Friday, May 31, 2013

Paperback 647: Bats Fly at Dusk / A. A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner) (Dell 0476)

Paperback 647: Dell 0476 (1st New Dell ed., 1963)

Title: Bats Fly at Dusk
Author: A.A. Fair (aka Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: Ron Lesser

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • Just woke up, or the latest style? Who can say?
  • Bats Fly at Dusk ... Ladies Strip at Dawn.
  • This cover has neither enough skin nor enough context to be interesting. 
  • I know this will sound heretical, but I think the dress would be sexier *on* her.
  • This book is close to immaculate. I just found a box full of (primarily) Gardner/Fair stuff. A reader graciously shipped it to me a while back, and I looked at its treasure, then set it aside, and forgot about it. So it's vintage paperback Christmas all over again.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Is she standing in front of the silhouette of  ... a badge? A vase? A strawberry?
  • I like how he's not sure about the age, but he's got the pounds down to a very precise number.
  • Every time I pick up a Cool/Lam book, I say to myself, "Man, I really gotta read some of these again." And then other books intervene.

Page 123~

"I told Miss Jackson that if she wanted to stay on in the place alone the raise in rent wouldn't be effective. Miss Jackson really seems like a nice sort, exactly the type I like for tenants."

I'm a little worried for Miss Jackson.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Paperback 646: People vs. Withers & Malone / Stuart Palmer & Craig Rice (Award Books A146F)

Paperback 646: Award Books A146F (1st ptg, 1965)

TitlePeople vs. Withers & Malone
Author: Craig Rice & Stuart Palmer
Cover artist: Uncredited / Clip art?

Yours for: $5


Best things about this cover:
  • Craig Rice and Stuart Palmer document their early experiments with sexual role-playing games. "Wait, I forget, am I 'Withers' or 'Malone' in this scenario?" Speaking of role-playing, "Craig Rice" is male-sounding pseudonym for female author Georgiana Ann Craig. I own a nice copy of a book she ghost-wrote for actor George Sanders. (Here's a nice write-up about Rice at "Pulp Serenade")
  • Or maybe the parrot is 'Withers' and the cougar is 'Malone', in which case I am hoping for a break-out and then serious carnage. Malone can do the killing, while Withers provides narration. "[Squawk!], he's got your eyeball! Got your eyeball! [Squawk!]"
  • I hope the artist got paid the $0.75 he was owed for this "painting."
  • I keep looking at this book and seeing "An Insane Rectum Mystery."


Best things about this back cover:
  • God, paperback book design just went to $^#%ing hell in the mid-'60s. Not in all instances, but in many. See virtually every Travis McGee novel. So much potential, so much ugh.
  • I love that Artzybasheff is someone's name. Some *artist's* name.
  • I love that "Ellery Queen" (itself a pseudonym) refers to the mid-'60s as "these unfunny days." I can only guess what he means, but I love an author who believes his own time has gone to hell. Also, from a crime novel / crime movie perspective, the mid-60s were (with some very notable exceptions [cough] Parker [cough]) pretty dire.

Page 123~

"Blue sea!" cried Malone. "I told her her eyes were as blue as the sea! That was Luke Swenson's sister, Little Helga, a queen-size Viking goddess! I am in love with her, practically!"

"Practically!" So few people exclaim their hedge words! Nice.


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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Paperback 645: Tarzan of the Apes / Edgar Rice Burroughs (Ballantine Books U2001)

Paperback 645: Ballantine U2001 (3rd ptg / 1st thus, 1966)

Title: Tarzan of the Apes
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • Ron Ely ponders the bright vista of his career. 
  • Ron Ely feels very good about Ron Ely's tree-climbing abilities. Ron Ely starting to believe this Tarzan thing may work out after all. Ron Ely is going to rub it in mom's face first chance he gets.
  • Seriously, something is not right up in Ron Ely's brain.
  • If this is Ron Ely's most Tarzanesque pose ... I mean, to whom are they selling this book? You could retitle this "Summer in the Woods" or "My First Time" or "Beefcake Palace" and you wouldn't have to change the picture one bit.
  • Ron Ely is quite satisfied with Ron Ely's body. Ron Ely's workouts really paid off.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Uncut"—Yes, that could also be the title of a book with this cover.
  • "Color television show"!? Wow. I think they prefer to be called "television shows of color." The '60s were so racist.

Page 123~

"Look at dem low down white trash out dere!" she shrilled, pointing toward the Arrow. "They-all's a desecratin' us, right yere on dis yere perverted islan'."

I think "Tarzan" actually came on right before "Dis Yere Perverted Islan'" ("... with Gilligan ... the Skipper too ...")


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Friday, May 24, 2013

Paperback 644: The Talking Clock / Frank Gruber (Penguin 545)

Paperback 644: Penguin 545 (1st ptg, 1944)

Title: The Talking Clock
Author: Frank Gruber
Cover artist: H. Lawrence Hoffman

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • Very early Penguin. More woodcut than painting. Not terribly exciting, but interesting as a historical curiosity. 
  • That's a 'stache variety you rarely see anymore. I'm gonna call it the "Germanic shopkeep."
  • This book is really well made. Spine lean and reading crease, but tight as hell, with perfectly even (and white pages). I think production quality might've dipped in future years.
  • According to interior inscription, this book was once owned by Laura Burns of 14642 Bringard Drive, Somewhere, U.S.A.


