Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Paperback 999: All Shot Up / Chester Himes (Ace T-434)

Paperback 999: Avon T-434 (PBO, 1960)

Title: All Shot Up
Author: Chester Himes
Cover artist: Uncredited (!!) (update: appears to be work of George Ziel)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $65-80

AceT434
Best things about this cover:
  • Gah, so great. So so great. Multiple scenes of hot hardboiled greatness. Tough-guy mug, sexy naked lady, trenchcoat gunfight ... bar! All the good things.
  • Chester Himes is fantastic. Coffin Ed and Grave Digger are unique and important figures in the history of detective fiction. Badass *and* hilarious. Their dialogue is amazing, as are their razor-sharp observations on race relations in the city. Highly recommended.
  • Either that dude is holding the wrong end of the cigarette or he's holding a very tiny test tube.

AceT434bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Big on alliteration, this copywriter. First babes bourbon and bullets, now hailing in Harlem...
  • "Eight—Count 'em, eight—corpses." Eight, OK, I believe you, eight. Jeez. Don't get so defensive.
  • "Skidding on ice and breathing fire"—which Game of Thrones book was that?

Page 123~

"I'd rather be bit in the rear by a boa constrictor than sitting here waiting for something to happen, and I can't even guess what," he complained bitterly.

It's a boa constrictor ... I mean it can bite, sure, but ... it's kind of known for ... the other ... oh nevermind.

~RP

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Paperback 998: Mig Alley / Robert Eunson (Ace D-365)

Paperback 998: Ace D-365 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Mig Alley
Author: Robert Eunson
Cover artist: Verne Tossey

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $8-10

AceD365
Best things about this cover:
  • That is the face of a man of literally insane confidence: "I will die and be reborn and rule the heavens. Yes, this is a good death."
  • There are a lot of planes in this shot, all of them like three yards from each other. Is this normal / physically possible?
  • The way you know this cover was designed exclusively for straight dudes is that she looks fantastic whereas he looks like what would happen if the contents of a vacuum bag suddenly came to life and took the form of a remarkably graceless vampire.

AceD365bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • MIGs crossing the YALU! This scratches all of my crossword itches!
  • I find the motion lines on MIG ALLEY adorable.
  • On the Sexy-Name-O-Meter, I gotta believe Homer McCullough registers pretty low.

Page 123~
"Let's get ourselves attached to a couple of these Chinese doll-babies and see what happens."
The waitress was back with our drinks so I said, "Bring two hostesses, please."
"Whach [sic!] kind you like? Tall, skinny, fatso?" She laughed.
"A short one," Mac said, "just like you."
Yes. Yes, I do believe the guy on the front cover would do / say all of this. Yes. On-brand.

[The Orientalism goes to 11 over the course of the next few pages, to the point of incoherence: "Her hips, however, bulged to the seams of the dress, giving the sultry hint of the East." Why Does That Last Phrase Even Exist?! I mean, you were doing so well, right up to "dress," and then, like those MIGs on the front cover ... !?!?]

~RP

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Paperback 997: The Mask on a Wanton's Torso / John Reade (Venus VV104)

Paperback 997: Venus Books VV104 (PBO, 1964)

Title: The Mask on a Wanton's Torso*
Author: John Reade
Cover artist: a photographer in the anteroom of hell

Condition: 9/10
Estimated value: $20-ish

[newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

VenusVV104
Best things about this cover:
  • Looking at this cover is about as close to watching a snuff film as I'll ever come. It's horrifying. I feel like the cameraman murdered her like five seconds after this shot was taken. Or else she was paid in heroin and sent back out into the snow dressed just like that. Most of my sleaze paperbacks are campy fun to look at. This one, no, not.
  • If you burn that couch, hundreds of damned souls are unleashed into the world, to torture and haunt the living.
  • "Here, put this on"—the world's most negligent art director
  • Ah, the world of erotic nonsense phrases—so delicious. Lust game! Sin secret! Wanton's torso!?!?
  • *You see how I put an asterisk by the title (up top)? That's because ... well, how to describe it? This book is unique, in my experience, in having a title on the cover that Does Not Match The Title On The Spine (which reads "The Mask *OF* the Wanton's Torso"(!?)). But it's uniqueness doesn't stop there. Forget two titles—this book .... Has Two Authors: WHO IS PHIL BOTNER?!
VenusVV104int

And the back cover:

VenusVV104bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Stud Hunter! I think I own one of those.
  • Shame event! Passion fling!  FLESH GAIETY!!! Beat that ... every other back cover sleaze copywriter.
  • That's not how en dashes work.
  • Yikes, even the line spacing on this is disgusting.

Page 123~ (brace yourself)

There was a door there. She could not remember how she had come upstairs. Frantically she opened it. There was only a tiny passageway, leading to another door. Frantically she thought it might be a back way down, down and out of this house.

Torn between laughing at Double Frantically and crying at the attempted poetry of that second "down,."

