Saturday, October 6, 2018

Paperback 1037: Send Another Hearse / Harold Q. Masur (Dell 7737)

Paperback 1037: Dell 7737 (1st ptg, 1965)

Title: Send Another Hearse
Author: Harold Q. Masur
Cover artist: Greene (so he's just Greene, now? like Prince?) (see artist credit on back)

Condition: 10/10
Estimated value: $12
Best things about this cover:
  • "I have other creative talents," whispered the brunette. Throatily, she added, "I hang wallpaper."
  • I love Scott Jordan's expression. "Just gonna light this cigarette and settle in to watch this wallpaper-hanger lady take her clothes off and ... [ding dong] ... what the!? Goddammit, why did I even bother getting a No Solicitors sign if no one's gonna ****ing RESPECT it!?"
  • I also love how jaded the title is. "Yep ... yeah ... I don't know, someone else died, I guess ... no we can't put 'em in the same hearse, you moron. SEND ANOTHER HEARSE!"
Perma6180 1
Best things about this back cover:
  • That is not a martini glass. That is the Holy Grail.
  • "Scott"? Come on. P.I.s go by last names. You switch to "Jordan" eventually, so your dumb first-name gambit actually makes everything weirdly unclear. Nevermind that both "Scott" and "Jordan" can be both first and last names. It's a mess. Just stick with last names, and you're good, man.
  • What kind of chump just *opens* the hotel room door? No "Who is it?" or anything?
Page 123~
And, quite irrelevantly, I thought how various parts of the human anatomy behave differently under stress.
I think he's saying his penis is irrelevant, but who can be sure?


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, September 14, 2018

Paperback 1036: Circle of Sin / Leslie Behan (Domino 84-700)

Paperback 1036: Domino Books 84-700 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Circle of Sin
Author: Leslie Behan
Cover artist: Photo cover

Condition: 7/10 (tight and square, but w/ water stains on edges)
Estimated value: $25-30

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • No single word is going to derail your Sexy Train faster or more efficiently than "groping."
  • Jeez, male gaze much?
  • "Now why don't you sit up here on my desk?" "Wh-?" "Shhh. It's standard practice." "Uh, OK, I guess. But who's that?" "Him? Oh, that's just Steve. Ignore him." "Uh..." "Good, now whatever you do, do Not look at the lamp." "Bu-" "AVERT YOUR EYES!"
  • The psychologist's suit is legit hot.
Best things about this back cover:
  • Groups gone WILD {CRACK!}
  • "Revolved achingly" = me trying to dine at one of them revolving restaurants, no sir, I'll take my food
  • stationary, as god intended, thank you very much
  • I love how this goes from dumb-ass sex fiction to super dumb-ass Agatha Christie mystery on a dime! Wait, we got a body!? I'm in.
Page 123~
"You met a girl?" Durango looked at him closely. Somehow he found himself believing the answer. "Where? What girl?"
"I picked her up on Broadway. She was standing in a doorway. A hooker. I went up to her place with her."
This novel has to be sexier than this dude Forrest Gumping his way through Sex Town. Hang on ... OK here we go:
Her hands moved downward, over the tiny waist to the flat belly. She massaged the belly for a long time, moving farther downward slowly to the trembling mound beneath it. And then her fingers were nearing their target, the tips becoming slippery with the dew of passion they found there. They caught the tiny polyp of flesh awaiting them and stroking it.
I can't stop laughing at that last "sentence." As with the cover copy, this writer really, really knows how to ruin whatever meager sex vibe he's able to get going. I mean, "polyp"? That's something you discover during a colonoscopy, why would you use it to describe the clitoris, dear lord? Am I really supposed to believe a woman wrote this? "Leslie" ... OK, Leslie, aside from possibly a fake name, could also be a dude's name. All I know is a guy wrote this. A guy whose grasp of grammar, like his grasp of sexiness, is not very, uh firm. ("... and stroking it"?)


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, September 7, 2018

Paperback 1035: The Man With the Getaway Face / Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) (Pocket Books 6180)

Paperback 1035: Pocket Books 6180 (PBO, 1963)

Title: The Man With the Getaway Face
Author: Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: I just paid $20 for it, which felt low