Best things about this back cover:

  • "Blurb, schmurb—buy some more of our damned books!"

Page 123~
"Hello, Madigan," he said. "I see the punk's talked to you."
Punk?" exclaimed Johnny. "Why the Lieutenant and I are practically pals. I help him solve his case. The tough ones."
Lieutenant Madigan grunted. "You know what happened in Hillcrest? And you, Mrs. Quisenberry?"
Bonita Quisenberry's face was like old ivory, yellow and hard.
I don't know what's happening here, but I do know this book has a woman named Bonita Quisenberry in it, which is more than enough for me. If I ever met a woman named Bonita Quisenberry, I would immediately ask her to run away with me. Or bake me a pie.


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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paperback 643: The General Zapped an Angel / Howard Fast (Ace 27910)

Paperback 643: Ace 27910 (1st ptg, 1970)

Title: The General Zapped an Angel
Author: Howard Fast
Cover artist: Karel Thole

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • "They call this 'Blood Lake'. I forget why."
  • That looks way worse than "zapped."
  •  I have no idea why I bought this, except perhaps the kooky title, the fact that I recognized Fast's name from earlier work, and some vague idea that later in life I would turn my attention to cover art of the '70s...


Best things about this back cover:
  • Text. Text text text. Text. Louis Untermeyer. Text.
  • Mother Earth!? So *that's* what She looks like. Again, I'm gonna say the situation on the cover looks *way* worse than mere "wounding."
  • I buy that he was "bestselling," but "world-famous?" Maybe this back cover blurb is its own science-fictional alternate universe-type story...

Page 123~

"No, no indeed. You know, I thought I would do one of those Jewish comic-tragic things about a Miami Beach hotel. You know the kind of thing, mostly schmaltz and bad jokes and maybe two percent validity so your audience will shed a tear or two if they're in the right mood."

"Oh, one of *those* things," he nodded politely while smiling and backing away.


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Paperback 642: Experiment Perilous / Margaret Carpenter (Pocket Books 278)

Paperback 642: Pocket Books 278 (1st ptg, 1944)

Title: Experiment Perilous
Author: Margaret Carpenter
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • "No. No, I don't approve of these young people at all. Decidedly not."
  • Seriously, this is one of the greatest photobombs of all time.
  • Experiment Perilous. Old Man Angry. Noun Adjective! Grrrr.


Best things about this back cover:
  • 4 cents!? It used to be 3!? I blame Obama.
  • Be sure to send the book to a boy, because of course girls can't read so what're they gonna do with it, origami?
  • Publishers still working out the kinks in their blurb presentation strategy. "How 'bout one big undifferentiated mass of quotes?" "Sounds good. Run with it!"

Page 123~
She cried as if her heart would break this afternoon, and confessed to me the most extraordinary thing: she is being followed by a man she has never seen before. This has been going on for three months, she said. Nick pooh-poohs the whole thing, and says every pretty girl learns how to manage that sort of thing in her teens. 
"I've stalked pretty girls my whole life," Nick added, "so believe me, I know."


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Paperback 641: The Blue Kimono Kill / Walt Sheldon (Gold Medal k1546)

Paperback 641: Gold Medal k1546 (PBO, 1965)

Title: The Blue Kimono Kill
Author: Walt Sheldon
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $15


Best thing about this cover:
  • "Honey, we need to talk. Don't be made but ... it's about your lipstick."
  • Mmm, chick-flavored.
  • And the winner of this cover is: The Lantern.


Best things about this back cover:
  • God save me from a text-only back cover, ugh.
  • "But Marlin's academic career didn't last long. For, you see, Marlin was a fish."
  • Adjective of the Day: "Zen-spouting."

Page 123~

"You strike me as a man who could be brave, Marlin, in, let us say, the face of crude torture."

"Let us not say, and then say that we did," countered Marlin.


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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Paperback 640: Under Cover of Night / Manning Lee Stokes (MacFadden Books 60-431)

Paperback 640: MacFadden Books 60-431 (1st ptg, 1969)

Title: Under Cover of Night
Author: Manning Lee Stokes
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • You must be this tall to ride Manning Lee Stokes.
  • Cigarette holders—I don't really get them, but as visual affectations go, I like them a lot.
  • I actually really love the arc of the title font.
  • There is a reason the show was not called "Mission: Difficult."


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Armed with a gut-searing greed"? Uh ... Clean-up on aisle Metaphor!
  • The Iron Buddha would be a cool wrestling name.
  • The Bloody Cache would not.

Page 123~

Yi Sun-Sin, of course, had Oo working in Seoul, and soon he had known about the American who was coming to find a million buried dollars. And they started making plans. The fact that Oo had been a former houseboy of mine made his chances good.

