Thursday, July 29, 2010

Paperback 338: Dead Man's Tale / Ellery Queen [Stephen Marlowe] (Pocket Books 6117)

Paperback 337: Pocket Books 6117 (PBO 1961)

Title: Dead Man's Tale
Author: Ellery Queen (ghostwritten by Stephen Marlowe)
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Yours for: $15

Best things about this cover:
  • "He ... he was out picking tulips and his sabots slipped and he hit her head on a windmill blade, which caused him to choke on some edam. I do not know how we ended up underwater. Dike broke, I suppose."
  • This title is superlame.
  • Never would have known this was ghostwritten by Stephen Marlowe if I hadn't gotten on Abe Books to check prices. There's a signed copy available there in which Marlowe writes "Just this once..."

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Hacha" sounds like some kind of drink you'd order at a hipster café in Brooklyn.
  • This plot sounds interesting. I really want to know what they're going to tell Hacha once they find him. It better have something to do with a dead man, or a windmill. Otherwise, total ripoff.

Page 123~

Then they heard Lou Goody tramping up the hill.

And I thought "Barney Street" was a good name.


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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paperback 337: Depart This Life / E. X. Ferrars (Popular Library SP275)

Paperback 337: Popular Library SP275 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: Depart This Life
Author: E. X. Ferrars
Cover artist: some guy whose girlfriend/model was Seriously tripping

Yours for: $7

Best things about this cover:
  • If I were being attacked by miniature crows that explode into fireballs upon impact, I'm pretty sure I'd be making that face too.
  • It's as if she's gazing in disbelief at the title: "'Who would name a book something so stupid?' she asked, as miniature crows continued to dive-bomb her face and torso..."

Best things about this back cover:
  • Oh right, this guy—world's worst logo. Is the artist literally trying to spell out "CRIME" with this "guy's" body parts?
  • "Master of well-mannered terror" = "master of polite violence" or "prudish hot chicks," i.e. what?
  • If your book has a character named Hilda Gazeley, there is a 90% chance you are thinking too hard about your character names.

Page 123~

She paused to draw a rasping breath. She was in a state of terror.

Did you seriously just tell me that "She was in a state of terror?" How sucky are you as a writer that you cannot convey this to me through her speech, actions, etc.? Just reading this page is a reminder why I don't read "well-mannered" anything. It's all characters talking in preposterous exposition.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Paperback 336: The Case of the Daring Decoy / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 6001)

Paperback 336: Pocket Books 6001 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: The Case of the Daring Decoy
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:
  • The bottom 1/2 inch is horribly soiled; otherwise, this copy is close to perfect, and words can't describe how much I love this cover painting.
  • Well, maybe they can. I think that if you look up "Hot Mess" in the dictionary, this picture is there. Sexy dissolution personified. All that orange, and the booze, and the smokes, and the stairway to nowhere, just add to the smoldering hotness of the whole scene. First rate cover art. Just wish I had an artist credit!

Best things about this back cover:
  • Perry Mason looks like somebody's grandma. Pancake make-up much, grandma?
  • Random orangeing of words. That's a new tactic.
  • "Hell's bells!" is a great way to lead off your back cover copy.

Page 123~

"You knew her rather intimately, I believe."
"Are you making an accusation?"
"I'm asking a question."

Technically, you were making an insinuating statement, Perry, but ... I'll allow it.


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Monday, July 19, 2010

Paperback 335: Deep Throat / D.M. Perkins (Dell 1857)

Paperback 335: Dell 1857 (PBO, 1973)

Title: Deep Throat
Author: D.M. Perkins
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: SOLD (7/19/10)

Best things about this cover:

  • The font—the style, and the pink
  • Hey, this book is right: I never did get the chance to see the movie. Then again, I was 3 when it came out.
  • Wish there were more art on the cover. I kind of dig the 70s-era cartooning style in evidence here.
  • This book is in amazing condition. A little scuffing here and there, but essentially square, w/ blue edges. Hardly appears to have been read at all.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Her capital-P Problem is that her clitoris is in her throat, and her capital-S Solution is ... the title of the book. Oh, and also, SPOILER ALERT!

Page 123:

So here I am, she thought, ass up on a tall pole, waiting for two Tarzans to swing to me so that I can give them head.


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Friday, July 16, 2010

Paperback 334: The Partridge Family #5: Terror By Night / Vic Crume (Curtis Books 06148)

Paperback 334: Curtis Books 06148 (PBO, 1971)

Terror By Night
Author: Vic Crume
Cover artist: Photo

Yours for: $6

Best things about this cover:
  • Literally nothing about this cover — the pic, the design, nothing — says TERROR BY NIGHT. Is there a ghost in the amp? Is Keith gonna get blown away by some wicked feedback?
  • There's a weed-whacker on the wall.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Downbeat for Danger!" should have been the title.
  • Why is "and when Keith" italicized???
  • "Provincetown was *nothing* like Keith expected..."

Page 123~

Keith Partridge and Bill Angelo, dripping wet, followed with another heavy box, and in back of them were eight men—three of them in handcuffs.

"Mom," said Keith, "it's not what you think."