Best things about this cover:
  • It's got Richard Stark's name on it
  • Those. Hands.
  • Harry Bennett has no time for GGA (Great Girl Art). Just put the freaked-out lady in the far back corner and give us more of the Mummy With Giant Hands!
  • The hair on Those Hands is gonna haunt me
  • My wife was with me when I bought this at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, so she can attest that the following minor anecdote is true: we walked down the stairs to their basement-level store, I opened the door, saw this book directly in front of me, walked straight to it (looking at nothing and no one else), picked it up, checked the price, and knew it was mine. Then a nice woman appeared next to me and asked, in the hushed voice of someone suggesting something at least vaguely illegal, "Would you like to see our annex?" She explained that there was a room in the back where they kept their large supply of vintage paperbacks. Would I like to see it? Uh. Yes. Yes I would.
Best things about this back cover:
  • Price tag ... is an interesting direction to go in, design-wise. By "interesting," I think I mean "bizarre." There is no consumer culture to speak of in this novel, which is about an armored-car heist.
  • Also "interesting" that there's nothing on this tag about the details of the novel. The fact that he had plastic surgery is relevant, but it's not the main event. Why hide the action and describe the novel so vaguely that it sounds dull? It's like the copywriter couldn't be bothered to know anything about the plot and got all his info from the (admittedly longish) title.
  • A cover that dramatic should not have a back cover this anemic.
Page 123~
Eleven thousand went into the box, which he then wrapped up and addressed: Charles Willis, c/o Pacifica Beach Hotel, Sausalito, California, Please Hold. Unless the Pacifica Beach had changed hands in the three years since he'd last been there, they would know enough to stick the carton into the hotel safe and forget about it till Parker showed up again.
This is making me remember this novel and how good it is. I really should plow through all the Parker novels, in order, once and for bleeping all. I've only made it through the first three, I think, before other things grabbed my attention. I think I have my next reading project now.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, August 24, 2018

Paperback 1034: The Professor and the Co-Ed / Babette Hall (Belmont B50-786)

Paperback 1034: Belmont B50-786 (unknown ptg, 1967)

Title: The Profesor and the Co-Ed
Author: Babette Hall
Cover artist: Uncredited

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10

Best things about this cover:

  • The Advanced Hugging seminar was beginning to take its toll on Steve's knees...
  • "Oh Steve, I want ... I want ... something for these bare walls. A kitten poster, maybe? Oh, I wish I lived in a different dorm. Babette Hall is so drab!"
  • I like how this cover subverts expectations by placing a generic dude's back where the Great Girl Art should be.
  • I apparently own multiple editions of this book.

Best things about this back cover:

  • "Don't look so frightened!" he shouted, terrifyingly
  • "A child of sixteen?" I did not know they made "Co-Eds" that young.
  • "The teacher in me" 1000x LOL that's what she said
  • What is "the world's oldest predicament"? Prostitution? Pregnancy? Gym class?
  • Ladies Home Journal with the fake blurb! "Could you give us a blurb?" "Uh ... would you accept an aphorism?"

Page 123~
At seventeen sixteen was a million miles away. Why, I could hardly remember it, principally because I didn't especially want to.
I gotta borrow this one. "You ate the last donut." "Did I? ... I don't remember?" "It was 10 minutes ago." "10 minutes ... it's like a million miles." "There's still powder on your face. And on your hands. Look at your hands." "I don't especially want to."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, August 10, 2018

Paperback 1033: The Black Mass of Brother Springer / Charles Willeford (Black Lizard nn)

Paperback 1033: Black Lizard (no number) (1st ptg, 1989)

Title: The Black Mass of Brother Springer
Author: Charles Willeford
Cover artist: Kirwan

Condition: 9/10
Estimated value: $35-40

Best things about this cover:
  • An interesting variation on the "Killer's POV" cover. Hands that would normally be coming to strangle her are instead filled with Bible.
  • Those thumbs get creepier the longer you stare at them.
  • Willeford is a master. I have read stuff where he has written really interestingly and provocatively about race (and racism). I have no idea what kind of territory this book gets into, though...
Best things about this back cover:
  • He was white. She was ... ? So much white male gaze here. No idea if the book critiques or revels in this whole way of seeing blackness. I'd guess the former. I really should read it.
  • Jim Thompson is the author that got me into vintage paperback collecting (long story I'll tell some other time, when one of his books comes up ... or maybe I've told it already—I've been at this blog a long long time and there's lots I've forgotten about what stories I have and haven't told). Anyway, the irony here is that I don't care for Jim Thompson any more. He was the gateway ... but now the gateway has dissolved, or become irrelevant, or something. Weird how these things happen.
  • I think my next collecting effort will involve these '80s Black Lizards, before the imprint was bought out by Vintage (those early Vintage/Black Lizards were part of the whole Jim Thompson Gateway To Paperbackville...)
Page 123~
The shadow I stared at was not a part of the regular inventory I saw every day.
      And then the shadow stretched.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, August 3, 2018

Paperback 1032: Behind the Flying Saucer Mystery / George Adamski (Paperback Library 53-439)

Paperback 1032: Paperback Library 53-439 (1st ptg, 1967)

Title: Behind the Flying Saucer Mystery
Author: George Adamski
Cover artist: what is this cover, anyway?

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $8-12

PapLib 53-439
Best things about this cover:

  • What am I even looking at?
  • Feathers?
  • Wood shavings?
  • Arrow heads?
  • How 'bout you "rip the curtain of secrecy" from whatever this picture is?
  • And the little white streaks? Is this supposed to be a Rorschach-type dealie where I basically ascribe meaning based on my paranoid imagination? What if I'm just bored?

Best things about this back cover:

  • The QAn*n folks have nothing on this guy
  • "Since that fateful day in 1952 when he first lost his fucking mind, George Adamski became a known lunatic who somehow got a book contract"
  • "Men" LOL
  • The Brothers!
  • The Silence Group, Can I Join Please Shhhhhhhhh.... No Talking Ever
  • "Revolutionary" and "new" are both angry at being dragged into the whole "twelve-planet solar system" conversation
  • Jeez louise, this isn't his first UFO conspiracy theory book!?