I'm trying to decide what my favorite part of this passage is: "Oo," "houseboy," or "of course."


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Friday, May 10, 2013

Paperback 639: Kothar and the Wizard Slayer / Gardner F. Fox (Unibook nn)

Paperback 639: Unibook nn (1st ptg, 1970)

Title: Kothar and the Wizard Slayer
Author: Gardner F. Fox
Cover artist: Jeff Jones

Yours for: $5


Best things about this cover:
  • Behold the mystical wonder of the medieval PowerPoint presentation.
  • Redhead: "Now if you'll direct your attention right ... here." Gremlin: "Eh! Oh! Eh! What the hell?!"
  • Protip: Do not interrupt a gremlin during his morning shower, for that is when he lip syncs and dances to Katy Perry.
  • Maybe having your two main characters turn their backs on the camera isn't the greatest idea, visual interest-wise.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Choose from our vast selection of Kothars!
  • And, in the most shocking Rose Ceremony ever ... it's Frostfire! Sorry, Lori.
  • In my best Norman Bates voice: "A boy's best friend is his sword." 

Page 123~

Red Lori was there, coming from the building door, with Phordog Fale and Nemidomes at her elbow. In the background shadows he could make out Cybala, hiding. 

I see this author comes from the Get High And Utter Random Syllables school of character-naming. In other news, the official progression of fail is now Fail, Epic Fail, Phordog Fale.


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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Paperback 638: Body of the Crime / Larry Heller (Pyramid F-751)

Paperback 638: Pyramid Books F-751 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: Body of the Crime
Author: Larry Heller
Cover artist:  Ben Wohlberg

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • This is one of those titles that has the familiar ring of Crime Novel, but actually makes no sense. 
  • This is not a bad scan. The book actually looks this odd and smeary. Really bad "black." 
  • Is he taking a pulse or casting a spell? 
  • I like the cop in the background, running right toward us. And the headlights. An the faint red of the police siren.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Ew, now I know my least favorite hyphenated word.
  • This book couldn't sound more generic if it tried.
  • I love a good cover artist credit. Clearly visible complete name. God bless Pyramid.

Page 123~

"I'd chew the ass off the man who as much as opened his mouth to a newspaper reporter," said Ewing flatly.

My favorite part of that sentence is "flatly."


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Friday, May 3, 2013

Paperback 637: The Way the Cookie Crumbles / James Hadley Chase (Pocket Books 77922)

Paperback 637: Pocket Books 77922 (1st ptg, 1974)

Title: The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Author: James Hadley Chase
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • Is the drug in the needle gonna make the mimes go away? If so, shoot me. Now.
  • I'm sorry. I said "mimes." What I meant was "mimes hovering over my death bed."
  • I don't know what corner-mime is miming, and I really don't want to know.
  • Design team leader: "Well, the title refers to cookies, so I'm thinking... chicks, drugs and mimes. What do you think?"


Best things about this back cover:
  • JAIL BAIT. Sure, sounds good. There's been no image continuity or discernible theme so far, so why start now?
  • If her morals are ripe, shouldn't they be at their peak? Is she chaste? Is that what you're saying? I don't think that's what you're saying.
  • Aaaaaand ... a murderous dwarf. Of course. Perfect. OK, I think we're done here. Unless there's a kitchen sink someone wants to shoehorn into this plot somehow.

Page 123~

"Oh, never mind. Why didn't you get yourself some clothes, Jess? I sent you enough money."
"What the hell do I want clothes for?"
"Paradise City isn't New York. You can get picked up by the cops for looking the way you do."
"Frig the cops!"

If you ever wondered where N.W.A. got their inspiration for "Fuck Da Police"—well, now you know.


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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Paperback 636: You Can't See Around Corners / Jon Cleary (Popular Library 497)

Paperback 636: Popular Library 497 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: You Can't See Around Corners
Author: Jon Cleary
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $16


Best things about this cover:
  • Furious that Steve doubted her ability to see around corners, Beverly grabbed Steve's tie and then plunged her left hand into the back of his skull.
  • I'm assuming that's Frankie McCoy back there on the park bench, 'cause I have a hard time seeing this awkward earnest pinhead as a "hoodlum." Looks more like a teaching assistant.
  • I am a big fan of her dress, and of the idea that she is about to throw him to the ground, Judo-style.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Double Fear Hand!
  • Why did he give his money to horses? They're notoriously bad investors and lack opposable thumbs with which to hold money.
  • It's like that dude's having a hard time deciding who to shiv: the giant leprechaun or the blue-haired 8th-grader.

Page 123~
She faced him and he got a good look at her. He was glad he had come over: she had not spoken, had not accepted him, yet he was already seeing beyond the dance hall, seeing what might come later, tasting her potentialities. She was blonde but Nature had been aided; her eyes were frank and with long lashes, the best feature in her round, slightly plump face; she was tall and big and high-breasted, her body alive and strong, earthily sexual in the tight green dress. The night should be interesting.

First, "frank"!

Second, if you ever want to kill a mood, or add a creepy vibe to any situation, just use the phrase "tasting her potentialities."


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