Sunday, September 30, 2012

Paperback 568: Net of Cobwebs and The Unfinished Crime / Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (Ace Double G-530)

Paperback 568: Ace Double G-530 (1st ptg, 1963)

Titles: Net of Cobwebs / The Unfinished Crime
Author: Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
Cover artist: [Bob Schuller ??? see signature, running vertically on right, 1/2 in. from chair] / Uncredited

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:
  • Evil genius tests early prototype of the chairs seen on "The Voice."
  • Evil genius savors his successful attempt to make fire burn green.
  • Evil genius remembers when he used to play Eddie Munster.


Best things about this other cover:
  • A frank tale about one girl's life-threatening addiction to cat-huffing.
  • "The Girl Who Mistook Her Cat For Her Mouth"
  • Mary found that they key to really realistic finger puppets was fresh animal corpses.

Page 123~
He went into the library and closed the door behind him, stood looking at Blanche, while she looked back at him, with her great, hollow dark eyes.
"I'm so dam' sick of her...." he thought. 
You can tell he's a tough guy by the way he drops the "n" when he says "damn" ...


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Friday, September 28, 2012

Paperback 567: The Whipping Boy / S.E. Pfoutz (Popular Library 821)

Paperback 567: Popular Library 821 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: The Whipping Boy
Author: S.E. Pfoutz
Cover artist: that guy that did a lot of Popular Library covers in the '50s ... always wore a shirt ...

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • The tragic stair-falling scene from Mickey Spillane's final novel: "Mike Hammer: The Big Knee Replacement"
  • Meanwhile, in the background: "I'd like to cross your color line, baby." "I ... don't know what that means. Please leave." "Oh, alright. Hey, do you think I'm OK to drive? Here, smell my breath, haaaaaaaaaaaah..."
  • I feel like the author's name is some kind of code I'm supposed to break.
  • This is the most unracial racial cover ever. "Did we say 'color line'? We meant big, bold primary colors—the blue THE, the red WHIPPING ... it's about a boy who likes to make whipped cream. Why do you have to make everything about race?"

Best things about this back cover:

  • "I ... I can't decide. Do I stay with midget Vulcan or run off with black Jerry Seinfeld?"
  • "A talented young Negro," HA ha. "Wow, you are really good at being Negro."
  • Why would you go with "piercingly honest" when "frank" is so much more concise? "Frank" novels should just call themselves "frank" and quit hiding behind these flowery euphemisms. This message brought to you by Proud Frank Americans for Frankness. Thank you.

Page 123~

"Don't get funny with me, lover boy," said the creature, leering. "I know your kind from way back."


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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Paperback 566: Sin's Child / Tony Calvano (Sundown Reader 619)

Paperback 566: Sundown Reader 619 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Sin's Child
Author: Tony Calvano
Cover artist: No idea

Yours for: $20

Best things about this cover:
  • I love boobs as much as the next guy (or gal), but those things are horrifying. Massively dimorphic and nipple-less and two-toned. Actually, I could probably acclimate to the boobs if I could get past the face, which is an interesting combination of ashen, drunk and judgey: "Chyaaaa ... you guys call that 'shirtless fighting'? I'll show ya shirtless fighting ... just lemme pull my underwears out of my crack and I'll shows you guys ... [burp] ..."
  • "Your Warrior 3 pose sucks, maggot! Hiiiiya!"
  • "Yeah, yeah, you can fly, Bill, I get it. Could you just, I dunno, fly *that* way ... away from me. I gotta go rescue Suzy."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Answering the question: what causes shamelessness?
  • "OK, I can care for you, but ... well, I gotta take you somewhere, and you're not gonna like it."
  • Face of Evil. Yes. That is an apt description of what I witnessed on the front cover.

Page 123~
"When two people are in love, when they've committed themselves to each other ... Nothing they do in the name of that love is wrong ... there is no such thing as perversion. If it strengthens that love, if it enhances the final ecstasy of that love ... Can you understand that, angel?"
"I think so. Only ..."
"No qualifications, kitten. Either you accept the whole package [!] or you don't. What do you say?"
I'm somehow imagining this happening on a game show stage, with the audience shouting variations on "Take the package!" or "Noooooooooooooooooo!"


