Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paperback 716: Dark Intruder / Vin Packer (Gold Medal 250)

Paperback 716: Gold Medal 250 (PBO, 1952)

Title: Dark Intruder
Author: Vin Packer
Cover artist: Amos Sewell

Yours for: [not for sale]


Best things about this cover:
  • Hide-and-seek fail.
  • He doesn't look that dark.
  • The only way that pose of hers makes any sense is if she's plunging her left arm down into the hay in hopes of recovering a lost earring.
  • OMG his right hand WTF? For Halloween, I'm gonna dress as this guy's middle finger. Frightening.
  • Vin Packer is a pseudonym for Marijane Meaker, a fine writer of PBO thrillers. Also, a woman. Also, the lesbian paperback writer Ann Aldrich. Also, the children's lit writer M.E. Kerr. And other things.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Father and daughter rode roughshod..." is not my favorite phrase.
  • "Then Luke Came" would be a great gay porn paperback title.
  • It's interesting to me how much the front and back covers play up "Spring Fire"—I think I underappreciated what a sensation that book was. See it here (Paperback 466).
Page 123~

She could not help thinking of what Raol had said about his mother, feeling a slow, teasing jealousy mount inside her.

First, yes, Raol, not Raul or Raoul. Second, the end of this passage makes me giggle.


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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paperback 715: TCOT Perjured Parrot / Erle Stanley Gardner (Cardinal C-379)

Paperback 715: Cardinal C-379 (1st ptg, 1959)

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

Yours for: $8


Best things about this back cover:
  • Woman distraught over loss of parrot attempts suicide by costume jewelry, gets tired, quits.
  • "Maybe if I just lean here sultrily, my parrot will just fly back in the window."
  • I unironically love her dress.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Wait, I can't see Perry, WHERE'S PERRY!? Oh, there he is. Phew. Thanks, Giant Red Arrow.
  • Not often you see the phrase "collection of guns at the public library." At least not where I'm from.
  • Remember when people watched scripted television on Saturdays!? Good times.

Page 123~

"You're putting me in a very difficult position, Mason," Bolding said irritably.
Mason's voice showed surprise. "I am? Why, I thought you'd put yourself in it."

Perry Mason, Smug Dickhead-at-Law


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P.S. This is one of 97 paperbacks I bought yesterday at the University Book Sale. "Bingeing" doesn't really get at it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Paperback 714: The Violent Hours / Frank Castle (Gold Medal 554)

Paperback 714: Gold Medal 554 (PBO, 1956)

Title: The Violent Hours
Author: Frank Castle
Cover artist: Lu Kimmel

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • "Hi, Murder? Hi! I was wondering, if you weren't too busy, maybe you'd like to come over for some love? .... You would!? Great! I'll put on something red and light a candle. See you soon!"
  • There is a whole subgenre of cover art that involves Girls Spilling Over The Edges Of Beds. Here's one. I know I've seen Many, many more.
  • This position offers Optimal Breast Viewing but does pretty terrible things to every other part of the body. Her hair looks like a wasp's nest.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Ooh, it's half past murder. Time to look in my pants again!"
  • "Sheeted."
  • "Webb Grayburn" is not a name that inspires confidence. Sounds like a guy who owns an above-ground pool dealership.
  • OK, it's mostly text, but I still love the asymmetrical, crayon-like design with the whimsical, face-free clock hands. 
  • The book comes pre-distressed, so the actual wear and tear around the edges of the book fits right in with the book's original aesthetic.

Page 123~

It became so quiet in the room that the distant clatter of a teletype became loud.

It's not the most elegant sentence, by a longshot, but I do like the aural experience it provides.


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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Paperback 713: Flight / Edgar Jean Bracco (Berkley G291)

Paperback 713: Berkley Medallion G291 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Flight
Author: Edgar Jean Bracco
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:

  • Lasers!
  • Simple, clean lines. Shitty-looking sky, but still, oddly elegant in its simplicity.
  • Love the "Flight" font and its positioning on the horizon.
  • Surely the copywriter could've gotten another "A" word into that tagline.


Best things about this back cover:

  • "Authentic!" See, that's an "A"-word.
  • ETO is a common crossword answer. PTO, not so much (i.e. never).
  • "Annals" always makes me do a double-take. Also, another solid "A"-word.

Page 123~

"You gone nuts? How we going to—"


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Friday, October 18, 2013

Paperback 712: The Fair and the Bold / Donn O'Hara (Graphic Giant G-222)

Paperback 712: Graphic Giant G-222 (PBO, 1957)

Title: The Fair and the Bold
Author: Donn O'Hara
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • I  buy her as The Fair, but aside from his choice to wear burning ships as footwear, I don't really see him as The Bold. 
  • "The Fair and the Dude We Saw at RenFest '12 Last Summer"
  • I am 99% certain that dancing lady is a near-perfect reproduction of some Rita Hayworth picture I've seen ... somewhere.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Here, the sword takes on its full phallic implications.
  • "... his blazing cannon, his murderous sword—and his penis, for which the first two things were pretty obvious metaphors."
  • I love how happy she is. It's very sweet, if not terribly sexy.
  • I also like guard dude who is going to get to hear it all. 
  • You know what's fun to say? "La Cacafuego!"

