Sunday, December 21, 2008

Paperback 179: Kill Now, Pay Later / Robert Kyle (Dell First Edition B178)

Paperback 179: Dell First Edition B178 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Kill Now, Pay Later
Author: Robert Kyle (pen name of Robert Terrall)
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • Nearly everything. It's quintessential. It expresses everything I love about this era - a sense of cool combined with a sense of something fading, something ending ... a kind of twilight. These two look like their best days are behind them, just behind them, and it is only beginning to dawn on them. Look, she's already forgotten how to hold a martini glass. And he seems bemused by his gun. Poor, poor, hot people.
  • "Remember when we used to find wandering daughters, fight thugs, and have hot sex in my mid-century modern apartment? ... good times ..."
  • Love the whimsical font - great contrast with the smoky, languid, gin-laden miasma of grief and nostalgia that pervades the bar scene
  • Robert McGinnis could draw the hell out of a woman when he wanted to. He and Maguire are the kings of Great Girl Art. That bare foot ... I'm not a foot man, myself, but man that is cute bordering on adorable.
  • Honey, I officially want a padded white semicircular wet bar for Christmas. I'll take up drinking and shooting, and you take up cigarettes, and we'll be in business. I'm not sure what we do about the kid ...

Best things about this back cover:

  • Ben Gates is Looking At You
  • "Dacron and worsted" - wtf? That sounds like a buddy cop show waiting to happen.
  • "Contact was total" - HA ha. That kind of writing takes balls.
  • So ... she tasted like a caterpillar soaked in champagne? I don't want to know how anyone would know what that tastes like.
  • The back cover is ... continued on page 1!? That's a very interesting sales technique that I've seen only once before.

Page 123~

What she saw in her living room cured her of the giggles.

That is a great line - the opening line of a new chapter. How could you not read on?


PS Thanks to Duane Swierczynski for pointing out that McGinnis also painted the cover for the recent reprint of this title (published by Hard Case Crime). I prefer the original cover, but the new one definitely has its charms:


Anonymous said...

Great drawing. Though it did take me a while to work out that her shiny black penis is in fact his shoulder....

Anonymous said...

And why is that hand coming out of her butt?

justjack said...

Absolute masterpiece. All my life I have been a sucker for that Clairol Flip. Lady, your hair is a mess -- don't touch it, it's perfect.

Dissolution personified. Even her cigarette is limp.

"She had a glass in one hand, a champagne bottle in the other..." Hah! They don't know the difference between a cigarette and a champagne bottle!

Dewd, it's Sean Connery at the height of his James Bond awesomeness.

Funny this is from 1960. It has much more of the look of a couple years later than that, like what The Catalog of Cool called "The last good year," 1962.

Unknown said...

This is a beaut. But which do you like better: this cover, or the new one McGinnis did for the Hard Case reprint?

Anonymous said...

I don't like the second cover. That chick is too, too pale and her leg is too, too long.

Lisa in Oz said...

"Contact was total" = coffee snorted out of my nose. Love it!

JRSM said...

It's a fun book (having read the Hard Case reprint), but the legs on the new cover freak me waaaaaay out.

Michael5000 said...

Wow, I didn't even know prose could be boiled that hard....

pious agnostic said...

The woman on the new cover looks like her mother was rogered by an Irish giraffe.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, awesome cover. I really like how the woman has an air of intelligence and sophistication to her, and how that intelligence seems to allow her to recognize her nascent decline. Great stuff.

"she tasted like a caterpillar soaked in champagne? I don't want to know how anyone would know what that tastes like."

Perhaps it's like eating the worm in mescal.

Keir said...

The guy looks strongly reminiscent of Connery.
I'm going through your collection of McGinnis covers after having read Prather's fun, lengthy tribute to the artist at