Sunday, June 27, 2010

Paperback 329: The Girls' Place / Saxon Craig (Evening Reader 1247)

Paperback 329: Evening Reader 1247 (PBO, 1966)

The Girls' Place
Author: Saxon Craig
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $20

Best things about this cover:

  • Joan Collins used to be Hot.
  • The tops of those stockings suggest that the artist was planning on drawing a garter belt and then forgot/ran out of time—weirdly peaked.
  • Top lady does not appear to be experiencing "Shame." That lower lady, though, yeesh. She's either wasted or sleeping or both. Or maybe she just lost a contact.
  • Did you ever see "Sixteen Candles?" If so, do you remember when Jake's hot girlfriend gets sloshed and then gets her hair caught in a door jamb when Jake shuts the door on her, and she's just stuck sitting there until Jami Gertz and some other girl come over and cut her loose with a giant pair of scissors, and so she has a ridiculously huge swath of hair cut out of the back of her head? I think her character was based on the lower half of this cover.

Best things about this back cover:

  • You had me at "Vixen..."
  • Please, will one of you, this Halloween, dress up as "the witch in the leotards and the red pumps" from "The Girls' Place." It will mean so much to me. Take pictures.

Page 123~
In her world, love was hard to come by, and even Lasky's brutalizing love was better than nothing at all—even if it took form only as sexual expression.

Yeah, that wasn't so hot; let's try this:

Page 80~

But Pat refused to stop, and after a moment or two of trying to push the nurse away, she succumbed to the rise of her passion a second time. Groping blindly, she managed to get the fat nurse to turn so that their love could be enjoyed simultaneously, and though her body was foul smelling, the lovely brunette could not resist the temptation to indulge herself in the one thing that roused her more than anything else. And so they clung together there for many minutes, giving themselves up to the mutual enjoyment of each other, until finally they both found the release they sought.

Walking the fine line between sexy (lesbian nurse sex!) and gross ("foul smelling!?") ... Just be happy I spared you the part about how Jeanne "rocketed over the cliff of climax to plunge into the canyon of satisfied passion."


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Friday, June 25, 2010

Paperback 328: Nightmare / William Irish (Readers-Choice Library No. 12)

Paperback 328: Readers-Choice Library No. 12 (1st thus, 1950)

Title: Nightmare
Author: William Irish
Cover artist: Wayne Blickenstaff

Yours for: $35

Best things about this cover:
  • It's effectively creepy, combining puke colors and swirly, dizzying effects with a Joker-faced floating lady-head, a blot-like specter, and some dude re-enacting the dance from the "Thriller" video in a fun house hall of mirrors.
  • William Irish = Cornell Woolrich = kind of a big deal. This book has some mild smashing at the lower spine, and someone's had at those pupils with a pencil, but it's square and solid and pretty rare (see range of prices here).
  • Readers-Choice Library is an uncommon imprint. You may remember their work from this fabulous, pot-smoke-smothered cover a while back.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "I said TOWARD HIM!"
  • The writing here is not good.
  • "Here, take this ... sharp-pointed bore!" (!?)
  • "His victim's button...?" I really don't understand the premise of this write-up.

Page 123~

"Tom, what's wrong?" she said anxiously. "You look all white and disturbed! You haven't—you haven't lost your position, have you?" She caught him by the sleeve and stared up into his face.

She added, "Because I will fuckin' cut you, Tom. You hear me?"


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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Paperback 327: The Case of the Constant Suicides / John Dickson Carr (Dell 91)

Paperback 327: Dell 91 (1st ptg, 1945)

Title: The Case of the Constant Suicides
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Gerald Gregg

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:
  • Gerald Gregg does great borderline-abstract covers. Bold shapes and colors. Simple, but I like it a lot.
  • That is some thick, thick, possibly polyethylene blood.
  • I'm trying to imagine what "constant suicides" could possibly mean. Are they literally occurring non-stop, around the clock? That's rough.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Mapback!
  • I want to live in Angus Campbell's room.
  • The only castle in all of Scotland made entirely of red Legos.
  • I'm not buying "Courtyard." Looks more like "Sheep Pen."

Page 123~

"No, my boy. The real meat of the thing is here." Dr. Fell made the pages riffle like a pack of cards. "In the body of the diary. In the account of this activities for the past year."

He frowned at the book and slipped it into his pocket. His expression of gargantuan distress had grown along with his fever of certainty.

"Hang it all!" he said, and smote his hand on his knee. "The thing is inescapable! Elspat steals the diary. She reads it. Being no fool, she guesses—"

"Smote!" I didn't know anyone but God ever did that. Cool.


