy theory book!?

Page 123~
... for he [Patrick Moore] had been one of the British astronomers, along with Dr. H. Percy Wilkins, who had confirmed the existence of the Mare Crisium bridge on the moon. He must have known for certain that someone had been using the moon as a base of operations, and the only logical ones were people from other planets.
Yes, that does sound like logic. Also, the idea of the Mare Crisium as the site of a lunar colony appears in Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, also from 1967, though I am sure that is a total coincidence, because no way George Adamski is getting his totally scientific ideas from fiction, no way, and if you don't believe me then you're probably part of the Silence Group. You Silence Groupies never quit.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, July 30, 2018

Paperback 1031: The Great Mail Robbery / Clarence Budington Kelland (Popular Library 432)

Paperback 1031: Popular Library 432 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: The Great Mail Robbery
Author: Clarence Budington Kelland
Cover artist: [Earle Bergey]

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $15-20

Pop432
Best things about this cover:
  • "Cheese it, fellas! It's Miss Smokestack 1952!"
  • Mr. Freaked Out Impossible-Over-the-Shoulder-Glance in the extreme foreground there is pretty special.
  • There is a lot happening in this manframe (n: a framelike structure composed primarily of man parts). There's shocked bighead, Li'l Cap'n Fearhand, and then Gunhand (he handles the guns). The lady does have a manic look—and she's radiating some kind of toxic emissions—but her body language says Bored Tween. Weird.
  • They Made A Living Out Of Death = C-minus pun irony

Pop432bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • HIS!
  • Inca! 
  • "This side of Hell," LOL. What's on the other side of Hell? A Wendy's?
  • "Suddenly there wasn't any robe." So she's some kind of ecdysiast-magician? Must be confusing for poor Will Scarlet.
  • This book should be called "Will Scarlet and the Starlet." Or "The Great Female Disrobery."
Page 123~
He had been immersed but a few minutes when his telephone rang irritatingly. He forced himself to get up and, dripping and shivering, walked to the table beside his bed where the telephone stood.
"Hello," he said impatiently.
"This," said a voice, "is Jahala Vidmar."
"... said a voice" is about as pure an example of needless wordery as you're ever gonna see. Made me laugh out loud and completely forget the horrific adverb abuse that preceded it.

~RP

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Paperback 1030: Damon Runyon Favorites / Damon Runyon (Pocket Books 158)

Paperback 1030: Pocket Books 158 (1st ptg, 1942)

Title: Damon Runyon Favorites
Author: Damon Runyon
Cover artist: criminally uncredited [Frank J. Lieberman]

Condition: 8.5/10
Estimated value: $20

PB158
Best things about this cover:

  • You guys it's just so beautiful. I don't really have much to say. It just evokes a whole era, a magical place and time, as seen through the haze of nostalgia. It's So Soft.
  • The orange is wonderfully bright. These early Pocket Books are rarely this nice, with the colors unfaded and the Permagloss largely intact (just the tiniest bits of pull-away on some of the edges). Not perfectly square, but perfectly tight. Pages are practically bone white. Not sure it's been read at all.
  • That cab!
  • I want to go to Mindy's *right now*.

PB158bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • Master Of The Main Stem! (!) (!?) (!!??)
  • I wonder when "according to Walter Winchell" stopped working.
  • Runyon is such an important popularizer of the colloquial speech and lowbrow slang that dominated mid-century crime fiction. Colorful New York characters. Big False Face! BFF!

Page 123~ (from "Sense of Humor")
"Why," he says, "do not you hear the news about Rosa? She takes the wind on me a couple of months ago for my friend Frankie Ferocious, and is living in an apartment over in Brooklyn, right near his house, although," Joe says, "of course you understand I am telling you this only to answer your question, and not to holler copper on Rosa."
Joe the Joker doesn't want to holler copper because Rosa spends money like nobody's business and Frankie is about to find out how expensive she is. Dames!

~RP

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