Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Paperback 506: The Man Inside (Milo March Mystery 4) / M.E. Chaber (Paperback Library 63-213)

Paperback 506: Paperback Library 63-213 (1st ptg, 1970)

Title: The Man Inside (Milo March Mystery 4)
Author: M. E. Chaber
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $5


Best things about this cover:
  • Yes, Lee Marvin likes your see-through sarong very much.
  • Seriously, this guy is my hero. I want his rough-hewn throne, his shirt, his, let's say, bourbon, and his, let's say, companion.
  • The art deco-ish font is ... odd. Not throne-odd, but odd.
  • Where Is Her Other Shoe!?


Best things about this back cover:
  • Hell Yeah Wenching! 
  • I want a sweater made of Chaber yarn.
  • "You need not be told ..." HA ha. That wins "Most Unnecessary Blurb."

Page 123~

"Homicide is sending a man. Maybe they've already sent him. I threw around as much weight as I could and I think he'll look you up before he does anything, but don't expect any more than that. I don't think he'll give you any cooperation."
"I never expect any from a cop," I said.

Ooh, a quipster who plays by his own rules. He's the Die Hard of his generation.


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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Paperback 505: One Minute Past Eight / George Harmon Coxe (Dell D346)

Paperback 505: Dell D346 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: One Minute Past Eight
Author: George Harmon Coxe
Cover artist: Robert Maguire (mysteriously attributed to Freeman Eliot)

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • "No. Not yet. I will show you my boobs at one minute past eight ... and not a minute sooner."
  • This title was the result of arduous negotiations between the "8:01" people and the "Fifty-Nine Minutes Before Nine" people.
  • How in the world does this cover painting get misattributed to "Freeman Eliot" (see back cover attribution)? Aside from the fact that that is manifestly a Maguire girl, there's the little matter of the partially visible and absolutely distinctive *signature* in the bottom right corner. Maybe "Freeman Eliot" is like the "Alan Smithee" of paperback cover art credits—when you want to take your name off a dog, you have them attribute your work to a catchall fake name.


Best things about this back cover:
  • In case you forgot the title, the clock is here to remind you.
  • This is one of the least grabby back cover synopses I've seen.
  • What is this "cold conviction?" Surely not the mere (cliché) fact that "He was in a strange land, among strange people, and up to his neck in murder." PS "Strange people?" They're Venezuelans, not Martians.

Page 123~

Dusk had begun to finger the sidewalks now and here and there a light winked on in some store window.

Unless Dusk is identifying the guilty sidewalks in a sidewalk line-up, I'd *really* consider changing that verb.


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Friday, February 24, 2012

Paperback 504: TCOT Screaming Woman / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4523)

Paperback 504: Pocket Books 4523 (1st ptg, 1963)

Title: The Case of the Screaming Woman
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • From bottom to top: "Nice ... great ... lovely ... WHAT'S THAT ON HER HEAD?! GET IT OFF GET IT OFF! KILL IT!"
  • Looks like somebody ran over a sloth several times, and then dipped it in mustard and arranged it neatly on her head.
  • McGinnis was one fine ass-drawer.
    I like how "Screaming" is kinda bouncing all over the place.
  • Perry Mason *solves* the case ... spoiler alert!


Best things about this back cover:
  • Rooftop antenna! Hot.
  • Nice morphing of the arrow motif.
  • "You're wife is either a part of this conspiracy or she's a fucking idiot. Take your pick."—Perry Mason occasionally enjoyed being a total dick to his clients.

Page 123~

"We followed the wet footprints on the linoleum in Derby's house from the shower to the front window, from the window to where he had gone to grab the towel, and down the stairs. We could, in other words, follow the handy man's route, step for step."