Page 123~
... for he [Patrick Moore] had been one of the British astronomers, along with Dr. H. Percy Wilkins, who had confirmed the existence of the Mare Crisium bridge on the moon. He must have known for certain that someone had been using the moon as a base of operations, and the only logical ones were people from other planets.
Yes, that does sound like logic. Also, the idea of the Mare Crisium as the site of a lunar colony appears in Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, also from 1967, though I am sure that is a total coincidence, because no way George Adamski is getting his totally scientific ideas from fiction, no way, and if you don't believe me then you're probably part of the Silence Group. You Silence Groupies never quit.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, July 30, 2018

Paperback 1031: The Great Mail Robbery / Clarence Budington Kelland (Popular Library 432)

Paperback 1031: Popular Library 432 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: The Great Mail Robbery
Author: Clarence Budington Kelland
Cover artist: [Earle Bergey]

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:
  • "Cheese it, fellas! It's Miss Smokestack 1952!"
  • Mr. Freaked Out Impossible-Over-the-Shoulder-Glance in the extreme foreground there is pretty special.
  • There is a lot happening in this manframe (n: a framelike structure composed primarily of man parts). There's shocked bighead, Li'l Cap'n Fearhand, and then Gunhand (he handles the guns). The lady does have a manic look—and she's radiating some kind of toxic emissions—but her body language says Bored Tween. Weird.
  • They Made A Living Out Of Death = C-minus pun irony

Best things about this back cover:
  • HIS!
  • Inca! 
  • "This side of Hell," LOL. What's on the other side of Hell? A Wendy's?
  • "Suddenly there wasn't any robe." So she's some kind of ecdysiast-magician? Must be confusing for poor Will Scarlet.
  • This book should be called "Will Scarlet and the Starlet." Or "The Great Female Disrobery."
Page 123~
He had been immersed but a few minutes when his telephone rang irritatingly. He forced himself to get up and, dripping and shivering, walked to the table beside his bed where the telephone stood.
"Hello," he said impatiently.
"This," said a voice, "is Jahala Vidmar."
"... said a voice" is about as pure an example of needless wordery as you're ever gonna see. Made me laugh out loud and completely forget the horrific adverb abuse that preceded it.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Paperback 1030: Damon Runyon Favorites / Damon Runyon (Pocket Books 158)

Paperback 1030: Pocket Books 158 (1st ptg, 1942)

Title: Damon Runyon Favorites
Author: Damon Runyon
Cover artist: criminally uncredited [Frank J. Lieberman]

Condition: 8.5/10
Estimated value: $20

Best things about this cover:

  • You guys it's just so beautiful. I don't really have much to say. It just evokes a whole era, a magical place and time, as seen through the haze of nostalgia. It's So Soft.
  • The orange is wonderfully bright. These early Pocket Books are rarely this nice, with the colors unfaded and the Permagloss largely intact (just the tiniest bits of pull-away on some of the edges). Not perfectly square, but perfectly tight. Pages are practically bone white. Not sure it's been read at all.
  • That cab!
  • I want to go to Mindy's *right now*.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Master Of The Main Stem! (!) (!?) (!!??)
  • I wonder when "according to Walter Winchell" stopped working.
  • Runyon is such an important popularizer of the colloquial speech and lowbrow slang that dominated mid-century crime fiction. Colorful New York characters. Big False Face! BFF!

Page 123~ (from "Sense of Humor")
"Why," he says, "do not you hear the news about Rosa? She takes the wind on me a couple of months ago for my friend Frankie Ferocious, and is living in an apartment over in Brooklyn, right near his house, although," Joe says, "of course you understand I am telling you this only to answer your question, and not to holler copper on Rosa."
Joe the Joker doesn't want to holler copper because Rosa spends money like nobody's business and Frankie is about to find out how expensive she is. Dames!


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, July 9, 2018

Paperback 1029: Widow's Web / Ursula Curtiss (Ace G-561)

Paperback 1029: Ace G-561 (1st ptg, 1965)

Title: Widow's Web
Author: Ursula Curtiss
Cover artist: M. Engel (signature) (who is this?)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10-12

Best things about this cover:
  • Well this is the weirdest damn spider I ever did see
  • Head of a woman, body of a haunted house, one leg a pill bottle, the other leg a tiny couple. I pity the fly!
  • This cover fits right into the Ace woman-authored suspense novel mold, reminiscent of virtually every Ace novel by, say, Charlotte Armstrong or Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (who, coincidentally, published a novel with Ace called "Widow's Mite")
  • What's up with that couple? She's leaning in like "Oh, Larry, kiss me," and he's like "Wait, wait ... where did I leave my pill bottle? It was just here, I swear."

