Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Paperback 614: The Ordeal of Private Heath / Jeb Stuart (Pyramid 106)

Paperback 614: Pyramid Books 116 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: The Ordeal of Private Heath
Author: Jeb Stuart
Cover artist: [Julian Paul]

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • "Your knees ... I can't hear anything ... I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING!!!"
  • Knee fetishism—truly "the gravest sin"!
  • He likes it when you rub his head and tickle his underarm.
  • I love her expression. "O, look at the spotlights. Why can't I be out at a movie premiere instead of stuck in this dank apartment grooming my shell-shocked boyfriend? I should've married that Bill Rivers when I had the chance."
  • I also love the way she is lit. Gives the painting the feeling of a religious tableau — from one of the sillier Bible stories, perhaps.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The front cover suggested it, the back cover suggests it more strongly, and a very quick perusal of contents of the book confirms it—"less than a man" = "queer."
  • How many years had gone by since the publication of "A Farewell to Arms" and how bad were the war novels in that period?
  • Interior blurb from James Michener. Also, the Binghamton Press. So, you know ... heavy hitters.
  • "If you dislike stark realism, this book is not for you"—actual warning printed opposite title page. Heart of Starkness!
  • The Louisville Courier-Journal says "Will be compared with The Naked and the Dead"; I'm guessing the publishers left off the "... and found wanting" part.

Page 123~
"You looked like a lion," she said.
"A lion," he said dryly, humorlessly. "A sad-looking lion indeed."
"An unhappy lion," she answered, getting up from the floor and seating herself beside him, touching his cheek, saying, "I will not ask questions."

A woman who knows her lions and stays out of your business. Sexy!


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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Paperback 613: Deadly Desire / Edward Booth (Newsstand Library U146)

Paperback 613: Newsstand Library U146 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Deadly Desire
Author: Edward Booth
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • "Deadly Desire" was a last-minute substitution for the original title, "Boobs Bus."
  • His eyes are the Best! He has this fantastic, dubious expression, like "Really? You're telling me those are real? ... OK ..."
  • I love this cover. It's sexy while being ordinary. I'm as intrigued by her boobs as I am by his eyes and the design on that bus window. Vivid and eye-catching.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The present tense in that first part is weird for paperback covers, right? Feels weird.
  • Ah, the sexiest words a woman can say to a man: Oklahoma City.

Page 123~

"And so ends our little affair," she said. "But what are you going to do."
"I don't know yet," he answered, "but I'll find someone sooner or later. It's never too late, you know."

Get it? "Sooner or later" ... and they're in Oklahoma ... That's killer material.


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Friday, February 22, 2013

Paperback 612: Martinis, Manhattans or Me? / Barbara O'Brien (Zebra 0013)

Paperback 612: Zebra Books 8468-0013 (PBO, 1974)

Title: Martinis, Manhattans or Me? 
Author: Barbara O'Brien
Cover artist: Boobshot McGee [photo cover]

Yours for: $75


Best things about this cover:
  • Um, I'm gonna have to try them all and see...
  • What's truly awesome about this cover is how normal-pretty she is. She's not all fakely sexed-up, the way you might expect on a cover of this nature. Cleavage, sure, but that's practically modest by today's standards. 
  • I really want to hear what's being said in that background conversation between Cap'n Blue Tracksuit and Missy Surprised Drunkface.
  • Font! Those dots on the Is are the best I-dots ever—martini-shaped!
  • This book is apparently pretty rare. It's also in wicked good condition. Hence the $$$ it would take it to pry it from my hands.


Best things about this back cover.
  • I'm pretty sure I will guess, and I'm pretty sure I'll at least be in the ballpark.
  • Prince should write a song called "Lady Bartender."
  • You can tell "how much man you're getting" by the drink he orders??? Is this on the Zima-WhiskeyNeat scale?
  • If this website ever hosts some kind of Mid-Century Paperback Insanity-type party, I promise to make drinks from this book.
  • I opened to a random page just now and the first line I saw was "Sounds kind of groovy." Also, quick thumbing through revealed words such as "sumbitch" and phrases such as "withdrew his cock," so ... literati, take note.

Page 125~ (much better than 123, trust me)

Karen was a really bigger-than-life Great Fuck. Another reason for her immense popularity with customers was her agreeable attitude toward sex. Karen simply adored going to bed. She dug fucking. She liked it, enjoyed, desired, and gave her single-minded concentration to the act of fucking.