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P.S. many thanks to Doug Peterson for continuing to send me nutso stuff like this...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paperback 565: The Third Sex / Artemis Smith (Beacon 649)

Paperback 565: Beacon Books B649F (2nd ptg, 1963)

Title: The Third Sex
Author: Artemis Smith
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $25
Best things about this cover:
  • Joan was excited about embarking on her new life as a Lesbian superhero, but disappointed at the costume prototype.
  • Seriously, in what context, outside magician's assistant, would one wear that?
  • You can tell Joan is gay because she's named after the famous lesbian heroine Joan of Arc. You can tell Marc is gay because no straight Mark would be caught dead with that spelling outside of France. This is all to say that I don't think they were "fooling" anybody. 
  • "Artemis Smith" screams 'pseudonym.' Artemis hangs out (often naked) only with the ladies, and Smith ... is the pseudonymoustiest name in the book.
  • "Society's greatest curse?" Tell that to the legions of masturbators who bought this thing.
  • Speaking of "The Third Sex," I'm still hunting for a pre-1980s usage of the phrase "lipstick lesbian." I'll admit, I'm using "hunting" here rather loosely. What I mean is, "occasionally flipping through some books I have." Anyway, I know the phrase was in use decades before the '80s, and I want proof!

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Surcease" made me LOL hard.
  • "Strange Annals of Love" = the Judas Priest cover band Marc plays in on weekends
  • On the front cover, the naked girl in the bed looks fantastic. Here, she looks like a mermaid who's been in a bad accident.

Page 123~
They finished their coffee and left the luncheonette.
I know it's not the sexiest or most outrageous sentence in the world. I just like the word "luncheonette."


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Paperback 564: Cat Man / Edward Hoagland (Signet S1499)

Paperback 564: Signet S1499 (1st ptg, 1958)

Title: Cat Man
Author: Edward Hoagland
Cover artist: Stanley Zuckerberg

Yours for: $12
Best things about this cover:
  • Yes, your ass *is* impressive, ma'am, but Zombie Bowser wants brains.
  • If I knew what she was doing, I would tell you.
  • What is that magic cloud of pastel soup that Bowser's wallowing around in? I'm torn between 'really shitty futon cover from ca. 1994' and 'Smurf latrine.'
  • "He courted danger in a jungle world"—ohhhhh. That's what I'm looking at. Courtship. "Geena, I'm down on all my paws, beggin' you—won't you be my jaguar-bride?"

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Random Words" = equally scintillating alternative to "Big Top"; unless there are gay implications I'm missing, which I really hope there are.
  • Where have all the cagehands gone?
  • I like how "winos" are so-called, while freaks are just fucking freaks—no quotation marks needed. We all know freaks when we see them, amiright? Pfft. Freaks.
  • "Rejected by respectable society"!? I've seen the cover. I'm with respectable society here.

Page 123~
Bible licked his mustache and brooded [1]. The man in black smiled, thinking about something [2]. His face was lumpy and gentle [3]. The buttons on his shirt were gray instead of black, and he was playing with them. His belt buckle reflected silver like anybody else's belt buckle [4].
  • [1] Some people give their kids names from the Bible. And then some just say 'fuck it, I can't keep them bible names straight. Let's just call him Bible.'
  • [2] I like the second half of this sentence for answering the tough questions I had about the first half of this sentence.
  • [3] "... like oatmeal, when it's thinking about something"
  • [4] Foreshadowing the black-hole belt buckle that kills everyone at the end. (spoiler alert)


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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paperback 563: Canterbury Tails / Bjorn Peters (Adam's Gay Readers 148)

Paperback 563: Adam's Gay Readers 148 (PBO, 1986)