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ugh, text, boo.
  • "Catch-throat" is not a compound adjective I'm familiar with. I'm guessing it's a one-off invented by this reviewer to try to sound super reviewy. 
  • Why is "hand" in that second blurb? That line works just fine hand(s)-free.
Page 123~
Torrant said that he would have coffee after all.
Despite his having one of fictiondom's more ridiculous names, I relate to Torrant.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, July 6, 2018

Paperback 1028: Footsteps in the Night / Dolores Hitchens (Permabook M-4261)

Paperback 1028: Perma Books M-4261 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: Footsteps in the Night
Author: Dolores Hitchens
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Condition: 8.5/10
Estimated value: $15

Best things about this cover:

  • I have no idea what this book is about, but I love trying to work out what the hell is going on in this scene. Is she being stalked? Or is that just her husband wondering why the hell his drunk wife is wandering off in one shoe while holding the other shoe?
  • Love her little fingernail-biting gesture. So perfectly pensive. "Hmmm ... now where did I leave my other shoe?" This is the shoe equivalent of losing your glasses because they are on top of your damned head.
  • I'm not the biggest fan of Harry Bennett's art work—a little too sketchy/sloppy-looking for my tastes—but this scene is pretty evocative and intriguing. I just wish there were ... more of it. The '60s are a fast-moving tragedy for fully painted cover art. Canvas shrinks. Text takes over. I don't even like thinking about it.
  • Dolores Hitchens is one of those writers I keep meaning to read but not reading. I think I read something of hers a while back and liked it. I just opened to a random page and this is the first thing my eyes hit: "Mrs. Holden's pouter-pigeon bosom strained the buttons of the blue quilted housecoat." OK, sure, I'm in.

Best things about this back cover:

  • LOL text shaping. Actually, it's kind of perfect that her quizzical face is being used as the top end of a "?"
  • This isn't the greatest back cover copy. There's no context for any of these names. You could just keep asking questions with random names and I'd be like "I ... don't know. Still don't know. Should I care? Who Are These People? What Is Happening In This Book?"
  • Dronk! When you're not just drunk ...

Page 123~
"Cops are like this, as long as you admit what they want you to admit, they're okay. So I admit I was up there, in your house, and I left at such-and-such a time, and I got home at a certain hour and all that crap. You think they're going to lean on me, try to make me say what we were doing?"
Now I want to know what they were doing. According to an earlier paragraph on this page, it involved "hot yearnings." Hot shoeless yearnings, no doubt.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, July 2, 2018

Paperback 1027: The Needs We Share / Rea Michaels (Domino 72-793)

Paperback 1027: Domino Books 72-793 (PBO, 1965)

Title: The Needs We Share
Author: Rea Michaels
Cover artist: photo cover

Condition: 5/10 (terrible stain on back, else 7/10)
Estimated value: $25-30

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:

  • This is like a half-step away from the cover of, like, a knitting magazine from the same time period. That font! That font color! Those houseplants! Put her in a cardigan and bam—feel the craft work!
  • The divorcee on the couch is giving me life! She's like, "Yep, life without Harry is O, K!"
  • Miss Bouffant is also amazing. So fierce. "You wanna watch! I don't care, ya ****ing pervs!" The cheapness of that slip, though, is making me very sad. I can almost hear the crappy thick nylon rubbing against, well, everything.
  • I love love LOVE the Kinsey-inspired books (they are a significant subgenre of 50s/60s sleaze). Kinsey's peering behind facade of American sex lives (semi-) legitimized readers' natural voyeurism. "I'm reading this ... for science!"

Best things about this back cover:

  • Yep, she's great even in isolation like that.
  • Oh man, that stain. I think Dolores the divorcee got her cigarette a little too close to her nighttime reading material...
  • FIND THE SINNER is soooo tacked-on. It makes no sense, especially after the dramatic final ellipse on the cover copy. Also, was the sinner hiding? Psst ... she's right there.

Page 123~
As far as the eye could see there was whiteness.
Yep, that *does* sound like suburbia.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, June 29, 2018

Paperback 1026: Purless Sex Cat / Jon Basell (Compass Line CL 130)

Paperback 1026: Compass Line CL 130 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Purless Sex Cat
Author: Jon Basell
Cover artist: Uncredited

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $40-50

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • I forced a bot to look at 1000 vintage sleaze paperback covers and then asked it to design a cover of its own. This is the result.
  • What even is this? Any of this? It's like something from the Island of Dr. Moreau, but in book form. The colors? Terrible. The weird geometric shapes? Ridiculous. His torso looks like the face of drunk Homer Simpson. And then there's "Purless." Purless. Look, I don't know what happened here, but if this is Purless, then I say someone needs to Pur more. A lot more.
  • The phrase is "sex kitten," you language-maiming Turing Test failure.
  • Her ass is for "Adults Only," which seems totally reasonable, although I can't imagine why any non-deranged "minor" would want to buy this confusing trash heap.
  • "From sex to limitless sex" is easily the greatest play on "from sea to shining sea" that ever was or will be.
  • Dear lord, his cyan briefs will haunt my dreams for months.
Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, they forgot to print the lead-in all-caps tagline, so there's that?
  • This sentence has no beginning, no end, no purpose, no dignity, its erotic body never sated, demanding and loving rambling with commas and they too know from others that physical satisfaction is flitting from sex to sex in their ... RUTTING REVERIES
  • Pink. I like the pink. Yes. It's pleasant. Like a nicely iced cupcake. 
Page 123~
     So I acted real helpless and weak while the skindiver helped me out of the water and on up the shore of the island. It was real comical the way his face got all red when he got a good look at how naked I was. Or maybe it was because he was naked, too.
     "Th-thank you," I gasped, while he got even redder and said that his camp was a few feet away and maybe some whiskey would make us both feel better."
Well I know some whiskey would make me feel better after that linguistic atrocity so byeeee