"She was indifferent to many things; fucking was not one of them. No fuck-hater, she. Etc."


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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paperback 611: TCOT Perjured Parrot / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 378)

Paperback 611: Pocket Books 378 (3rd ptg, 1947)

Title: The Case of the Perjured Parrot
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $18


Best things about this cover:
  • Perjured Parrot is not lying when he says he will straight-up maul your face.
  • I will be seeing those eyes and that "hand" in my nightmares tonight, and every night.
  • This book is in near-perfect condition.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The oldest pun in the book.
  • "Exceedingly profane parrot" = best premise for a mystery I've ever heard. "I will #$%@ up your face and then #$%@ your wife, you #$@%ing #$@%-ass #$@%!"
  • "Like a mule-skinner" is a simile that has lost a bit of its cultural resonance. By "a bit" I mean "all."

Page 123~

Bolding pushed back his swivel chair, crossed over to a steel filing case, unlocked the catch and angrily jerked the steel drawer open. "Oh, all right," he said, "if you're going to act that way about it."

He then made a pouty face, stomped off, and locked himself in his room with a copy of "Tiger Beat."


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Paperback 610: Morocco Jones in The Case of the Golden Angel / Jack Baynes (Crest 325)

Paperback 610: Crest Books 325 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Morocco Jones in The Case of the Golden Angel
Author: Jack Baynes
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • Hey look, it's Robert Mitchum's slow, pin-headed cousin ... Morocco.
  • What are you, a pirate? Button your blouse, Morocco.
  • LOVE her pose / expression. It's like she's upset that no one's paying attention to her: "Oh, my, there's a rip in the back of my dress, boys. Look. Boys? Boys!!!"
  • The boys are developing their patented angry secret handshake.
  • And Morocco floated like a besotted wine-colored god in the heavens ... 


Best things about this back cover:
  • This back cover was made with some early, horrid version of Photoshop. "Crop! Ok, now ... blue-ify!"
  • Oh, *that* Kansas City.
  • Of course nobody told Morocco that the "S.O.S." stood for "Sad Old Spy." It would've hurt his feelings.

Page 123~
Dave tossed Morocco a taut grin. "What honest labor union leader could afford a perch like this one?"
You have to make your grin taut before you toss it, otherwise it just sort of dies in mid-air.


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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Paperback 609: Beyond / Theodore Sturgeon (Avon T-439)

Paperback 609: Avon T-439 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Beyond
Author: Theodore Sturgeon
Cover artist: [Sussman?]

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • It's pretty cool, in an abstract kind of way, even if it does look like the ultrasound of a zebra pregnant with human child.
  • That dude is either dead or in utero. Or he's fallen on a mountain of red velvet cake and is gorging himself, presumably to death.
  • I am in love this title font. The 60s paradoxically brought us the degeneration of cover art and the awesome-ing of fonts.
  • In case you didn't know: Sturgeon rules.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Hierarchy of intelligent worms! I already work for that particular org. (just kidding, employers!)
  • I like how they've highlighted STURGEON. Otherwise, I like pretty much nothing about this back cover.

Page 123~ (from "Largo")
The only thing that detracted from that symphony of lines on the interior wall was a heavy concrete block that jutted out over a stone chair—high over it. On the other side of the chamber was another such chair, but the wall over it was like all the others. At the exact center of the building was a tiny red tile, set into the floor, and this was the only indication of a stage, a place from which to perform. It was certainly a strange creation; but then, it had been built for a strange purpose.
Must. Know. Purpose. Off to read ...


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Friday, February 15, 2013

Paperback 608: Sleep in Thunder / Ed Lacy (Tempo T48)

Paperback 608: Tempo Books T48 (PBO, 1964)

Title: Sleep in Thunder
Author: Ed Lacy
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:
  • Are Tempo books for children? Why does this shout "young adult" at me? The rainbow logo, maybe. I know, rainbow should shout "gay," but it doesn't. I don't know what's going on here. Some kind of visual tone problem.
  • "Psst, kid. You dropped your left arm back here."
  • Nothing about this cover says "Sleep" or "Thunder." It does, however, say "Grime." "Hide in Grime," I'd call it. 
  • Why would you make the figure in the foreground *by far* the least interesting thing about your cover?
  • I'll give this cover one thing: it captures the essence of Alley (now that's a fragrance I might wear: Essence of Alley).
  • I love how "EDGAR" is in quotes, like it's not quite a real thing. "So-called..."
  • Kid has "Fear Hand."™


