Thursday, April 30, 2009

Paperback 225: Winner Take All / James McKimmey (Dell First Edition A185)

Paperback 225: Dell First Edition A185 (PBO, 1959???)

Title: Winner Take All
Author: James McKimmey
Cover artist: Darcy (what's his first name?)

Yours for: don't know ...

I'm posting a book I don't have in front of me. I have its scans on my computer, but I don't know where it is, physically (buried in my collection, no doubt). I usually blog books that I have right in front of me, but I can't scan any new books til I replace my printer/scanner (soon), so I'm relying on old scans for the moment. I'll run across the book eventually. For now, enjoy the scans ...

Best things about this cover:

  • The abbreviation "GGA" (for Great Girl Art) gets attributed to a Lot of books, but this one truly deserves the tag. Wow. Shapely, classy, with an amazing face, exquisite hands, a stunning dress, and great dark accents giving her hair a kind of controlled kinetic feel. Yes, I will spend all my money at this table.
  • Sadly for her, her head appears to be bathing in a haze of smoke that starts somewhere around shoulder level.
  • Love how the red title tapers down into her hands, ending in a small pile of red chips
  • Always nice when an artist signs his work (or his signature doesn't get cropped in production). Here, Darcy has put the signature near where people are apt to look, i.e. in the vicinity of her rear end.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Well, I bet you didn't see that coming.
  • Before Garanimals, there was ... Paris Belts. "This one goes with gray, moron."
  • I can count on one hand the number of paperbacks that I own with advertisements on their back covers. Really truly odd/rare.
  • I actually love the design, with the different colored dots and then the same-sized logo with the little Paris man and his proud puffy shirt
  • Who wrote the cover copy, Yoda? "Rugged these belts are."
  • "the finest long-stretch elastic ever used in belt-making" - you don't say. Why, that is impressive.
  • Two of the belts have coats-of-arms, so you can rule Scotland in style.

No Page 123, sadly, as I have no book in front of me ... aargh. OK, I'm getting a printer/scanner tomorrow.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Paperback 224: Two Surgeons / Richard Meade (Lancer 70-012)

Paperback 224: Lancer 70-012 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Two Surgeons
Author: Richard Meade
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: $12

Best things about this cover:
  • Doctor does not look interested. He looks disgusted. "Put your collar back down and get out of my office."
  • She looks like the lead singer of a New Wave band and / or a man.
  • Color scheme is entitled "Aquatic Nausea"
  • What up with that finger-painted smear between their heads. There's daubing, and then there's sloppiness / laziness.

NO BACK COVER - scanner is dying a hard, horrible death and will likely have to be replaced. I'll see what I can do.

Page 123~

Garth nodded and left the operating room. In the corridor, he paused to light a cigarette. The smoke tasted good, abating some of the uncertainty that gnawed at him.

Smoking - good for the body and the mind. Just ask this surgeon...


Friday, April 24, 2009

Paperback 223: The Case of the Midwife Toad / Arthur Koestler (Vintage Books V-823)

Paperback 223: Vintage Books V-823 (1st ptg, 1973)

Title: The Case of the Midwife Toad
Author: Arthur Koestler
Cover artist: [Thomas] Upshur

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:

  • Puffy toad font - mesmerizing
  • Mystical Toad Overlord - will he kill us all or lead us to the promised land?
  • His (her?) right eye is so disturbing in its protruding bulbousness

Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow. Absolutely nothing.
  • If you're not going to use all the space on the back cover, at least make the font bigger so people can read the text more easily. Or at least format the text in a compelling way. Sheesh.
  • "Perhaps only he could have written it" - this kind of statement never makes any sense to me. Koestler did write it. Why would you sit around wondering who *could have* written something? Like the world was sitting around thinking "Oh, who will write 'The Case of the Midwife Toad?'" No one knew the world needed this book before he wrote it.
Page 123~

Did Kammerer breed water-mating Alytes with hereditary nuptial pads, and did the critical specimen show the pads before it was tampered with?



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Paperback 222: How Rough Can It Get? / Joe Weiss (Avon T-332)

Paperback 222: Avon T-332 (1st thus, 1959)
Title: How Rough Can It Get?
Author: Joe Weiss
Cover artist: Milo

Yours for: $20

Best things about this cover:

  • She looks excited about the possibility that it will get very rough, indeed.
  • Her posture looks demure, but her hands?: holding a sledgehammer.
  • That dude's butt and jaw are all kinds of wrong.
  • Is there a difference between a trouble and a tribulation?
  • That red is horrible. Pus + blood.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Where is a picture?
  • Oh good. I love a good human frailty war.

Page 123~

Beverly's five minutes were up, and she latched herself onto a new guy. She was showing this guy her arm. She told him that he should know she bruised very easily. So he then made a determined effort to see if he could do a better job with the other arm and maybe break it for her.