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, June 18, 2018

Paperback 1025: Hot Harem / Jill Carr (Saber Books SA-107)

Paperback 1025: Saber Books SA-107 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Hot Harem
Author: Jill Carr
Cover artist: [Bill Edwards?] [uncredited]

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $25-30

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:

  • The coffee lady's mockumentary fourth-wall break is amazing
  • "... whether tis nobler to make a choice for the bedroom or to eat ... something something outrageous fortune..."
  • It's like the top half of blondie's body doesn't know what the bottom half's doing or vice versa
  • You can almost hear cereal dude going "uhhhhhhhh...."
  • Even the bacon is like "this is ridiculous, we're outta here!"

Best things about this back cover:

  • Girl [space] friend. Interesting.
  • LOL they can't even keep the spelling of Ann(e)'s name straight for one paragraph
  • Wait, if Ann(e) is "somewhere between first and second choice" (?) ... well a. How many choices are involved? And b. Where does the horse fit into all of this?

Page 123~
I'm a Lesbian, she thought, amazed, but not horrified, yet not quite believing what she had to believe. Then she modified her own ... would you call it an accusation? And the brand burned more lightly; it didn't have to burn as deep. I'm heterosexual, Anne decided, and so is Jeanne.
Well, there's a lot to unpack here, but kudos to the writer for breaking out All The Punctuation Marks to heighten the tension. Ellipsis! Question mark! When I hit that semicolon, I was like "damn ... this is art."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, June 11, 2018

Paperback 1024: Highway Hustlers / Zan Collins (Magenta M112)

Paperback 1024: Magenta Books M112 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Highway Hustlers
Author: Zan Collins
Cover artist: God I wish I knew

Condition: 9/10
Estimated value: I have no idea, as this book literally appears not to exist...

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]


Best things about this cover:
  • "OK, let's take this transcontinental lesbian sex romp premise and make it ... lifeless. Oh, and make the roads look totally implausible and ignore all rules of scale and pretend depth perception isn't a thing ... oh yeah ... that's good"
  • There is no shoulder to this road. They are standing in the road. Next to the world's tiniest mesa and cacti.
  • Those look less like sexy poses and more like attempts to set a Guinness world record for balancing oddly
  • Zan Collins. When you want a totally plausible namelike name under which to publish your crappiest fiction: Zan Collins.
  • I don't think you have to worry about "minors" going anywhere near this eyesore
  • That pink top is actually very cute.

Best things about this back cover:
  • I can't stop laughing at the full-stop after "Unwary." Sure, it's D-grade sleaze fiction, but we're not animals—punctuate properly!
  • "I am not a tramp, she kept reassuring herself" is one of the greatest lines of cover copy I've ever seen.
  • Too many words. Words that do nothing but amass into a meaningless mush. Has there ever been a less climactic climax than this one?

Page 123~
"Your eyes are agleam," Meg whispered at last.
I laughed so hard at 'agleam' ... crossword people will understand. But I'll give you more, because there is more to give:
[W]hen they stripped down, Marianne noticed Meg's pointed breasts. The nipples were taut, swollen.
     She never questioned Meg as to what kind of evening she had enjoyed. But if Meg's rosettes were honest, Marianne was quite sure that she had told the young soldier goodbye in her own womanly way.
Ladies, don't you hate it when your 'rosettes' lie? Or when people call your nipples 'rosettes'? I mean, really...


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Paperback 1023: Children of the Void / William Dexter (Paperback Library 52-357)

Paperback 1023: Paperback Library 52-357 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Children of the Void
Author: William Dexter
Cover artist: Uncredited ("The artist is not credited, no visible signature [Jack Gaughan ?]" (isfdb)

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $10-12
Best things about this cover:
  • Used Spaceship Salesmen of the Void
  • When the humans you're using for biceps curls suddenly get a mind of their own...
  • My favorite word on this cover is "Violently." Like, how else is an Earth going to be "torn from its sun"? "Affectionately"?
  • Grafton can't even get to his damned spaceship. How's he gonna halt a runaway world when this animatronic Chuck E. Cheese reject makes him run in terror?
  • Not at all sure they didn't mean "Children of the Noid"; the similarities are uncanny:

And now...
Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow, superdumb title replication, but super cool sketch of '60s scifi futurism. Spaceships were awesomest when they were entirely fanciful. I don't want to live in a future that isn't a mid-century future.
  • That is a particularly dull and detail-free opening paragraph.
  • Wow, Denis Grafton (!) is a recurring character? The basis of a series? He's like Chairman of the Board of Space Heroes That Time Totally and Utterly Forgot
Page 123~
But there was always something at the back of the adult mind that whispered to us that we should shun these strange creatures.
O great, a treatise on right-wing immigration policy. No thanks.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, May 25, 2018