~RP

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Paperback 996: Playgirl For Hire / Sylvia Sharon (Domino Books 82-104)

Paperback 996: Domino Books 82-104 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Playgirl For Hire
Author: Sylvia Sharon (pseud. of Paul Little)
Cover artist: photo cover

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $25-30

Domino82-104
Best things about this cover:
  • "Put down that drink and let's go do some tumbling? Whaddya say?"
  • I assume these ladies are supposed to be facsimiles of Playboy Bunnies (?) but aside from the liquor and the heels, and maybe the floor, this cover seems less "big-time vice" and more "back stage at the taping of a yoga class for public access TV."
  • "Oh, Patti, I feel so enmeshed in big-time vice." "Those are just stockings, dearie."

Domino82-104bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, the old "daddy issues lead Kitty to sin city" narrative. Klassic.
  • There's a haven for the bored and jaded? How do I get there?
  • No models were harmed in the shooting of the cover photo
Page 123~

Kitty thought it curious that Pearl should suddenly gulp, turn very red, and squirm nervously about as she hastened to reply, "Oh, I do, Miss Wilson."

I wanted to cut that quote short at "gulp," but kept going in the interest of journalistic integrity.

~RP

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Paperback 995: Take Me In Passion / Donna Richards (Domino Books 72-929)

Paperback 995: Domino Books 72-929 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Take Me In Passion
Author: Donna Richards
Cover artist: photo cover

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

[new addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Domino72-929
Best things about this cover:
  • It was a weird time for metal.
  • Opium Addicts Surreptitiously Admire Each Other's Bras
  • "Like the wig? It's Bowie's." "Really!?" "No, I found it in a dumpster."
  • "Maybe we should've gone with a professional stylist...?" "Shhh ... the panther ... he sees us ..." (seriously, what is that shadow?)
  • They had to re-release this book after the original title, Take Me In Indifference, failed to move buyers.
  • Love how the "Adult Reading" notice looks much more like "Exciting Feature!" than "Warning!"

Domino72-929bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • "They had to choose ... but could they?" Look, make up your mind. Those sad shirtless lesbians either had agency or they didn't.
  • No, *you're* the passion's puppet! No puppet, no puppet! (dear future, this is a reference to a 2016 political moment that's probably best forgotten, I'm sorry)
  • Wow, it gets unexpectedly Homeric there at the end, with "foreordained" this and "all-powerful, erotic destiny" that. The gods do love laughing at havoc.

Page 123~

Marty Green waggled his forefinger before the boy's nose. "No . . . you . . . don't! What do you think I am, like that broad I'm looking for? You think I'm queer like her? Well, she's not even my own daughter, what do you think of that? I adopted her, like a damn fool. Imagine? I adopted a queer!"

I know a lot is happening in this paragraph, but I'm kinda still stuck on "waggled."

~RP

P.S. bonus material from p. 123:

"You're drinking nothing! What the hell do you think I am, some kind of a hick? I'm Marty Green!"

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Paperback 994: Rainbow In My Bed / Rex Rainey (Brandon House 1019)

Paperback 994: Brandon House 1019 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Rainbow in My Bed
Author: Rex Rainey
Cover artist: photo cover

Condition: 6.5/10
Estimated value: $25-30

[New addition to The Doug Peterson Collection]

BH1019
Best things about this cover:
  • Since "rainbow" didn't have the queer implications then that it does now ... I have no idea what this means. Maybe that's her name?
  • Design is unique, but terrible. Terribly unique. It conveys nothing. The shattered fragmentation of it all runs counter to the bland tourism-poster pictures and the childish R A I N B O W
  • There is a ski in that middle-bottom triangle. Which is weird, as I can see the sunny seaside in the other picture, and also she does not appear to be dressed for skiing.

BH1019bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • "Nobody came to ski" — ah, yes, well, that explains the cover
  • "Nobody came to ski" is one of the greatest, if not The greatest, sleaze taglines of all time. I intend to use it, suggestively, every chance I get.
  • The skier looks like an anthropomorphic boar. Descending from the sky. On bolts of lightning.

Page 123~

This time it gave and came all the way out with a loud plonk.

~RP

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Paperback 993: The Farm / Louis Bromfield (Signet D1260)

Paperback 993: Signet D1260 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Farm
Author: Louis Bromfield
Cover artist: James Avati

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $15-20

SigD1260
Best things about this cover:
  • Hay rides have always sounded like hell to me, but this doesn't look so bad.
  • This is probably the single hottest Avati cover of all time. Note that 99% of all Avati covers involve people standing motionless and looking sad.
  • It really is exquisite as a piece of figurative art—those heads, arms, calves, feet!—and all the peripheral details are rendered with keen-eyed precision as well.

SigD1260bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Jeez, Omaha World-Herald. Dial it back a notch.
  • I'm here for the hot rural action, not "Indian massacres." Come on, Bromfield!
  • He looks like Mickey Spillane's yokel cousin.

Page 123~

And for days Johnny was haunted by a vision of Greataunt (sic) Jane clad in a pink union suit with a corset cover of passementerie.

When you don't have internet porn, you make do.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]