Title: Canterbury Tails
Author: Bjorn Peters
Cover artist: yes

Yours for: ... well, I can see exactly one copy of the book on sale, at ebay, for $103, so ... $1,000,000 (or best offer)
Best things about this cover:
  • I assume this is a modern version of the Nun's Priest's Tale, since that tale centers on a cock.
  • As a friend of mine noted, *that* sandwich will not fit in *that* lunchbox (p.s. that's what she said).
  • I love fall weather—cold enough for a down vest, hot enough for a shirt unbuttoned all the way below the navel.
  • I love how the artist captured the expression on sandwich guy's face precisely at the moment he realizes what his co-worker is suggesting. [Needle scratching on record!]
  • After yet another unsuccessful audition for Village People '86, Raymond needed the comfort that only a fellow hard-hat could provide ...
  • "Bjorn" is funny on many levels. Most notably, its first two letters.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Really? "Surey?" That's your name? Are you sure? Or sorry? And what kind of circus font is that?
  • If this is Adam's Gay Reader #148, how bad, HOW BAD do I want Adam's Gay Readers #1-147!?

Page 123~ (drum roll, please)
Having Jim's cock filling my mouth, and mine filling his, made me feel closer to him than I had ever felt to anyone.
The word "literally!" comes to mind. Understatement, thy name is Bjorn Peters! [slow clap => standing ovation]

P.S. this sample is not atypical. Virtually every sentence of this book is this unintentionally awesome. Who knew words like "gullet" and "starchy" (!?) were erotic!? A revelation. Five stars.


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Monday, September 17, 2012

Paperback 562: Summer Street / Hal Ellson (Ballantine Books 27)

Paperback 562: Ballantine Books 27 (PBO, 1953)

Title: Summer Street
Author: Hal Ellson
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $12

Best things about this cover:
  • "Aw, gee whiz, Summer. I didn't know this was your street. OK, OK, I'll leave. Golly, it's gettin' so's a fella can't practice his Fonzie poses nowheres!"
  • "Aw, gee whiz, it's Miss McGillicuddy. Now she's gonna know I'm playin' hooky. OK, Billy, c'mon, get it together. Just play it cool. No eye contact. Stare broodingly into the distance and she'll just walk on by ..."
  • "Billy, get back in the house. Your dungarees need washing."
  • I believe "emotional awakening" is '50s code for "awkward, furtive sexual experiences."
  • "SHE ... was an angel in lime green chiffon. HE ... was a telepath who could move trash cans with his mind. Together, they ruled ... Summer Street!"
  • The great Bob Maguire! This cover is from his ... lesser period.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Well, go on. You said you'd die for me, so ... don't just sit there. Here, I'll give you a push. 1, 2, 3 ..."
  • "The water sure is murky, Gloria. Murky like our hearts on account of we're star-crossed but I'm from the wrong side of the..." "Shut up, Billy. You gonna jump or what?"
  • "His mother's confining affection..." — uh oh. "Mom, I need a real girl. One I'm not related to."
  • I can't believe this cover doesn't tell us the book is "frank." "Unusual honesty and understanding" is sooooo something a "frank" story would contain.

Page 123~
In another moment she would fling herself upon him if he did not read the note. He lowered his eyes and found he had guessed right, though the message was not worded as expected. Simply and directly, it said: "Do you want to? Yes or no?"
Long story short—he does want to, and there follows one of those 1950s sex scenes that is all indirection and euphemism, all "avalanche of fire" and "plunging creature" and "swelling within himself" and "tremendous surge as if all that was himself had burst." The best part is that he comes first, but she won't stop until she comes too, so of course: "It was then that fear enveloped him again." No wonder he has that traumatized look on his face. "My genitals and I need some time alone, Miss McGillicuddy."