Paperback 1022: Orbit Unlimited / Poul Anderson (Pyramid G615)

Paperback 1022: Pyramid G615 (PBO, 1961)

Title: Orbit Unlimited
Author: Poul Anderson
Cover artist: John Schoenherr (credited)

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $8-12

Best things about this cover:

  • Tired of orbit plans that restrict your orbiting times or charge your over-orbiting fees? Then sign up for Sprint's new Orbit Unlimited plan. Orbit any time. Here we see subscribers enjoying the Orbit Unlimited Family plan...
  • This cover is super boring. I'm kind of interested in the space surfboard, and in the rusty nose of whatever that vessel it is the astrofolk are exploring. But honestly the most interesting thing about this cover is the military surplus font and its alternate-letter coloring.
  • I still haven't read a damn thing Poul Anderson has written, despite owning what feels like dozens of his books.
Best things about this back cover:

  • Was it a trap? It's a trap! I hear it's a trap.
  • Even this premise sounds boring. They left to avoid oppression. But then they got a message: "Oppression over!" Should they believe the message? Wait, stop, why are you putting the book back on the shelf? OK, no, wait, there's seexxxxxxxx...." Shelf time unlimited.
  • "The Top-Selling American Book In Russia" is one of the weirdest promo claims I've ever seen on a book. I'm not even sure what that's supposed to signify to me.
  • 1961: Everybody's Reading "The Gadfly"! 2018: Nobody Has Heard of "The Gadfly"!

Page 123~
"We'd better plan our next moves in advance. Also, it's time for a rest and a snack."
Finally, scifi I can relate to.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, May 21, 2018

Paperback 1021: Horns for the Devil / Louis Malley (Pocket Books 894)

Paperback 1021: Pocket Books 894 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Horns for the Devil
Author: Louis Malley
Cover artist: George Erickson

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:
  • "I Want You ... For U.S. Mafia"
  • Not many covers break the fourth wall quite this breakingly. "Who are you? You got my sandwiches?! Well then whaddya want? Shut the fuckin' door! You lookin' at my girl!? Jerry, Lou, show this guy what for!"
  • This is a fantastic cavalcade of mugs. Hall-of-Fame B-movie extras. Just hanging around, waiting for someone to call them up for another stint in Generic Mid-Century American Crime Story. "Our regular Girl At Bar No. 3 turned her ankle. You're in, kid!"
  • It's not exactly like the work of director Louis Malle, but it is ... Malle-y.
Best things about this back cover:
  • "Look here! Now I'm big and two-toned and my background is Rage Red! Where's my *&%^ing coffee?!"
  • Severio Lebbrosa! That means "seriously like a leopard."
  • No, no, no, it's "first you get the money, then you get the power, *THEN* you get the women." Come on, man. Did you not watch "Scarface?"

Page 123~

When they got out of the car Ralph squeezed her hand, but she wanted more than that. It had come so suddenly.
This was the very least boring sentence, which is wedged in between a conversation with an old lady and a scintillating drive to Westchester. I probably shoulda just let you think it was prelude to a steamy sex scene. Sorry.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, May 7, 2018

Paperback 1020: The Lineup / Frank Kane (Dell First Edition B125)

Paperback 1020: Dell First Edition B125 (PBO, 1959)

Title: The Lineup
Author: Frank Kane
Cover artist: Victor Kalin

Condition: 6.5/10
Estimated value: $10-12

Best things about this cover:
  • So gorgeous. Victor Kalin with that insane take on the police interrogation lamp, but instead of the perp being all sweaty and nervous, this lady's like "What the fuck do you bozos want?" It's not a harsh light of intimidation, but a warm, caramel light revealing the real power in the room. "Keys? ... What keys?"
  • That dress! That posture! Sorry, bullet point 2 is just gonna be an extension of bullet point 1. She is all style and attitude. Those dough-faced dudes are inconsequential and marginal and now they know it. I love her.
  • Whenever anyone tells you that smoking can be sexy, this is what they're talking about. It allows people to reveal themselves gesturally. Her hands are mesmerizing. Also: lips, nails, dress—all on point. The Drab Twins don't know what to do.
Best things about this back cover:
  • Mid-century S.F. = So Hot. This is the S.F. of "Vertigo." Do the cable cars still run? They were iconic in my youth (I was born in S.F.).
  • Wait, what? MY name is Ben Guthrie!!!!? Second person!? Hoo, boy, sign me up. And thanks for not making me "Matt Greb," as Greb is a name you'd make up in a panicked haste if you were really bad at making up names
  • Today, November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day...
  • "... you put your cop phone to your cop ear, sit on your cop ass, and say with your cop mouth, 'What?'"
  • What, a novelization of a TV show!? O please O please (checks youtube...) Oh, cool. Looks like its name got changed to "San Francisco Beat," but here ya go!!!

