Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Paperback 547: Tales of Wells Fargo / Frank Gruber (Bantam 1726)

Paperback 547: Bantam 1726 (1st ptg, 1958)

Title: Tales of Wells Fargo
Author: Frank Gruber
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $7
Best things about this cover:
  • It's so generic that the only thing I can get at all excited about is the adjective "bullion-laden."
  • I do like the little B&W ticker at the bottom. I just wish it was animated and came w/ olde timey music, like a player piano or something.
  • Oooh, Dale Robertson. He's .... who is he?
  • "Tales of Wells Fargo" sounds like the testimonials page at their bank website: "The tellers were super-friendly..."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Oooh, Dale Robertson. He's ... nope, nothing. Looks like Generic McWhiteGuy.
  • "Maybe some sweat in their arm-pits" FTW!!!! Now that's vivid! I can almost smell Dale Robertson.
  • Flint-eyed ... rock-jawed ... smashing their eyes and jaws together to start fires. Truly fearsome.

Page 23~
"Item number 3," the auctioneer went on. "This old suitcase. But who can say what treasure might lie inside? I admit it looks ancient and worn, yet this humble and modest exterior could be deceiving. Ladies and gentlemen, I beg you not to disappoint me with paltry bids that insult not only man's intelligence but his imagination. Bid up this time, bid high. Live recklessly." 

Well, someone can say. You could just unzip it and look inside and then ... oh, I'm missing the point? All right then.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Paperback 546: Trail of the Restless Gun / Will Hickok (Signet 1675)

Paperback 546: Signet 1675 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: Trail of the Restless Gun
Author: Will Hickok
Cover artist: Robert Schulz

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • "We need a really heroic name. How about ... a first name that will make everyone go 'What?' and a last name that kinda sounds like 'boner'?!" "I like it!"
  • I love the look of crushing existential angst in this guy's face. "Why? Why do I use this? Futility. All roads lead to death. Does it even matter if I turn around and fire?"
  • Or else he's turned his gun into a thermometer and is confirming that it is, indeed, hot out there.
  • "Hickok" looks wrong. Like it's missing a second "c." "I'm a HICK ... OK?"

Best things about this back cover:
  • This family sounds unequivocally awesome. 
  • Are "dancehall teasers" (great phrase) notoriously "curious?" About ... what? Science? I think of a "tease" as being knowing and at least somewhat jaded—wanting to deceive or toy with someone, not wanting to learn. 
  • J.C. Penney is proud to feature—The Paxton Brand.

Page 123~

Something seemed to push Rasher forward in his saddle. Then all at once his legs rammed straight and he reared up to his full height, his back arching and a look of spasmed agony and shocked wonderment.

The sex scenes in this book are much hotter than I'd anticipated.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Adventures in Kiwi Bookstores

Used bookstores are seemingly more plentiful and generally quirkier in NZ than they are here in the states. I went into every one I could find (duh). I pulled a couple things out of Gone West Books (in Titirangi, a neighborhood in / close suburb of Auckland) that seemed of probably interest to readers of this blog. First, there was this hardbound book that practically leapt off the "NZ Fiction" shelf and into my hands. You ever have that experience, where a book seems to Shout at you from the shelves, even if it's not particularly flashy or specially displayed? Yeah, that's what happened here:


There's something so simple, elemental, and badass about this design. I found myself thinking "Why don't more books like this?" Slightly frantic font set off against the slightly frantic geometrical linear configuration. Hot and cool at the same time. Minimal but substantial. Colorful, but with a B&W feel. Love! I also love the back cover, where we get to learn a thing or two about our author:

Armed! Only other armed author I've seen on a paperback cover is Spillane! I'm so reading this.

The other book I pulled out of that shop is less surprising, but no less intriguing:


How am I supposed to resist this? The genius of Penguin design, the beat-upness of a good book well read, the Chandler of Chandler of Chandler. I didn't even ask 'how much?' (answer: more than it was worth, less than I would've gladly paid). If I had to design a book to read on a train, it would look like this. I think it would *be* this. HOWEVER, I completely forgot that, for reasons I now forget, Philip Marlowe was not called Philip Marlowe in the UK editions of Chandler's work (despite the fact that the playwright Marlowe was British, and the fact that Marlowe evolved out of the earlier Mallory—another important British writer (minus one "l")). Instead, the detective is called Johnny Dalmas. You would not think a simple name change would affect my reading pleasure. You would be dead wrong. I just couldn't get past it. Marlowe is so far from a "Johnny" that I found it hard to take the stories seriously. It's like if Yakkity Sax started playing over the climactic scene in "The Godfather." To my ears, all kinds of tonally wrong. Anyway, the book still looks cool, which is mostly what matters.

More from The Collection very soon—I'm gonna step up production to make up for the lengthy hiatus.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Paperback 545: The Marauders / Michael McGann (Jove 10150-8)

Paperback 545: Jove 10150-8 (PBO, 1989)

Title: The Marauders
Author: Michael McGann
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • Countdown to a gay porn movie shoot in 5, 4, 3 ...
  • Russell Crowe, Joe Piscopo, Some Weasel Face, Eric Roberts, Lorenzo Lamas, and ... That Bald Asian Guy are ... The Marauders!
  • If you think those guns aren't cock substitutes, just check out how bachelor #3 is holding his. He's stroking its balls / presenting it to you on a platter / begging you to admire it.
  • "We used to have shirts, but our bodies were so hot they just burned away. Now all we wear is this fire-retardant kevlar stuff. Marauders!"
  • I want one of these patches to sew onto my ... I'm gonna say 'underwear.'
  • "From the Creators [plural] of The Guardians" ... and yet it's written by Michael McGann [singular]. One shape-shifting, multiple-personalitied, gun- and gay-porn-loving guy.
  • After a nuclear war, wouldn't these guys be a little ... anti-climactic, actually.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Nothing.
  • KGB Chairman, ha ha! Good call, 1989. Way to predict the fyooture.
  • "There's a first time for everything—especially death" is an unintentionally great line. Pearls of wisdom, compliments of ... The Marauders!

Page 123~

The two men walked out of the car. Jack looked over his shoulder. "Buddha? Can you loan me your rifle for a moment?"

In case you were wondering what they were gonna call That Bald Asian Guy. Now you know.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


My kind of ginger beer ...


~RP [Wanaka, NZ, July 17, 2012]

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Hiatus

The plan was to be able to continue blogging during my three-week trip to NZ, but firstly I've been busy doing vacationy things, and secondly I did all the prep I needed to do *except* upload the cover scans to Flickr. So I can't do squat until I get back in another week. Which is too bad, but it is what it is. In the mean time, please enjoy the cover of this book, which I picked up in Wellington. It hardly needs commentary.

See you in a week,