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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Paperback 326: Terror in the Sun / Richard Glendinning (Gold Medal 237)

Paperback 326: Gold Medal 237 (PBO, 1952)

Title: Terror in the Sun
Author: Richard Glendinning
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Yours for: $15

Best things about this cover:
  • Sexy swamp ninja.
  • It's a weird cover—eerily still. Not tarted up. Not violent. Works by suggesting the threat of approaching menace. I admire her locks and curves, but the focal point of this painting is clearly her eyes. The sideways/backwards glance. Like someone's following her. Cool.
  • Realistically, she's about three seconds from being blindsided and devoured by a crocodile.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Leaving aside the nonsensical quality of the simile (original sin just *is*—it doesn't "sweep"), I love that first sentence. And the second. And the last.
  • Having read this back cover, I know almost nothing about this novel, but this kind of skeletal, sparse, overdramatic cover copy is far more likely to hook me than a clear or thorough description of the plot might. I don't wanna know what happens. I wanna know what it's gonna *feel* like to read this thing.

Page 123~

"Oh, I'm tough enough, Johnny boy. I have to be hard because I want things the soft can't have. I know the way I've got to go to get them, and I won't mind squaring a few accounts along the way."

Wow. That is pure hard-boiled poetry. Quintessential tough dame talk. I think I love you, Swamp Girl.


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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Paperback 325: Honest Sex / Rustum & Della Roy (Signet Q3857)

Paperback 325: Signet Q3857 (PBO? 1969)

Title: Honest Sex
Authors: Rustum & Della Roy
Cover artist: no

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:
  • "Honest Sex"— Honestly? No thanks.
  • If "Rustum & Della Roy" aren't pseudonyms, I don't know what are.
  • These folks better be swingers—otherwise this book is going to be a Major disappointment.
  • I like how the punch line of the entire cover (besides the author names) is "Christians"; you're just reading along, figuring you're looking at any old sex book, and bam. Sexy Christians, eh? Hmmm, I'm intrigued ...

Best things about this back cover:

  • Whoa whoa whoa! Which of these things is not like the other!? Dear lord. The fact that "Abortion" is even on this list gives me a pretty idea of what these authors think of kinky (or even ordinary) sex.
  • The "Playboy" endorsement does, however, give me some hope ... I really, really can't wait for Page 123 on this one.

Page 123~
Reluctant wives (rarely, reluctant husbands) are sometimes involved after persuasion by their spouses. The reports on the experience are so favorable—including a great deal of unanimity on the improvement of the marriage as a result of such experience—that we have hypothesized that the cause may lie deeper than the simple fact of having coitus with two or more partners. Unfortunately, we have had no personal contact with anyone who has participated in any club or even minimally organized mate-sharing.
A little clinical, but awesome nonetheless. First, that parenthetical aside. Nice. Second, "coitus." Yuck. There's a word designed to make you Not want to have sex. Third, "Unfortunately..." HA ha. "Me and Rustum were just talking about how we wish we knew some swappers so we could, you know, do some, uh, first-hand research, as it were."


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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Paperback 324: Keep Cool, Mr. Jones / Timothy Fuller (Dell 594)

Paperback 324: Dell 594 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Keep Cool, Mr. Jones
Author: Timothy Fuller
Cover artist: Robert Stanley

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:
  • If the ridiculously low-cut blouse didn't get you looking at her boobs, the gun is there to point you in the right direction.
  • "Get me a brisket, Mr. Jones."
  • "What? We like to be surrounded by cold slabs of meat when we do it. Don't judge us."
  • She has an interesting variation on Fear Hand™—like she's timidly waving at the gun-wielder ("uh ... hi honey") or about to sling her web à la Spidey.
  • Jupiter Jones ... and ... January Jones ... in ... 'We Meat Again'!

Best things about this back cover:
  • "For design inspiration, we're going to give you a hard-boiled egg and two dominoes."
  • You'd expect the final tagline to be some kind of outrageous pun or exciting teaser, not a *literal description of what you can see on the cover.*

Page 123~

Bateman put a telephone on the bar. When Jupiter walked up to it Joe nodded quickly at Maney and whispered, "Drunk and ugly. Watch it." And then, normally, "All the comforts of home."


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Friday, June 11, 2010

Paperback 323: The Hate Merchant / Niven Busch (Bantam A1204)

Paperback 323: Bantam A1204 (1st ptg, 1954)

Title: The Hate Merchant
Author: Niven Busch
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:
  • "Hate for sale! Get your fresh hot hate here!"
  • I like the drunk guy inciting the mob while doing an impression of Gene Kelly in 'Singin' in the Rain' — "What a glorious feeling, I'm h- ... Hey, look everybody. It's the giant floating head of Broderick Crawford! Get him!"
  • That is the cock-teasiest cover picture I've seen in a long time. Look at her giving him the coy look and hiking up her skirt: "What? Oh, you want some of this ... this creamy, smooth thigh? Do you? Fat chance you stupid schlub! Call me when you get a real job!" "Why I oughta..." "Oh, your impotent rage is comical." Etc.
  • Design fail: wraparound cover that doesn't. Why in the world do you put the blue frame down the left side when the painting actually *continues* around to the spine and back cover. It's called a 'wrap-around' for a reason, and you have totally blown the effect, jackasses.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Frank!"
  • Thank god for the parenthetical "Ala." in the review; otherwise, how would we know which prestigious "Advertiser" was responsible for this blurbing gem?
  • The mob action is much better on the back cover. More dynamic stick-wielders, more clearly suffering bodies.