Page 123~

The movement dislodged the blanket, which slithered off Bakkerzeel's knees to the floor. Fletcher saw that the man had no feet—only blobs of bandage at the ends of his ankles.

Well that took an unexpected and horrific turn. Poor Baker's Eel.


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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Paperback 711: The Velvet Doublet / James Street (Perma Books M-4005)

Paperback 711: Perma Books M-4005 (1st ptg, 1954)

Title: The Velvet Doublet
Author: James Street
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:

  • "Hey! Can you grab that velvet doublet!? ... There! ... No, there! It's right ... [sigh] Damn, I'm gonna have to jump in..."
  • Just what you've been waiting for: an accidental belated Columbus Day tribute!
  • I do love a cover with animated hands—they really do add emotional dimension to a painting.


Best things about this back cover:

  • My second-favorite word on this cover is "Lepe" and my first-favorite is "wenched"!
  • I'll take "MARAELA" for all her potential power as a crossword answer.
  • Screw the doublet, kid. You want the doubloon. DOUBLOON! Ask Columbus. He'll know.

Page 123~

Acros beamed the lordliness of his trade as he showed me the tiller and let me feel it and pointed up to a small opening in the quarter-deck and through this I saw a speck of sky and a bit of sail, and nothing more.

The first half of this sentence *really* reads like sea-porn.


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Monday, October 14, 2013

Paperback 710: The Deluge / Leonardo da Vinci (Lion Books 233)

Paperback 710: Lion Books 233 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Deluge
Author: Leonardo da Vinci
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • If Leonardo had lived the 1950s and written B-movies: this.
  • She's a maniac, MAAANiac ... 
  • Steve tried valiantly to rescue all the damsels on Mount Severe Shaving Injury.
  • This is exactly how I imagined the 16th century.
  • "I get it, Lydia—your boobs are magnificent. Can't we please get off this rock now!?"
  • Please check out his left hand. Now good luck purging it from your nightmares.


Best things about this back cover:
  • I give this a C- for vagueness.

Page 123~ [This is from L's notebook, and it's quoted in a lengthy editor's note.]

And the surface of the earth having become at last a burnt cinder, all earthly nature shall cease.


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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Paperback 709: The Galactic Invaders / James R. Berry (Laser Books 31)

Paperback 709: Laser Books 31 (PBO, 1976)

Title: The Galactic Invaders
Author: James R. Berry
Cover artist: Kelly Freas

Not For Sale — that would be like selling my (pretend) face


Best things about this cover:
  • The Original Floating Head (also, my long-standing blogging avatar)
  • Love the Orange. Love the Font. Love the man who makes spaceships explode with his Mind.
  • The two holes on the helmet are for the retractable horns. Or ventilation. One of those.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Can we do the painting again from my good side? Thanks."
  • Finally we can see what the title on the front cover had obscured—the giant laser-equipped hairball that's orbiting Planet Orange.
  • "Bryan Cranston is ... Keith Cranston in ... The Galactic Invaders!"

Page 123~
Cranston blinked at the apparent double talk. Ohm was being oblique to the point of obscurity. So far neither of them had mentioned the room with ... those people. If Ohm didn't, Cranston sure as hell wasn't going to either. 
Leave it to Ohm to be resistant. [PHYSICS PUN!]


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Friday, October 11, 2013

Paperback 708: Nightmare in Pink / John D. MacDonald (Gold Medal d1682)

Paperback 708: Gold Medal d1682 (3rd ptg, 1966)

Title: Nightmare in Pink
Author: John D. MacDonald
Cover artist: [Ron Lesser]

Yours for: $7 (yeah, I paid only $3, but ... inflation/postage — his books are being rereleased in $14 trade paperbacks ... why, WHY would you buy those when you can get beat-up '60s-era stuff, which is much cooler *and* much cheaper?)


Best things about this cover:
  • Really hate the turn cover art took in the '60s—toward text/branding, away from full-page cover art—and I associate MacDonald's books most closely with that trend, to the extent that I almost blame MacDonald personally. Over the years, the girls get smaller, while the whole MacDonald/McGee Brand swells up and dominates. Probably smart marketing. But sucky from a purely aesthetic perspective. 
  • I do like the way Pink suffuses every corner of this thing.
  • Her hair is, frankly, terrible. 


Best things about this back cover:
  • It's bad enough you've shrunk her and made her all modest on the front—this bland-and-white corner punishment is just degrading. Even John D's like "C'mon guys. Too far."
  • OK, I haven't read a sexier phrase than "sweetly wanton career girl, living alone in a Manhattan walk-up" in a Long time.
  • Not sure what is meant in this context by "Cafe Society," but I would like to join.
  • "And introducing ... LSD!"