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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Paperback 561: GI Rights and Army Justice: The Draftee's Guide to Military Life and Law / Robert S. Rivkin (Grove B-258)

Paperback 561: Grove B-258 (1st ptg, 1970)

TitleGI Rights and Army Justice: The Draftee's Guide to Military Life and Law
Author: Robert S. Rivkin
Cover artist: Jules Feiffer

Yours for: $11
Best things about this cover:
  • I hope the resolution on this image is good enough for you to see the G.I. being crushed by the title. Huddled up and anxious. What a great Vietnam-era, counterculture book this is.
  • Love the Red White and Blue *on black* color scheme—it essentially says "your country is great because it has laws that will protect you even though your country is doing Terrible things in southeast Asia."
  • Jules Feiffer! I probably got this book just because the art was by him.
  • Grove Press fought really important legal battles against censorship in the '50s and '60s after publishing banned books like "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and "Tropic of Cancer," among others. For more info, see the entertaining 2008 documentary "Obscene."

Best things about this back cover:
  • A.C.L.U.—the renegade publisher's best friend.
  • "Minus Its Couth" is a strange, fantastic phrase.
  • The black cat logo is so super-awesome that I want it on a t-shirt, like, right now.

Page 123~
However, treason may be committed only in time of a declared war and must involve something more than merely expression.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Paperback 560: The Lowest Sins / Joe Castro (Midwood F125)

Paperback 560: Midwood F125 (PBO, 1961)

Title: The Lowest Sins
Author: Joe Castro
Cover artist: Paul Rader

Yours for: $25

Best things about this cover:
  • Nothing sexier than a barmaid kneeling on a frozen lake, I tell you what ...
  • You can't look at this too long because, man, below the waist she looks kind of twisted and broken. It's like she's trying to stand up after a very bad fall. Either that, or she is taking a knee / preparing to do some Tebowing.
  • I love the cleavage and the glimpse of garter and all, but this pose is so random and unnatural that most of the sexiness is drained right out of it.
  • Can a sister get some context up in here?
  • The condition on this book is astonishing. Square, unread, uncreased, gorgeous.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Um, yes, same girl. Same picture, even, I'm pretty sure. Is that all? I've got other cases to solve.
  • LOVE the existential terror inspired by the question "WHAT WAS SHE?"—"We need to label her, stat!"
  • Frank!!!!

Page 123~
It took only a few minutes before Jenny placed her two hands over her ears to shut out the loud snoring of John's slumber.
"That tears it!" she thought. "I'm going lesbian."


PS thanks to Doug Peterson for sending me this book—and three more books, which I'll feature in the upcoming weeks.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Paperback 559: The Promoter / Orrie Hitt (Beacon Books 142)

Paperback 559: Beacon Books BB142 (PBO, 1957)

Title: The Promoter
Author: Orrie Hitt
Cover artist: Walter Popp

Yours for: $20
Best things about this cover:
  • "So ... you're here for the free Tai Chi lesson?"
  • I love his smugfuck face: "What can I say? It's like the tagline says, I love my work."
  • I like her. I really hope she takes all his money and leaves him tied up and half-naked in that room.
  • Love the trash can peeking out from around the corner. Just in case you thought this story was classy.
  • "On the surface she was all smooth legs and orange sweaters, but deep down inside, she was ... the Teen Temptress of Trash Town."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Oh, you crazy kids and your cellar clubs (!?!).
  • "Cellar club" sounds like a serial killer's euphemism for "place where I keep the bones of my victims."
  • "His best weapons were women ... sure, they're a little cumbersome, but once you learn to swing one you can do some Serious damage."

Page 123~
Nothing further was known about her until she had appeared in the city, five years previously, and had set herself up in the model agency business. Her credit rating vouched for the fact that she had been successful—No one had any outstanding bills against her. Her association with Andy Willis who, by the way, was from Billings, Montana, had been a routine thing.
People forget there was a time in American history when being from Billings, Montana was considered fascinating and exciting, possibly because that time never actually existed.