Page 123~

Pros nodded. He reached for the bottle, but Splane moved it out of the way.

This is what happens when you let your 4-yr-old daughter name the characters in your book.


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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Paperback 322: The Syndic / Cyril M. Kornbluth (Bantam 1317)

Paperback 322: Bantam 1317 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Syndic
Author: Cyril M. Kornbluth
Cover artist: uncredited (I want it to be Richard Powers, but who knows?)

Yours for: $13

Best things about this cover:
  • "Are we not men? We are DEVO!"
  • In the background, generic scifi cover ... but in the foreground: Dirk Studly models his Kanye3000 spex and his real boss new flashlight holder.
  • I love this guy. The cover dies without him. "I'm here to rescue your cover, ma'am. Don't worry."
  • "Syndic?" The "-ate" was just too much of a mouthful? I am pronouncing this title "The Sin Dick," and hope you do the same.

Best things about this back cover:
  • More outrageous exclamation point action. Love it! Start with a timid "Tomorrow?" and end with a big fucking exclamation point slamming down on your cover: "Hell yes, tomorrow!"
  • Oooh, the "twenty-first century" ... I'm going to look out my window now and there better be little people running frantically through sand pits, away from a dystopic city and toward their badass, flashlight-wielding savior, or I'm going to feel very ripped off.

Page 123~

"I'm Ken Oliver, a figure man in the Blue Department, Picasso Oils and Etchings Corporation. Dr. Latham sent me here for—what do you call it?—a biopsy."


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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Paperback 321: Wicked Women / ed. Lee Wright (Pocket 1263)

Paperback 321: Pocket 1263 (PBO, 1960)

Title: A Butcher's Dozen of Wicked Women
Editor: Lee Wright
Cover artist: Morgan Kane

Yours for: SOLD!

Best things about this cover:
  • If they'd just get rid of the text and let me see what she's looking at, this cover would be perfect.
  • Great Girl Art, Girl With Gun, Gams Galore, all overlooking a cityscape. I live for covers like this. Subtle, sexy, delicious. Her arm position, her hip cock ... perfect. If I woke up in a hotel room and *this* is what I saw when I looked over at the balcony, I could die a happy man.
  • Problem: the painting gives off an urban, hard-boiled vibe. Those authors ... do not. I mean, they're fine, if you like more traditional mysteries, but the ones I recognize are somewhat cozier than authors I tend to read. There *is* a Kenneth Millar (aka Ross Macdonald) story inside. Not sure why he's not on the cover, as he is pretty well established at the time of this book's release.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Cool '60s design — vaguely rectangular swatches of different bright colors arranged in asymmetrical relationship to one another — continued from front cover.
  • I'm torn between the practical Lucy and the vengeful Daihili.

Page 123~

from "Suspicion," by Dorothy L. Sayers

He sipped it thoughtfully, standing by the kitchen stove. After the first sip, he put the cup down. Was it his fancy, or was there something queer about the taste? He sipped it again, rolling it upon his tongue. It seemed to him to have a faint tang, metallic and unpleasant. In a sudden dread he ran out to the scullery and spat the mouthful into the sink.

I read one novel by Sayers and the mystery (or rather, its solution) was So preposterous that I never read another. I will say, however, that the woman knows her way around a sentence. She translated Dante, after all.


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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paperback 320: Gunpoint! / John L. Shelley (Graphic 124)

Paperback 320: Graphic 124 (PBO, 1956)

Title: Gunpoint!
Author: John L. Shelley
Cover artist: Saul Levine

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:
  • I love how excited the title is just to be alive! Exclamation point! And I *love* how the exclamation point is *so* excited that it's falling over.
  • I also love how the shooter is making that great, wincey, western, "I'll get ye, ye rascally varmint" face.
  • His partner has fallen in perhaps the most awkward position I've ever seen a dead body in on a paperback cover.
  • Check out the interior title page — very cool:

And the back cover:

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Let Sleeping Lawdogs Lie" is phenomenally lame. Is "lawdog" even a word?
  • "Lived to kill ... killed to live ... wrong end of a rope ... right end of a gun" — somebody's been practicing his bad movie trailer patter.

Page 123~

Broady came to him, an ancient Sharps buffalo gun in the crook of his arm. His broad face split in a dusty grin and he patted the stock of the weapon.


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