Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Paperback 570: The Big Bite / Charles Williams (Dell First Edition A114)

Paperback 570: Dell First Edition A114 (PBO, 1956)

Title: The Big Bite
Author: Charles Williams
Cover artist: Arthur Sussman

Yours for: $30


Best things about this cover:
  • If, god forbid, I ever get taken hostage, please let it look like this.
  • I love this so much. Sexy, menacing, and depraved. Manages to combine realism, abstraction, and surrealism into one hot, delicious tableau. The orange background is inspired. That bed frame is like something out of a Tim Burton film.
  • The small details make this painting exquisite—her: the haughty eyebrows, the cocky hand-on-hip, the neglected negligee strap, the ambiguously hovering cigarette hand (Will she offer him a drag? Burn his thigh? Who knows!?). Him: the resigned backward tilt of his head, the perfectly framed limp hand, the perfect-electric-white shirt. This is hall-of-fame cover art, for sure. 


Best things about this back cover:
  • MWAH!
  • That "life's a jungle" paragraph is about as good an expression of noir philosophy as I've read since the Flitcraft story in "The Maltese Falcon."
  • Charles Williams was a paperback hero. Well admired by crime fiction aficionados, long forgotten by most others.

Page 123~
She said nothing. I went on out and got in the car. On the way out of town I stopped at a small grocery and bought a dozen cans of beer and some more supplies for the kitchen. I picked up a roll of the plastic film they use to wrap things in a refrigerator with, and two rolls of scotch tape. I bought fifty pounds of ice, wrapped it in an old blanket, and shoved off for the lake. 
I love the "How-the-fuck-am I-supposed-to-know-what-Saran-wrap-is-called!?" attitude of this paragraph.


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Dave M said...

"How the fuck am I supposed to know beer comes in 12-packs?? Damn cans!"

Deniz Bevan said...

However, I just realised that the last time I bought one of the Charles Williams books, I was under the impression that it was Inklings fan Charles Williams. I'd better go take another look at the book... Still on the To Read pile!

Doug P said...

I just read a Charles Williams short story, "Flight to Nowhere," in a pulp fiction anthology. It was sweet. I'm going to look for a cheap reading copy of this book.