Remember when co-ed Fight Clubs were popular? Me either.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Paperback 221: Like Love / Ed McBain (Permabooks M-4289)

Paperback 221: Permabooks M-4289 (1st ptg, 1963)

Title: Like Love
Author: Ed McBain
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: SOLD (June '09)

Best things about this cover:

  • "Dear God, please let me score with this chick from Cirque de Soleil. Amen."
  • "Dammit! Why won't my eyebrows stay *down*!?"
  • "Man, my thumbnails look *weird* up close..."
  • "Oh, Steve, I'm tired of you and your shadow puppets. Can't we just get back to hanging drapery?"
  • What the hell is with the title?: "It's *like* love, baby, just ... minus all the caring and sharing and listening to your damned problems. OK?"
  • This will sound odd, but the softness of the coloring and the fine pattern on the wallpaper reminds me of John Singer Sargent portrait that I love.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Tommy and Irene - sounds like a one-hit wonder pop duo from 1963
  • Carella and Hawes - sounds like a crime-fighting duo from 1974
  • "ourselfs" - ouch
  • Authentic imitation wood paneling! Really, one of the awesomest design choices in modern back cover art history

Page 123~

"Miscolo!" he yelled.
"Yo!" Miscolo yelled back from the Clerical Office.
"Bring in some iodine and some Band-Aids, will you?"
"Yo!" Miscolo answered.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Paperback 220: Frenchie / Aaron Bell (Kozy Books K171)

Make-Your-Own-Commentary Experiment, Part IV - add your thoughts on this book in the "Comments" section (man, I am so jealous of you guys right now - you have no idea how hard it is to hold off from commenting right now)

Paperback 220: Kozy Books K171 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Frenchie
Author: Aaron Bell
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $18

Page 123~

"There are no others, John. Just you, and I, and my fiance [sic]."

"Your fiance [sic]?" said Robertson, stunned at the news.

"Why not? I have no romantic ties with anyone else. That is. [sic] I don't think I have."


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Paperback 219: Combat Nurse / Frieda K. Franklin (Pocket Books 1147)

The Make-Your-Own-Commentary Experiment, Part the Third (sound off in "Comments" section)

Paperback 219: Pocket Books 1147
(1st ptg, 1957)

Title: Combat Nurse
Author: Frieda K. Franklin
Cover artist: Charles Binger

Yours for: $10

Page 123~

In the subdued light their faces were hard voluptuous masks of powder and rouge and thick gleaming lipstick smeared like coating of fat over their pouting mouths.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Paperback 218: The Saint Goes West / Leslie Charteris (Avon 635)

The Make-Your-Own-Commentary Experiment continues - fire away (in Comments)

Paperback 218: Avon 635 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Saint Goes West
Author: Leslie Charteris
Cover artist: illegible

Yours for: $12

Page 123~

"She died soon after. Too many sleeping tablets." Groom's voice had an almost ghoulish flatness. "She was pregnant. She was trying to get into pictures, but I guess she never got any further than the casting couch."


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Paperback 217: The Naked Sword / Anthea Mitchell (Popular Library 601)

Hey everyone - I'm going on vacation until next Sunday (Apr. 19). In order not to stop the flow of cover goodness, I am setting Blogger to autopost five or so paperback entries. Here's the deal, though. I haven't done commentary for any of them - this week, that's your job. For the next week, we will see what kind of observational gold you can deliver in the Comments section. Make me proud. Here's a practice round:

Paperback 217: Popular Library 601 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: The Naked Sword
Author: Anthea Mitchell
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $9

Page 123~

Then the bearded man rose to his feet and came down from the dais and Josselin saw that he was as great in stature almost as Sir Kevin O'Derg.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Paperback 216: The April Robin Murders / Craig Rice and Ed McBain (Dell D306)

Paperback 216: Dell D306 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: The April Robin Murders
Author: Craig Rice and Ed McBain
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: SOLD (June '09)

Best things about this cover:
  • Signature super-hot McGinnis woman ... until you get up to the head. Then it's The Joker's mom. Holy moly.
  • I hope I don't offend anyone when I say that McGinnis draws the best asses, anywhere, ever. His women tend to be a little gaunt and a little dead-eyed for me, in general, but from waist to knees I have zero complaints.
  • Oddly comical cover for McGinnis, perhaps because the book is a kind of dark comedy. Love the Spy vs. Spy wavy dagger in the dead guy's hand. Also, love his hand. Awesome agony hand.

Best things about this back cover:

  • I think you mean "A Front," but OK.
  • I want you to write a story for me that begins "So Bingo and Handsome..." I would read that story.
  • Why are those phrases hyphenated in the second paragraph. So Wrong. So Wrong. Trying to see humor ... failing ...
  • I would wear a t-shirt that read simply "What You Need In Hollywood Is "Front"" - enigmatic!
  • Um, I just noticed that she has pompons on her ankles for some reason. What the hell is that all about? Or is she being attacked by Evil Tribbles?