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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Paperback 333: Fighting Generals / Phil Hirsch (Pyramid G496)

Paperback 333: Pyramid G496 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Fighting Generals
Editor: Phil Hirsch
Cover artist: Mel Crair

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • Well, insofar as you can describe the "best things" about Nazis ... I'd say that is some fine portraiture. I love the expression on Rommel's face. He looks a bit like Colonel Klink. Accident?
  • How many insignias does one man need?
  • This title is superlame. I can't wait for the sequel, "Peaceful Generals." That, or "Fleeing Generals"

Best things about this back cover:
  • Hmmm. Design on this is pretty nice. Staggered photos, staggered descriptions, on a two-tone back ground. Kind of evokes the stripes on a flag. Kind of evokes chaos.
  • Of course the Russian sounds the worst. Hello, 1960! Fuck you, Commies!

Page 123~

The stooped old man looked harmless—but Hitler's killers knew he was a deadly threat to the Nazi empire!

This may be the first time my "Page 123" has been an above-the-chapter-title teaser. Dynamic!


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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paperback 332: The Cruel Dawn / Alfred Viazzi (Popular Library 440)

Paperback 332: Popular Library 440 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: The Cruel Dawn
Author: Alfred Viazzi
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $14

Best things about this cover:

  • "I said, I'm gonna wash that gray right out of your hair! Hold still!"
  • "Demon, I cast thee out!"
  • Gloria liked to end every dance with a vicious take-down.
  • Normally I find things like garter belts and cleavage quite hot, but between the dowdiness of that nightgown and the oddly porcelain quality of this woman's skin, this lady just isn't doing it for me. Also, maybe it's just me, but she seems a bit standoffish.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Her body is blonde? That's more info than you usually get in an opening description.
  • Oooh, a "lusty bordello." Not one of those Puritanical bordellos you see from time to time. Those are sooo annoying.
  • A decent, non-wanton actress would, of course, have taken the time to get properly dressed before shielding a man with her body. Pfft. Whore.

Page 123~

The last thing he remembered was the thud and pain of a boot kicking hard into the side of his head.


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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Paperback 331: 5:45 to Suburbia / Vin Packer (Gold Medal s731)

Paperback 331: Gold Medal s731 (PBO, 1958)

Title: 5:45 to Suburbia
Author: Vin Packer (pseud. of Marijane Meaker)
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $50

This copy is SIGNED

Best things about this cover:
  • Douchey salesman by day ... vampire by night.
  • That is the color red seen only on 1950s/60s paperbacks. Looks like the work of Barye Phillips, but the book gives no credit.
  • Love stories of tawdry goings-on in the suburbs. Post-war pop fiction kind of obsessed with the suburbs, as they were relatively new and probably put on a sanitized, happy air that made writers sick—i.e. easy pickins.

Best things about this back cover:
  • One of the few back covers that makes me genuinely want to read the book. The language isn't just descriptive—it bounces: his wife's impeccable tweeds, her wicked martini, their daughter's (!) long legs, the phrase "hatchet man," all great. Even the language of addiction in the second paragraph is compelling, and timely—makes Charlie Gibson sound like a different species of Burroughs' "Junky." Mmm, '50s underbelly. Delicious.
  • Despite the obvious opening, I'm finding it hard to make any good jokes about the name "Charlie Gibson" (a onetime prominent morning TV host, in case you didn't know).

Vin Packer is Marijane Meaker (also Ann Aldrich, for her explicitly lesbian writing; M.E. Kerr, for her young adult fiction). She is a really compelling literary figure and a very good writer. I recommend her memoir about her relationship with Patricia Highsmith. In doing some research on the Mattachine Society (for a future writing project on a different pulpy literary figure), I came across a bunch of stuff by and about Meaker—a controversial figure among some gay people. Apparently, not all of Meaker's gay characters (and the lesbians she chronicles in her non-fiction books) were "sympathetic" enough for some. Hurray for someone's caring more about giving a realistic and complex picture of humanity rather than sanitizing and enhaloing her characters in order to push a political agenda. I really want to meet this woman, who (last I checked) is still alive. I own close to a dozen of her books, many of them signed (I can only hope the sigs are authentic, as I didn't get them myself).

Page 123~
"Very simple, boss—the child's in love with you."
"Hogwash!" Bruce Cadence snorted. "I'm old enough to be her father."
"That's the point." Keene laughed.
He waved and went out.


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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Paperback 330: The Joy Boys / Walt Grove (Dell First Edition

Paperback 330: Dell First Edition B136 (PBO, 1959)

Title: The Joy Boys
Author: Walt Grove
Cover artist: Mitchell Hooks!

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:
  • "'I Dream of Jeannie?' Fuck that. Jeannie dreams of me!"
  • I submit to you that this woman would look much better if that horse's tail were removed from the back of her head.
  • That spider has six legs. Is that guy's squadron called "The Mighty Ticks?"
  • "The Joy Boys" ... does not evoke aviation. It evokes something slightly more tawdry—like GLORY HOLE meets RENT BOY.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Walt Grove, doing his best Mickey Spillane imitation. Tough sell.
  • Seriously? "The Joy Boys" is the successor to "DOWN!?" Who knew the world of aviation had such a strong undercurrent of fellatio?

Page 123~
He wished he would stop thinking about that, but he had been around and he knew.

Looks like he's been behind the barn.


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