Ah, the handy man in the shower. Looks like Perry's got himself mixed up in the plot of some low-grade porn.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Paperback 503: TCOT Sunbather's Diary / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4514)

Paperback 503: Pocket Books 4514 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • Among my favorite McGinnis covers. I love that he's got the gorgeous woman in a discernible context—great sense of setting and mood. Love her "what the fuck do you want?" stare, and her glasses, and the texture and angles of the wooden walkway, and her hair, to say nothing of the sun-shaped title.
  • If you look at her ass (and why not?), it looks like this woman's bikini was originally somewhat larger, and pink, and then it was changed to skimpier, and black. Good choice. Love the little side-tie.
  • Never was too sure what was supposed to be conveyed by that arrow inside the author's initials. "Perry Mason goes down ... to the beach? gets down ... to business? takes the elevator down ... to the cafeteria?"


Best things about this back cover:
  • More arrows, pointing in random directions. "Perry Mason goes around ... the block to the deli?"
  • Down to the penny. Back when pennies mattered, dagnabbit!
  • OMG, is Perry Mason the killer!? I have to read this! (is what no one reading the back cover would say)

Page 123~

Paul put the receiver to his ear, said, "Yes. Hello," then listened for a moment, said, "The deuce!" then turned to Perry Mason.

"Okay, Perry," he said, "the fat's in the fire."


Even mild-mannered Perry Mason found Paul's refusal to communicate in anything but old-time exclamations and idiomatic phrases exasperating.


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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Paperback 502: Onionhead / Weldon Hill (Popular Library SP13)

Paperback 502: Popular Library SP13 (1st ptg, 1958)

Title: Onionhead
Author: Weldon Hill
Cover artist: Mitchell Hooks

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:
  • This book is all about this guy's insatiable appetite. He likes to eat. Hence "onion." And "head."
  • "Oh, Onionhead, you're so ... ribald."
  • When the S.F. paper calls your book about a girl-crazy sailor the "gayest novel in years," you might have a marketing problem on your hands.
  • Mitchell Hooks is a highly underrated coverartist. His stuff is generally sketchier and more whimsical than the work of the more famous Great Girl Artists, but I always find it very engaging. Love the rough black line work. Also, LOVE the redhead's outfit.


Best things about this back cover:
  • On the cover, the girls thought Onionhead was in the Navy. Here, they learn he was in the Coast Guard.
  • FOOD OR SEX? They're really pushing this appetite parallel a lot. Unless this book culminates in Onionhead eating large plates of pasta and various desserts off the naked bodies of gorgeous young ladies, I'm going to be very disappointed.
  • Again: Ribald! For her pleasure.

Page 123~
Al began browsing among the supplies, getting oriented. He noticed a recipe for muffins on a bag of cornmeal, and got a brilliant idea. He had to learn how to cook, so he ought to practice, learn by experience, trial and error. He would make some goddam muffins.

I want an apron depicting the front cover art and the caption: "He would make some goddam muffins." I would wear it every day.


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Friday, February 17, 2012

Paperback 501: The Candy Kid / Dorothy B. Hughes (Pocket Books 845)

Paperback 501: Pocket Books 845 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: The Candy Kid
Author: Dorothy B. Hughes
Cover artist: Edward Vebell

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:
  • I guess he didn't care for the package.
  • "I said, 'Where's the candy, kid!?' I want my fuckin' Reese's back, right now!"
  • Some of the best upside-down face art I've ever seen.
  • I like that dude's suit.
  • Check out the Fear Hand (Extreme Edition) on his lapel!
  • Getting Jane to swallow her pills was always a chore.


Best things about this back cover:
  • I think the guy on the cover misread this as "Never Balk At Strangling Women"
  • Jo Aragon needs to buy a vowel, specifically an "e" to put on the end of his first name.
  • If you want to end your teaser paragraph with a bang, I suggest the adjective "tampered-with" be nowhere in sight.

Page 123~

He woke up on coffee and a hamburger.

He rolled over to find Sylvia standing in the doorway, a horror-struck look on her face. "When you said you 'loved food' ... well ... I ... [sobbing] ... a hamburger!? A plain old hamburger!? Is that how easily I'm replaced!?"