Page 123~

There were a great many things to say, Bingo reflected, and none of them really seemed to fit the occasion. He stood by the doorway, deciding between "How did you get in?" "What are you doing here?" and "Who are you?"


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Paperback 215: Company K / William March (Lion Books 111)

Paperback 215: Lion Books 111 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Company K
Author: William March
Cover artist: Rafael DeSoto

Yours for: $13

Best things about this cover:

  • DeSoto is one of the great naturalistic cover artists, and this cover is really expertly painted. Beautiful, detailed, evocative of the suffering of war. I'm finding this cover slightly hard to make fun of. Although ... if her stroking and pumping that giant lever isn't innuendo, I don't know what is. That is, if "she" is indeed a woman. The novel is, after all, "flaming."
  • I'm afraid of the guy at the front of that line. He looks like he's lost all hope ... or else he is a golem or a droid or something.
  • "The Flaming Novel of Men and Women at War" - sounds like a book about the battle of the sexes. "Men Are From Mars ... : WWI Edition!"

Best things about this back cover:

  • "Company K is a Knockout"! Letter play not so effective when the "K" is silent. "Company G is a Gnat-infested Gnightmare"
  • This back cover is in Love with alliteration. Courage and cowardice ... lustings (!?) and lies, daring, doom, and death.
  • It's appropriate that this book is somewhat purple, because check out the prose in that second paragraph. March impales angry moments with his bayonet-pen!?
  • I like the little flag, particularly the wacky font of the letters.

This is a pretty famous and well-received novel of W. W. I, organized into micro-chapters about every single man in the company. Blurbs inside from Granville Hicks, Graham Greene, James T. Farrell, and Phyllis Bentley (whoever that is).

Page 123~

On Monday a kid from my company named Ben Hunzinger got fifteen years hard labor for deserting in the face of the enemy, and a long talk from Mr. Fairbrother about justice tempered with mercy.

Whoa, "Mr. Fairbrother?" Is this an allegory?


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Paperback 214: Black Mail / Did She Fall Or Was She Pushed? - Doris Miles Disney (Ace G-506)

Paperback 214: Ace G-506 (1st ptg / 1st ptg, 1963)

Title: Black Mail / Did She Fall Or Was She Pushed?
Author: Doris Miles Disney
Cover artist: uncredited / uncredited

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • I believe the mail now prefers to be called "Negro"
  • Sexy librarian look is basically ruined by the straitjacket
  • "I got rejected from Haverford?! But that was my safety school! Noooo!"
  • Awesome psionic powers - that horn-rimmed lady is packing the double whammy: Swirling Disorientation Vortex and Orange Implaing Lance of Death
  • "Authentic background," HA ha. "The sky and fields look so real..."

Best things about this cover:
  • That guy wins the award for Most Oddly Proportioned Detective. His feet are gigantic. And hazy.
  • Experimental art - sometimes good, sometimes bad. Here ... thumbs down. No action? Is it cold or just desolate? What in the hell is on her head? Her vacant look does nothing for me. I'll take the freaked-out letter reader and even the freaky four-eyes on the flip side of this book over this lavender-hooded nobody.
  • That title is laughably bad. The whole book should be just one word long: "Pushed."

Page 123~

Monday had figured so consistently in the pattern that this was the day on which he expected the watch to bear fruit.

That is, by far, the most exciting sentence on the page. Reading her prose is like watching paint dry. Beige paint.


P.S. where are my snarky, enthusiastic commenters? I've actually lost two "Followers" in the past week? Boo hoo. I know I have been *slightly* behind on my postings, but come on - help me out here a little. Give me a push. A little momentum. Somethin'. Thx.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Paperback 213: Carny Kill / Robert Edmond Alter (Gold Medal d1611)

Paperback 213: Gold Medal d1611 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Carny Kill
Author: Robert Edmond Alter
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $24

Best things about this cover:

  • This must have been published during the short-lived "rain bowling" fad of the mid-'60s.
  • What color is this thing, puce? Yuck.
  • Even with that giant crease, this book is pretty valuable. It's rare, Alter is a good (cult) writer, and, I mean, come on: carnies.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Why is the cover copy (front and back) written out like post-modern poetry. I want someone to enter a poetry slam with this back cover blurb as the "poem." Video evidence that you have done so will earn you this book, free of charge.
  • Here, "carny" is used as short for the entire Carnival - I have only ever known the word to refer to a person who works at a carnival. Also, I like that he "joined" the carny. Like it's the army. Or a cult.
  • Oh man, that "though..." just kills the flow there at the end. Did he just trail off? Was he killed before he could get out the rest of the sentence "... though I don't really feel like it. I mean, it's totally not fair."

Page 123~

"Sonofabitch tagged me, Chad!" Pansy-face cried. "Ain't no bastard on gawd's earth goan lay hands on me!"

Sic, and sic, and ... yeah, sic again, just in case.