Page 123~
"I"d say you were all trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, Doc," Greb added. "Must feel a little foolish taking the fall alone."
"Metaphor? check! Cop patter? check! Man, I am killing it at my job today!"—Greb, in his head, probably.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, May 4, 2018

Paperback 1019: The Primitive / Chester Himes (Signet 1264)

Paperback 1019: Signet 1264 (PBO, 1956)

Title: The Primitive
Author: Chester Himes
Cover artist: [Tony Kokinos] (signature top left)

Condition: 6.5/10
Estimated value: $30

Best things about this cover:
  • White lady trying hard not to think about centuries of brutal racism and her own complicity therein ... I assume.
  • There's drunk, there's very drunk, and then there's "I only made it half way through taking my shoes off" drunk
  • The red of the red shoes is very red against the non-color of everything else. Echoes the title font color. I like.
  • This novel was heavily cut for the US audience, which, like, couldn't deal, I guess. It was published right before Himes made the turn into hardboiled crime fiction with his Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones series (so great)
Best things about this back cover:
  • The End of a Primitive was the original title of the book (the title used when the book was finally published in unexpurgated versions, 40+ years later)
  • So the white woman is just white but the "Negro man" is "embittered"? Normally I don't beg for more adjectives, but come on.
  • Van Vechten tryna get cute with that "white heat" shit, I bet. He's a white dude who wrote a book called Ni**er Heaven. A key figure in white people's "discovering" Harlem. I highly recommend Mat Johnson's current comic, Incognegro: Renaissance, which is set in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance and features a Van Vechten-like figure in the first issue. Good stuff.
Page 123~
"Oh, sure," he said, thinking, "I like de big gut, do you like de big gut?"

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, April 30, 2018

Paperback 1018: Top Hand / Dwight Bennett (Perma Books M-3023)

Paperback 1018: Perma Books M-3023 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Top Hand
Author: Dwight Bennett
Cover artist: Robert Schulz

Condition: 7.5/10
Estimated value: $20-25

Best things about this cover:
  • I love this cover. It's one of my favorite covers, and definitely one of the best western covers I own. The genre tends to be pretty, let's say, predictable in its images, and not exactly daring or unusual in its cover iconography or style. But here, the frame within the frame, the way the room simultaneously brightens to shocking orange and fades into sketchy monochrome, the non-triumphant, weary, wounded cowboy posture—it's all simple, elegant, gorgeous. Even the way his hand in the door jamb (i.e. his TOP HAND, GET IT!?) echoes the fallen hat in the opposite corner feels deliberate and precisely composed.
  • OMG is this going to be some finely observed epic Joycean tale told covering every detail of a single day in this cowpoke's life, told entirely from the perspective of his left hand, because I hope so.
  • OK, now I want the left hand to be an actual character, one with whom the cowboy regularly talks to and from whom he seeks advice. Señor Wences-like.
Best things about this back cover:
  • Oh, cool, the Inter-Saloon Mud Wrestling and Pig Wrangling Championships, I've heard of this
  • "What do you mean quits?" "Well, I didn't actually say 'quits,' so ..." 
  • I feel like this back cover has taken all the wonderful mystery out of the front cover.
Page 123~
Joe pulled himself loose from his dark reflections.
This is frontier-speak for "logged off of twitter."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, April 27, 2018

Paperback 1017: The Best Go First / Frank O'Malley (Bantam 959)

Paperback 1017: Bantam 959 (1st, 1952)

Title: The Best Go First
Author: Frank O'Malley
Cover artist: "Phillips" (signed, but no idea who this "Phillips" is)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:

  • She's really taking the gun to that "O" like "hint, hint! I am on the Make," but ... he seems preoccupied with driving other rods into other chambers.
  • "Look, I see your little innuendo there, Martha, but this Extortion-Murder is not gonna Extortion-Murder itself, so settle down!"
  • The best go first. Steve, with his dirty gun and lack of torso covering, went third, most days, at best.

Best things about this back cover:

  • It's like they meant to send in the final tagline but accidentally just sent in their brainstorming notes and the printer didn't understand and just went with All Of The Descriptive Words
  • Crisp! Realistic! Sounds .... Frank! (the author's name is Frank; this is an author's name joke; please clap)
  • Man, the adjectives are really running amok. I like how they added "hammering" after "driving" in case maybe we thought it was a novel about cars. Or maybe it is about driving ... to the hardware store!
  • How many times do I have to meet this m***erf***er?

Page 123~
She was a woman who talked when you wanted coversation and sat quietly when you wanted to think. That kind is rare.
No, that kind is inflatable.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, April 20, 2018

Paperback 1016: Sex Diary / Nat Brand (Hi-Hat 103)

Paperback 1016: Hi-Hat HH 103 (PBO, 1963)

Title: Sex Diary
Author: Nat Brand
Cover artist: [Uncredited]

Condition: 9/10 (tiny notch up top, else Perfect)
Estimated value: $20-25

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:

  • Oh, sorry, I see you're studying. I'll come back later.
  • "Knock knock" "Who's there?" "ORAL" "ORAL who?" "ORAL the salacious sight gags used up or do you have one more you'd like to try out?"
  • Of all the disturbing things here, the most disturbing is that either that dude wants to put beer in a martini glass or else that gin needs a bottle opener (?!). Or else that's champagne, in which case everything is wrong, burn it all down...
  • Oh, and her mouth. That is also disturbing. The mouth-to-Everything-Else ratio is way, way off.