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paperback 500: Gladiator / Philip Wylie (Avon 216)

Paperback 500 (!): Avon 216 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: Gladiator
Author: Philip Wylie
Cover artist: uncredited student of the male physique

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • Hugo was very self-conscious about his gigantic red nipples.
  • Mr Clean: The Innocent Years
  • Sorry, ladies—this genie is happy to grant wishes. Just not yours.
  • This cover is one of Avon's experimental "cut-out dolls" series—putting ladies' heads on Steve's well-oiled, musclebound torso provides hours (or at least minutes) of family fun.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Lusty and Vigorous! Shakespeare approves. "Quite!"
  • "Huh, I can sleep with any woman I want, but somehow it's not satisfying. I wonder what the problem is ... I'm going down to muscle beach to see what the other shirtless guys think."
  • "Complete love for Hugo however was hidden behind a closed door"—It Sure Was

Page 123~

Mr. Shayne chuckled. "Some of my spears were already made into plows, and it was a great season for the harvest, young man—a great season."

"We aren't talking about farming anymore, are we Mr. Shayne?" squeaked Hugo.


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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Paperback 499: The Bamboo Blonde / Dorothy B. Hughes (Pocket Books 394)

Paperback 499: Pocket Books 394 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: The Bamboo Blonde
Author: Dorothy B. Hughes
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • Fear Hand! (a damned good example of the form)
  • "No! No! Not a wart! Not now! Leonard will think I'm hideous! I'll be the pariah of the cotillion."
  • She's got Norma Desmond eyes.
  • Those curls are so perfectly circular and evenly set. Looks like her hair was made from some kind of mold or forge.
  • People liked knowing *exactly* which book they were getting from Pocket Book. Just like McDonald's customers liked knowing exactly how many had been "served" before them.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Beautiful, but Dead, so ... I'll give you a 50% discount. Whaddya say?"
    CON SATTERLEE—good luck ever topping that name.
  • "The debonair Kew! The strapping Ar! The feckless Ess! And the toothsome Tee!" 

Page 123~

But he couldn't, not in a billion light-years, be guilty of murder.

I don't know. A billion light-years is a stupidly long time (especially insofar as it's not a time at all).


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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Paperback 498: Ride the Pink Horse / Dorothy B. Hughes (Dell 210)

Paperback 498: Dell 210 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: Ride the Pink Horse
Author: Dorothy B. Hughes
Cover artist: [Gerald Gregg]

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • That zombie is going to Town on that horse flank!
  • "Riding the Pink Horse" would make a great slang phrase / euphemism. Maybe for ... when you are consuming lots of Pepto Bismol. Ask me about my two other suggestions! (warning: they involve sexuality and menstrual flow, respectively)
  • I know some carnival rides give people motion sickness, but I had no idea a carousel could wreck a guy that bad. Down to his hair.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Mapback!
  • Visually, this not that interesting. Just a cluster of dots on a lined white back ground. Like someone used it for target practice. Nice cluster.
  • I love the expressive lines coming off the Cross of the Martyrs. Nice comic booky touch.
  • But what is that thing projecting out from beneath it? Sconces Gone Wild!

Page 123~
"I'd take a drink. This Sunday law is a hindrance. To a working man."
"... and that's the last thing I remember saying. Three days later I came to, draped over a carousel horse, my mouth tasting of cigarettes, vomit, and whore."


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Paperback 497: Sleep with the Devil / Day Keene (Lion 204)

Paperback 497: Lion Books 204 (PBO, 1954)