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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Paperback 558: The Sixpenny Dame / Eaton K. Goldthwaite (Pennant Books P49)

Paperback 558: Pennant Books P49 (1st ptg, 1954)

Title: The Sixpenny Dame
Author: Eaton K. Goldthwaite
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:
  • Larry: "Hmm. She's OK, I guess. I'll give you fine pennies." Steve: "How dare you! En garde!"
  • On the rocky shores of Mustard Cove, they settled their score like men—with a dance-off!
  • Sheila: "Would you two hurry it up already? I wanna go home. My neck's sore and I think I ate too many crabcakes."
  • Once again—love the dress. Not sure about the bangs, but love the dress.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Hey, boss, I got this design idea. Now, close your eyes and imagine ... instead of regular old bullet points: red squares! ... yeah, I know it clashes with the purple border ... but I just thought, you know, it's a novel about conflict, so ... yes, sir. Yes, sir. Sorry, sir."
  • Bullet 3: See Bullet 1
  • There's cryptic-good and cryptic-bad. Then there's this useless, befuddling mess of nothingness.

Page 123~
This put my Sixpenny dame in a new and uncomfortable light, for it showed she had employed psychopathic protection of a high order. 
I like how he talks about her like she's a seventh-level Wizard in "Dungeons & Dragons."


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Friday, September 7, 2012

Paperback 557: The Eight of Swords / John Dickson Carr (Berkley G-48)

Paperback 557: Berkley G-48 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: The Eight of Swords
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:
  • First things first: that dress is Hot. 
  • Apparently he did *not* mean "Eight of Spades" and did *not* appreciate being interrupted. 
  • The perspective here is weird, creepy, and visually arresting. I like this cover despite its being one of the more aggressive examples of the weapon-to-crotch motif. 
  • Maybe he's just tickling her. Or maybe she's not real and we're witnessing some strange sword-painting technique. 
  • Maguire is my favorite cover artist of all time. I love how he didn't even bother finishing this painting. "Uh, Mr. Maguire, sir, were you going to finish this painting, or ..." "YOU DON'T TELL BOB MAGUIRE WHEN HIS PAINTINGS ARE FINISHED. BOB MAGUIRE TELLS YOU!"


Best things about this back cover:
  • The N.Y. Herald Tribune makes Mr. Carr sound like a mystery rapist.
  • I like Dr. Gideon Fell because his name is a complete sentence.
  • Strangely, the thing I like best about this cover is the font on the publisher's address.

Page 123~

Spinelli's lip lifted in a sardonic quirk. He sniggered. "Hey, are you a dick?" he asked.

If you like sardonic sniggering, this is your book.


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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Paperback 556: Big Man / Richard Marsten (Pocket Books 1235)

Paperback 556: Pocket Books 1235 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Big Man
Author: Richard Marsten
Cover artist: Richard Abbett

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • This is somehow both unremarkable and quintessential. I wish the background lady were a little more crisply rendered, a little bit less like some medieval woodcut, but I love the distressed title font, the nutso Lee Marvinesque shooter, and the tiny detail of the shell casing floating between his eyes and the gun. Oh, and the red. The big, bold, blood red. All great.
  • Richard Marsten = Evan Hunter = Ed McBain, for those of you playing the alias name game at home.
  • 1959 is the dead center of my collection, so I have a particular affection for books from that year, especially beat-up but still complete and readable crime fiction paperback originals with sensational covers. The somewhat lousy girl art is the only thing keeping this from being Perfect.
  • It's honestly creepy how much this guy appears to be imitating Lee Marvin in "Point Blank" ... which won't come out for almost another decade.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Carfon looks like something that should have a "TM" after it and be on the handset of chunky 1980s car phone.
  • May Taglio! (not to be confused with Maytag Leo, who fixes your washer/dryer)
  • I reviewed Daybreak once, a long time ago.

Page 123~
"You ain't gonna kill me," he said. "If you don't know it, I do. You just ain't gonna kill me in cold—" and I pulled the trigger.
This page dragged me right in and I read to the end of the chapter. It's amazingly brutal. The next killing's even colder. And none of these people is May Taglio! Based on these pages, I don't see him having Any problem killing his wife. I might actually read this one cover-to-cover.


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