Best things about this back cover:
  • "José"? "Juan"? Makes me realize how invisible Hispanics are on mid-century paperbacks. 600+ entries, and only one is tagged "Hispanic" (!?!?!). Oh, wait, two westerns are tagged "Mexicans." That's ... more than one. But none of them are what you'd call mainstream paperbacks from major publishers. Just an observation.
  • I'm not sure this Big Fuchsia Text Jutting Into Regular Black Text thing is working.
  • "One of death's many grotesque angles"—I really want a chart depicting these angles. I mean, *really* want a chart ...

Page 123~

José licked the leaves, which didn't help his thirst much. When he returned to the room downstairs he took the pot with him, for the plant seemed as lonely and forgotten as himself.

I'm ... a little worried for what José's gonna do to that poor plant.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Paperback 607: Ain't Gonna Rain No More / John Faulkner (Gold Medal 927)

Paperback 607: Gold Medal 927 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Ain't Gonna Rain No More
Author: John Faulkner
Cover artist: Mitchell Hooks

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • Whoa. Hey, uh, Dorothy? Your underwear called. It wants to know why you left it at home.
  • How many signifiers of hickdom can you cram onto one cover? (answer: infinite). It's all whittlin' and pail sittin' and stove-humpin' with these folks. 
  • "If this were a cartoon, my hat would've flown off my head *this* far!"


Best things about this back cover:
  • OK, that dress is way more, uh, titillating in higher-contrast B&W. The distinction between polka dot and nipple is at this point irrelevant.
  • "for furnish" ... what in the George Shaw is that?
  • With the door jamb, she looked like she was striking a sexy little pose. Without the door jamb—lice-picking.

Page 123~

"I need my bucket up here to flang at her again, ifen I could git her back on the porch. She's been right shy about coming out on the porch sinct that there bucket chased her offen the end."

I sincerely hope that when I am old, I will have one of theme there flangin' buckets to flang at people who get up on my porch without permission.


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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Paperback 606: Street of Brass / Fielden Farrington (Hillman Books 203)

Paperback 606: Hillman Books 203 (PBO, 1961)

Title: Street of Brass
Author: Fielden Farrington
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • False modesty hand!
  • "Oh doctor, can you take a look at this? I've been having problems with my axilla ..."
  • Sweet font.
  • "Fielden Farrington" is fake. For sure. Seems to have written at least two other novels, both of which were used as the basis for TV movies of the week in the early '70s. But I still say "pen name."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Simplicity of the diagram is kind of great.
  • This was written either by someone with poetic aspirations or by someone who learned English late in life. I am strangely mesmerized by the strangeness of the diction.
  • I want to sit at a bar and shout "this liquor does not ease me!" and then the bartender will say "what? It doesn't please you?" and then I'll stare her dead in the eye and say "our pointless intimacies are *over*!" and then I'll chuck the highball glass at the mirror behind the bar. Then  run.

Pag 123~

"Yes." He couldn't remember in any detail what he had already said. "She rang the bell, and she was drunk as a goat. She screamed at me when I told her she couldn't come in. I mean literally screamed, like a banshee. I had to let her in to shut her up.
Lila nodded.

Unsurprisingly, Lila is not quite buying it.


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Friday, February 8, 2013

Paperback 605: The Ambushers / Donald Hamilton (Gold Medal k1333)

Paperback 605: Gold Medal k1333 (PBO, 1963)

Title: The Ambushers
Author: Donald Hamilton
Cover artist: McD (?)

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • "Isn't my sniper boyfriend dreamy!?"
  • "So sorry, señor. The chupacabra, I think she got away."
  • What is this "pansy class" and how do I enroll? Sounds fun. Also, I would love to see Matt Helm call Mike Hammer a "pansy." 


Best things about this back cover:
  • Murder—in the card catalogue!
  • How does one "play God to a beautiful, beat-up girl"? "OK, you be Job, and I'll go hide behind that bush and ..."
  • I do like to order my thrillers by the half-dozen.

Page 123~

In my terrible predicament I'd hardly be giving attention to stray blondes. I kept my eyes on the men.