Best things about this back cover:

  • As if this back cover type were not hilarious enough, this one omits the closing phrase! It's supposed to go "RIDICULOUS OPENING PHRASE... / Cover copy that sounds like it was written by a prurient 11-yr-old then translated into Ukrainian then Portuguese then Urdu then back to English again... / RIDICULOUS CLOSING PHRASE." I have countless examples of this very type of back cover. And yet, here, I am forced to use my imagination to finish off the final sentence. The depraved inkstains of her WHAT!?!?! LUST PEN? SIN QUILL? I'm gonna lose sleep over this.
  • "The entries of the facts of her lust sessions" ... [steps back, admires wordsmithery, kisses fingertips] ... MWAH!
  • "Penetrating pen" ... "every shocking inch" ... The subtlety! It's maddening!

Page 123~

His hands slid haltingly on her belly.

I think we're done here.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Paperback 1015: Three-And-A-Half Women / Fred May (Private Edition 372)

Paperback 1015: Private Edition PE 372 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Three-And-A-Half Women
Author: Fred May
Cover artist: [Uncredited]

Condition: 9/10 (I mean, square, unread, bright, wow)
Estimated value: Priceless ... also, I don't see this book anywhere on the internets, so ???

Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection

Best things about this cover:

  • The paperback cover gods giveth and the paperback cover gods taketh away and sometimes the paperback cover gods give you so much that it is simply overwhelming and it feels like punishment
  • I want to start with the hair. Her hair ... OK, moving on
  • This is One, One-And-A-Half Women, tops
  • One-And-Three-Quarters Buttcheeks
  • I feel like there is a black hole located somewhere under the bed that is exerting its gravitational pull in remarkably distorting ways. It's literally pulling him off the bed. Or else he's taking a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, not sure.
  • Someone was absent during Perspective day in art class. How big is that bed? How short is her left calf? What is that rope-holding peg even attached to??
  • His Fear Hand™!! (O god I *hope* that's just Fear Hand™ and not him trying to suppress something pushing up from under his camisole...)

Best things about this back cover: 

  • Nothing says "erotic reading" like "squatted" and (le mot juste) "haunches."
  • "Puzzled" made me literally LOL
  • Wait, how does he get his kicks??? All he did was leer at and/or ogle her, and she somehow knows about his kicks? Is flicking your eyes and wetting your lips code for something now? Is he just really into squatting haunches?

Page 123~
Betty now knew, of course, that Paul was the young man with whom Jill had spent the time in bed. She assumed that he had enjoyed the experience very much and was there to stake his claim. She also knew that Jill was basictlly [sic] a man's girl. Betty had conflicting emotions.
Ah yes, who can forget the young man with whom one had spent the time in bed? The time in bed is indeed worthy of fond recollection by those by whom it was experienced. Sex is something we humans are determinedly enjoying and no I am not a "bot" what is a "bot"?


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, April 13, 2018

Paperback 1014: The Man-Hunter / Dick Donovan (Westbrook / American Detective Series No. 34)

Paperback 1014: American Detective Series No. 34 (Arthur Westbrook Co., date unknown)

Title: The Man-Hunter
Author: Dick Donovan
Cover artist: Unknown

Condition: 7/10 (considering how old it is: amazing)
Estimated value: ???????????
Best things about this cover:
  • Before I get to the cover ... what is this book? I am having so much trouble getting good information about it. Seriously, this is the best I've been able to do so far: an entry at the Dime Novel Bibliography that tells me virtually nothing. I don't know what year it's from. I don't know who did the cover. The internet is being remarkably unhelpful so far. Any info you can supply would be much appreciated, thanks.
  • Ok, the cover: so bright. There's some fading and foxing to the pages and back cover, the book is perfectly square and tight and the colors on this cover really pop. I think it's awfully beautiful, actually.
  • I like that "The Man-Hunter" is lost and has to ask the nice lady for directions.
  • Good horsey.
Best things about this back cover:
  • As you can see, lots of Sherlock. Mostly, when I look for this publisher, it's Doyle info I find—perhaps unsurprisingly, as he's a highly collectible author, whereas the rest of these folks ... ?
  • Oh, days of yore, your book titles were so much better. I am now desperate to read COP COLT, QUAKER DETECTIVE ... though I'll probably take a pass on CHIN CHIN, CHINESE DETECTIVE. . . 
  • "Postage stamps taken same as money"—well that's a new one on me.
Page 123~
"You have obtained the absolute proofs of her death?"
"No, madame. I have glorious news for you."
The woman's face fell.
"Glorious news for me?" she repeated.
"Kate Freelingburg lives."
"Ah!" came the quick ejaculation.
Now I really want a "Kate Freelingburg Lives!" t-shirt and/or bumper sticker.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]