Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Paperback 999: All Shot Up / Chester Himes (Ace T-434)

Paperback 999: Avon T-434 (PBO, 1960)

Title: All Shot Up
Author: Chester Himes
Cover artist: Uncredited (!!) (update: appears to be work of George Ziel)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $65-80

Best things about this cover:
  • Gah, so great. So so great. Multiple scenes of hot hardboiled greatness. Tough-guy mug, sexy naked lady, trenchcoat gunfight ... bar! All the good things.
  • Chester Himes is fantastic. Coffin Ed and Grave Digger are unique and important figures in the history of detective fiction. Badass *and* hilarious. Their dialogue is amazing, as are their razor-sharp observations on race relations in the city. Highly recommended.
  • Either that dude is holding the wrong end of the cigarette or he's holding a very tiny test tube.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Big on alliteration, this copywriter. First babes bourbon and bullets, now hailing in Harlem...
  • "Eight—Count 'em, eight—corpses." Eight, OK, I believe you, eight. Jeez. Don't get so defensive.
  • "Skidding on ice and breathing fire"—which Game of Thrones book was that?

Page 123~

"I'd rather be bit in the rear by a boa constrictor than sitting here waiting for something to happen, and I can't even guess what," he complained bitterly.

It's a boa constrictor ... I mean it can bite, sure, but ... it's kind of known for ... the other ... oh nevermind.


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Paperback 998: Mig Alley / Robert Eunson (Ace D-365)

Paperback 998: Ace D-365 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Mig Alley
Author: Robert Eunson
Cover artist: Verne Tossey

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $8-10

Best things about this cover:
  • That is the face of a man of literally insane confidence: "I will die and be reborn and rule the heavens. Yes, this is a good death."
  • There are a lot of planes in this shot, all of them like three yards from each other. Is this normal / physically possible?
  • The way you know this cover was designed exclusively for straight dudes is that she looks fantastic whereas he looks like what would happen if the contents of a vacuum bag suddenly came to life and took the form of a remarkably graceless vampire.

Best things about this back cover:
  • MIGs crossing the YALU! This scratches all of my crossword itches!
  • I find the motion lines on MIG ALLEY adorable.
  • On the Sexy-Name-O-Meter, I gotta believe Homer McCullough registers pretty low.

Page 123~
"Let's get ourselves attached to a couple of these Chinese doll-babies and see what happens."
The waitress was back with our drinks so I said, "Bring two hostesses, please."
"Whach [sic!] kind you like? Tall, skinny, fatso?" She laughed.
"A short one," Mac said, "just like you."
Yes. Yes, I do believe the guy on the front cover would do / say all of this. Yes. On-brand.

[The Orientalism goes to 11 over the course of the next few pages, to the point of incoherence: "Her hips, however, bulged to the seams of the dress, giving the sultry hint of the East." Why Does That Last Phrase Even Exist?! I mean, you were doing so well, right up to "dress," and then, like those MIGs on the front cover ... !?!?]


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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Paperback 997: The Mask on a Wanton's Torso / John Reade (Venus VV104)

Paperback 997: Venus Books VV104 (PBO, 1964)

Title: The Mask on a Wanton's Torso*
Author: John Reade
Cover artist: a photographer in the anteroom of hell

Condition: 9/10
Estimated value: $20-ish

[newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • Looking at this cover is about as close to watching a snuff film as I'll ever come. It's horrifying. I feel like the cameraman murdered her like five seconds after this shot was taken. Or else she was paid in heroin and sent back out into the snow dressed just like that. Most of my sleaze paperbacks are campy fun to look at. This one, no, not.
  • If you burn that couch, hundreds of damned souls are unleashed into the world, to torture and haunt the living.
  • "Here, put this on"—the world's most negligent art director
  • Ah, the world of erotic nonsense phrases—so delicious. Lust game! Sin secret! Wanton's torso!?!?
  • *You see how I put an asterisk by the title (up top)? That's because ... well, how to describe it? This book is unique, in my experience, in having a title on the cover that Does Not Match The Title On The Spine (which reads "The Mask *OF* the Wanton's Torso"(!?)). But it's uniqueness doesn't stop there. Forget two titles—this book .... Has Two Authors: WHO IS PHIL BOTNER?!

And the back cover:

Best things about this back cover:
  • Stud Hunter! I think I own one of those.
  • Shame event! Passion fling!  FLESH GAIETY!!! Beat that ... every other back cover sleaze copywriter.
  • That's not how en dashes work.
  • Yikes, even the line spacing on this is disgusting.

Page 123~ (brace yourself)

There was a door there. She could not remember how she had come upstairs. Frantically she opened it. There was only a tiny passageway, leading to another door. Frantically she thought it might be a back way down, down and out of this house.

Torn between laughing at Double Frantically and crying at the attempted poetry of that second "down,."


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