Thursday, April 24, 2008

Paperback 85: Torch for a Dark Journey / Lionel Shapiro (Bantam 932)

Paperback 85: Bantam 932 (1st ptg, 1951)
Title: Torch for a Dark Journey
Author: Lionel Shapiro
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • "Oh Steve, it's that horrible man again, and he's blocking our path over the bridge ... now I'll never make it back to the Nursing School dormitories before curfew!"
  • I swear that I am picking these books one after the other off the shelves where they are (very randomly) placed, so I have no idea how I managed to get three paperbacks in a row featuring this cover art paradigm (man shielding woman in foreground-left from suspicious smoking man in background-right - see Paperbacks 83 and 84)
  • Again, I assert that it is physically impossible for either of them actually to see the smoking man above and behind them.
  • I love how our two lovebirds both have Action Hands - he's unscrewing an imaginary mayonnaise jar while she is signaling to the pitcher to throw the sinker.
  • I hate Bantam for their repeated failure to credit cover artists. I need to know Who Painted That Tie?
  • With the exception of some minor scuffing on the front, this book is in Perfect (unread) condition.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Well, as you can see, not much. It's all words. I have to ask, however: What kind of editor at the NYT let all that horrible passive voice construction into the review? "... can be savored ... is achieved ... can only be described ..." Ugh, I spend the better part of my paper-grading time trying to beat this crap out of students.

Now here it is, your PAGE 123:

"Why do you tell me this, Moussia?"
"Why?" She looked up at him. Her lovely face was soft and helpless, and her eyes were deep and brown and so luminous that he felt he could see into the depths of her mind.
"Why, Philip? Because we are alone, my father and I, and I am a woman, and we have only one friend. What else can I say, Philip?"
"You shouldn't have told me."



Anonymous said...

I almost surfed away, this cover is so like the previous two. Very strange; this must be a common motif.

Zach M. said...

The 123 from this book is so hard to interpret without knowing what Moussia told Phillip. Going only on the quote given, I can only infer that Moussia has an incestual relationship with her father, and possibly with their family friend.

Zach M. said...

Hey Rex, just thought I'd tell you that over at, you have been named as blog of the week! The blog is run by none other than the super-cool, super-talented, and overall super Todd Robbins, the light bulb eating Dean Of Coney Island, one of my personal heroes in the arts. Thought you might be interested/honored...

libwitch said...

I think what I like best is the header on the back cover. Its rather like they are daring you to find reviews that promise that much drivel from one suspense novel anywhere else.

Find one this corny! C'mon! I bet you can't!

Rex Parker said...


Whoa, I just picked that book up last week ("Modern Con Man") - I was doing what I always do in front of a table of books at Barnes & Noble: going no, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, etc. based on which books I thought were well-designed. That book was the only "yes" on the table. Now I'm going to have to go buy it, even though the idea of conning someone makes me feel a little sad inside. I'm weak that way.


Zach M. said...


The beauty of a book like Todd's is not teaching yourself how to con someone else, but in learning how to not be a victim. And...maybe get yourself a free drink or two.

G said...

Have you noticed that he's wearing the same tie as Paperback 79: Stranger in Town / Howard Hunt? Tie stealer!