I assume his "terrible predicament" is "being undercover at a gay bar." Or he has some unspeakable injury that makes arousal painful. Either way, don't worry, Matt. It gets better.


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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Paperback 604: Alien Horizons / William F. Nolan (Pocket Books 77928)

Paperback 604: Pocket Books 77928 (PBO, 1974)

Title: Alien Horizons
Author: William F. Nolan
Cover artist: Vincent DiFate

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • "Yo ... little help?"
  • I'd like to humbly request a reverse-angle version of this painting, thank you.
  • "This book will ram your brain like a runaway shopping cart"—Ray Bradbury


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Where's the 'z' key on this thing? ... oh, well, I'll just use '2' ... looks fine."
  • Rod Serling liked to SCREAM his blurbs.
  • There are a suspicious number of ellipses in these blurbs ...

Page 123~

Fred Baxter stared at the cat, who stared back at him from the damp yard, its head raised, the yellow of the night moon now brimming in the creature's eyes. The cat's mouth opened.
"It's sucking up the moonlight," Fred whispered.

Fred's wife nodded slowly and turned toward the bed, despair filling her heart as she realized Fred would fail his veterinary board exam yet again.


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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Paperback 603: Angel Eyes / Robert Dietrich (Dell First Edition B203)

Paperback 603: Dell First Edition B203 (PBO, 1961)

Title: Angel Eyes
Author: Robert Dietrich (pseud. of Howard Hunt)
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $16


Best things about this cover:
  • I call wig.
  • It's like there's a giant vacuum just out of frame, sucking the left side of her head away—earring and hair eerily defying gravity.
  • She died the way she lived: fondling her bongos.
  • She died the way she lived: on a giant magic diaper ride.
  • She died the way she lived: one shoe on, one shoe off.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Chunky pictorial question mark for the win!
  • "I'm Bentley. Steve Bentley." — Steve Bentley, wowing them with his Bond imitation.
  • You might ask what / the rationale is for / the line divisions on this back / cover copy

Page 123~
"As for any feeling I have about that little Bolac whore, I could put it all in a thimble and still have room for my finger."
I don't know what "Bolac" means and I don't care—this line is unimprovable.


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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Paperback 602: The Body Lovers / Mickey Spillane (Signet P3221)

Paperback 602: Signet P3221 (1st ptg, 1967)

Title: The Body Lovers
Author: Mickey Spillane
Cover artist: photo cover (pictured: author Mickey Spillane himself)

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover: 
  • In which Mike Hammer hunts down the monsters who designed this poor girl's wardrobe.
  • The budget for this cover shoot appears to have been about six dollars. Give or take.
  • Somewhat unfortunate that, in this pose, it looks like Hammer was caught on the verge of violating a corpse. Talk about your "Body Lovers!"
  • This is flawless, unread copy.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Ooh, I actually like the tricolor effect.
  • Underground orgy cults are the best kind of orgy cults. All the other orgy cults are too mainstream.
  • Next time someone claims to be a V.I.P. ... now you know.
  • Is that Buffalo News blurb praise or horrified observation? "Moose bondage!? Dear lord!"

Page 123~
"Just so you can't say we're not covering every route I'll see what Interpol has on Ali Duval and have them pick up anybody in a fez who isn't a shriner."
Exotic headwear enthusiasts, beware.


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Friday, February 1, 2013

Paperback 601: Ace Double D-347 (1st ptg / PBO)

Title: Play For Keeps / The Corpse Without a Country
Authors: Harry Whittington / Louis Trimble
Cover artists: Uncredited / Uncredited

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:
  • Perspective!
  • Other shoe!?
  • Come on, Vogue!
  • Garters!?!?! Even in imminent-death, sexy as hell.
  • I am very, very, very distracted by the placement of his pinky finger / left side of his hand.
  • Is that Fear Hand or Buh-Bye Hand?
  • "GOOD"!!! LOL x a million.


Best things about this other cover:
  • Death Is A Sexy Southern Belle Raining Fuchsia Death From Above.
  • The Corpse Had Womanly Hips.
  • Actually, that looks like me coming out of savasana at the end of yoga class.

Page 123~

"I should have killed you. I knew. When you came in. You'd figured it. I knew. I saw it in your face."
"Too bad, Tony. It's all too bad."

Too Bad Tony would be a great nickname. Also, "It's all too bad, Tony" would be the closing aria if this were a musical / opera.


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