Title: Sleep with the Devil
Author: Day Keene
Cover artist: sadly, uncredited

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • One of my favorites for a number of reasons, most notably the unusually cartoony style of drawing. It's like I'm looking at a still from a modern animated noir series (which should exist— "Archer" is great, but I'd love something more noirish and serious).
  • Hate to break this to you lady, but in a number of different ways, that dude is Not Interested. 
  • Her robe is awesomely foldy. This cover owes half its lineage to Japanese artists like Hokusai and the other half to Saturday morning cartoons.
  • I went through a big Day Keene phase in the '90s. Didn't everyone?
  • Perhaps my favorite part of this book is the bookshop stamp—in case you can't read it, this book was once the property of the "JUNQUE SHOPPE" (of Hoquiam, WA). All "-unk" words should be spelled that way. Junque in the trunque! 
  • The name "Hoquiam" comes from a Native-American word meaning "hungry for wood" (wikipedia), as in "The lady on this cover looks very Hoquiam."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Again with the cartoony greatness.
  • Her hair looks like a topographic map.
  • I thought maybe the designer was trying to get an acrostic going, but I don't think LWAJ means anything.
  • Ferron! "... he began to erase himself from existence." Look, he's almost done! Just the head to go!

Page 123~
He wished now he hadn't been so greedy. He wished he had listened to Lydia. If they had gone away together, as she had wanted to, they could be nearing the Newark airport. By noon, late afternoon at the latest, they could be in Miami, lolling in the sun, with nothing to do but get drunk and spend Whit's money and make love.
The Miami tourism bureau needs to hire this writer. I've never had the slightest desire to go to Miami, but now it's all I can think of.


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Friday, February 3, 2012

Paperback 496: The Jewels of Aptor / Samuel R. Delany (Sphere 28894)

Paperback 496: Sphere 28894 (1st ptg, 1971)

Title: The Jewels of Aptor
Author: Samuel R. Delany
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • Image lifted from a "Welcome to the Wonderful World of Scientology!" poster
  • "Let's get high and listen to the new Phallus Eruption album!"
  • I always thought the Washington Monument could stand to be a little ... gayer.


Best things about this back cover:
  • This font is killing me. That "w" is totally making out with that "e."
  • If there's one way I like my vivid images, it's crammed.
  • "Denouement," Ha ha. I haven't seen that word since high school. So Shakespearean.

Page 123~
The knot's invention was ingenious. At the vibration, two opposed loops shook away from a third, and a four millimetre length of rubber band that had been sewn in tightened and released a fourth loop from a small length of number four gauge wire with a holding tonsure of three quarters of a gram, and the opposing vibration returning up the cord loosed a similar apparatus on the other side of the plug.
Dang. Sex toys of the future are complicated.


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Paperback 495: Bridge of Sand / Frank Gruber (Bantam S3926)

Paperback 495: Bantam S3926 (1st ptg, 1969)

Title: Bridge of Sand
Author: Frank Gruber
Cover artist: Uncredited [Sanford Kossin]

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • Very late for my collection. I own it because a. it has a fully painted cover (in an era when these were giving way to the Tyranny of Text—branding/author's name inflation); and b. it's by Frank Gruber, writing here at the tail end of a loooooong career that began in the pulps (his "Pulp Jungle"—a memoir of his early writing career, is very much worth reading).
  • That said, I don't love this painting, or, more specifically, this color scheme. It definitely conveys "oppressively hot and sandy," but I just end up wishing I had clearer views of all the interesting characters. Dude in the fez wants his time in the spotlight!
  • World's tiniest minarets, stage left.
  • Apparently this guy's gun holds hand lotion: "Damn dry Egyptian weather ... wreaks havoc on my soft skin."


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Amazonian lesbian!" Top that. You can't. Game over.
  • VENGEANCE! My penchant for tales of vengeance probably also had something to do with my buying this book.
  • I call this painting "Someone Really Doesn't Like Brown Mustard."
  • Violence should not come in "potpourri" form. Really hard to take seriously.
  • "Fills the cauldron of suspense ... decants the wine of mystery ... warms the tea kettle of perversion ... etc.!"

Page 123~

It was in Ahmed Fosse's power to reveal that fame to Charles Holterman, to dangle the possibility of it before Holterman, and then ... to destroy it, just before he killed Holterman.

Ahmed knew a little bit about fame from his brother Bob. Also, this paragraph really needs one more "Holterman."


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