Page 123~

Terry Drummond rapped at my door and I let her in. She wore fifteen thousand dollars worth of glossy fur coat. Her brown simian face wrinkled with distaste as she looked around. "God, what a scrimey hole!" The coat swung open.

This is the kind of passage that makes me wonder why I have not read more MacDonald than I have. Love it.


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Paperback 707: Portrait of a Sadist / Paull Hill (Avon T-514)

Paperback 707: Avon T-514 (1st US ed., 1960)

Title: Portrait of a Sadist
Author: Paull Hill
Cover artist: Uncredited

Gift to the collection from reader "Stacy" (Thanks!)


Best things about this cover:
  • This cover won the "Least Sexy Bondage Painting" contest of 1959.
  • Seriously, stare at that foot for a few moments. It just gets creepier.
  • You have to admire a sadist whose bondage technique involves colorful ascots.
  • Curlicues on the "R"s make the "T" look like it has a fancy mustache.


Best things about this back cover:
  • I like the jagged black-and-white electricity that engirds this cover copy. High voltage!
  • I like books that express the dark confusion between horror and titillation. "This man sex was sex a hot dirty sex monster sex whose sex story should serve as a sex cautionary sex tale and definitely not masturbation material sex."
  • You say "perverted psychopathic lusts," I say "sexual irregularities," let's call the whole thing off.

Page 123~

His whip was at that moment reposing in his suitcase at Bournemouth West railway station, but once again he had his supply of handkerchiefs.

OMG I love that sentence so much. Not sure which is my favorite part: "whip," "reposing" (so genteel), "handkerchiefs" (!!!), or "once again" (!!!!?).


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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Paperbacks 705 and 706: Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand / La Rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque / by Anatole France (Livres de Poche 873 and 481)

Don't really have anything to say about these, but they're technically in my collection, and the illustrations are quite beautiful in their way (esp. the "Cyrano" cover), so, here you go—

Paperback 705: Livre de Poche 873 (n.d.) (ca. mid-60s)

Title: Cyrano de Bergerac
Author: Edmond Rostand
Cover artist: Uncredited (signature not legible to me)

Yours for: $12




Paperback 706: Livre de Poche 481 (n.d.) (ca. mid-60s)

Title: La Rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque
Author: Anatole France
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $10




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Friday, October 4, 2013

Paperback 704: Harlem Underground / Ed Lacy (Pyramid R-1220)

Paperback 704: Pyramid R-1220 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Harlem Underground
Author: Ed Lacy
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: $13


Best things about this cover:
  • Sleeper hold!
  • Interesting variation on the noir street scene. You got your bar and your rain-slicked streets (or so I imagine), but apparently in Harlem there are brown/purple overtones, sliced through with neon red. Interesting effect.
  • Not one but *two* floating heads. Highly unusual.
  • I like how the big floating head appears to be looking down on some earlier version of himself, going "Damn, did I do that? That's cold."
  • You can see Schaare's signature right under the big head's right eye. Unless that says "Espresso." It's pretty smudgy.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Wait, *I*'m a rookie cop? But I already have ... OK, fuck it, sure, I'm in.
  • As street names go, "Purple Eye" seems kind of limp.
  • There's something quaint about how much terror the word "H-Bomb" apparently packed in 1965. Also, do H-Bombs have fuses? Serious question.

Page 123~

Breathing deeply I not only wanted to get out of Harlem, I wanted to take a rocket away from our mixed-up planet. 

Again with the cold war / space race fantasies. This book is adorable.


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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Paperback 703: Honey in the Flesh / G. G. Fickling (Pyramid G411)

Paperback 703: Pyramid G411 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Honey in the Flesh
Author: G. G. Fickling
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: Must keep, if only for back cover


Best things about this cover:
  • I'm finding her cleavage both sexy and distracting. It's great if you don't think too much, but there's something proportionally and positionally off about her (mostly not visible) left breast. Like it's high and up and in. I actually love her dress and wish I could see more of it. And of course the gun is the perfect accessory.
  • Hurray for female private eyes, of whom there were (pre-1980s) far, far too few.
  • "The bodies beautiful" must be referencing some concept that had currency once that I don't know about. I feel like I've heard of "the body beautiful set" before, but that may be from some other, cheesier paperback that I own. That's a very romance-language construction (noun adjective). English doesn't normally ... do that.

[Click to see full size]

Best things about this back cover:
  • Straight-up Hall-of-Fame back cover concept. You know how dull these things can be. But this? Visually arresting and also kind of hilarious (I mean the "Age" and "Physical Description" parts, not the dead parents part). 
  • Not the best insurance application "photo" I've ever seen. Or maybe it is, as I don't think I've ever seen one.
  • God bless a book with a clear cover artist credit. 
  • Honey West and Mark Storm, your News 5 Weather Team.

Page 123~
"I've read about guys like you."
"They get their kicks by squeezing two things at the same time."
"I don't follow you, Honey."
"The second squeeze is on the trigger."
"What trigger?"
"The one you've got buried in my ribs."
Eventually, Godot shows up.


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