Apr 092014
Paperback 762: Gold Medal 645 (PBO, 1957)

Title: Case of the Cold Coquette
Author: Jonathan Craig
Cover artist: George Mayers

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • Cold? Maybe if she put her shirt back on …
  • Oh, *that* kind of iceberg. The ones that are beautiful and are thawed by money. I was thinking of the ones that are made of ice and float in the ocean and are thawed by the rays of the sun. But I get it now. Good analogy.
  • If you're looking for your right shoe, lady, it's under the bench … there … toward your left … no, not in the corner—down … straight down … are you even trying? 
  • Seriously, what is she doing? Some kind of weird half-naked bench yoga?


Best things about this back cover:
  • "I'm a cop." Original!
  • Champagne tastes … but caviar guts-on-the-track!
  • We get it. Cold, thaw, etc. Give the metaphor a rest; I think it's tired.
  • I always say, the best leads are succulent leads. Like aloe. A great lead, aloe.

Page 123~

"The mark is so hotted up he can't think straight."


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Feb 232014
Paperback 745: Gold Medal 111 (PBO, 1950)

Title: The Wild Horse
Author: Les Savage, Jr.
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • The horse or the girl! Every man must choose.
  • When you find your horse "desirable," well, it reacts like this.
  • Few writers were more savage than … Les Savage!"
  • Musculature lovingly drawn by someone who appears to have spent a Lot of time underneath a horse.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "If you like girls and horses and especially girl horses, prepare your blood for stirring!"
  • Oh, the horse is a him. The plot thickens.
  • Look, there's "horse lover" and then there's whatever bizarre romance novel shenanigans is going on here. If your horse is kindling in your breast a wild dream of possession for more than four hours, see a doctor.
  • He's written best-sellers before, so … who's to say he won't some time again in the future. Les Savage!

Page 123~

"Why not put it in words, Rockwall? It's been in both our minds for a long time now. You can't deny it, can you?"

I really, really want the horse's name to be 'Rockwall.'


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Oct 302013
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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Oct 242013
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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Oct 112013
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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Sep 232013
Paperback 699: Gold Medal s977 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Journey to a Woman
Author: Ann Bannon
Cover artist: photo cover, I think

Yours for: No. I keep. (probably worth about $60)


Best things about this cover:
  • It's cruddy. But this is a novel by one of the biggest names in lesbian pulp, so I'm fond of it nonetheless.
  • She's been ambered! (that reference was for "Fringe" fans only ... so, like, five of you)
  • Is that text supposed to be a poem? Whose / Bright idea was it to break the / Lines that / way?


Best things about this back cover:
  • Here's some important "gay" paperback code language: "half-" anything. Also, "shadows."
  • Hey, I wanna go "tearing through the night on a fool's errand at the whim of a beautiful spoiled woman who had beckoned." That sounds awesome!
  • "The strangely alluring woman called Vega!" — well, I've got at least one friend who will find this book interesting. A friend named 'Vega." You probably guessed that.

Page 123~

"Charlie has some idea for a new toy," Cleve went on. "He wants to call it 'The Scooth.' It's sort of a spring, a great big thing you can crawl inside or sit on top of and bounce."

Toys are important on your journey to a woman.


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Sep 152013
Paperback 696: Gold Medal s911 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Assignment—Lili Lamaris
Author: Edward S. Aarons
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • Cover would be So Hot if it were less smudgy and closer-up. PAN IN!
  • This is somewhere between super-sexy and "help me, I've fallen."
  • She appears to be wearing ... mist. How convenient.
  • I like how she just jams her right leg into the text, like "Don't look at those stupid words! Why are you looking down there when I'm up here!?"


Best things about this back cover:
  • I like the attitude suggested by his face, i.e. "whatever, sketch me or don't sketch me, I don't give a fuck."
  • Since "the enemy" is unnamed, I'm gonna go ahead and assume it's "lizard people."
  • "Tenth book"?! He wrote 42 novels in this series! (This has been your "holy crap" literary moment of the day.)

Page 123~

He paused, listening to the silence here that was not quite a silence, but like the deep, patient breathing of a waiting animal. 

That's just Lili. She breathes funny when she's naked-crawling.


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Sep 132013
Paperback 695: Gold Medal 823 (PBO, 1958)

Title: Passage to Samoa
Author: Day Keene
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • Roger was inconsolable when he found out they weren't going to Disney World
  • Roger was fastidious about thread-count.
  • Jerry Orbach IS ... Roger IN ... "Passage To Samoa"!
  • "They followed the random pink arrows ... to Death (or Murder or Love ... one of those)!"


Best things about this back cover:
  • An inside look at Roger's circulatory system reveals that he is all fucked up.
  • If that phony count doesn't have a sweet pencil mustache, I will be gravely disappointed.
  • Roger liked his sex the old-fashioned way: bundled.

Page 123~
Janice protested. "But you can't kill us for nothing. What on earth is back of this, anyway?"

"Well, I'll tell you now, Miss Hart," Hines grinned. "It's this way. Me and Sven and a certain other gent got tired of being poor. So—"

Hanson bellowed, "Shut up, you fool. It's none of their business."
I like how honest and ingenuous Hines is. "Uh, we wanted money, 'cause we didn't have none, so ..."


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Sep 112013
Paperback 694: Gold Medal 763 (2nd ptg, 1958)

Title: Stop This Man!
Author: Peter Rabe
Cover artist: Darcy

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • A great, brutal cover marred only by the stupid slab of yellow Erskine at the top.
  • Love the unfinished quality of painting toward the bottom, the obvious dilapidation on the ceiling, the dynamic use of perspective, the framing of his left hand in the dead middle of the page, the believable fear on her face, the simple, understated, off-center title ... all fantastic.
  • Not sure what that shirt's made of though? Taffy?


Best things about this back cover:
  • OK, is it "could not put this book down," or, as the cover clearly states, "couldn't put this book down." I call bullshit.
  • I love (sarcastically) how this book basically belongs to Erskine Caldwell now. Sorry, Peter Rabe. I know it must be tough to get shown up on your own cover(s) by a 3-to-1 margin, but that's show business. Gotta move product.
  • The NYT review clearly has no appreciation for how much I like "the lurid modern crime thriller."

Page 123~

They put handcuffs on the Turtle and put him in a police car. Then they drove him downtown, to the office of the FBI. The Turtle didn't say anything during the long ride. He didn't think that funny talk would make any difference any more.

Aw, c'mon, The Turtle, you're not trying hard enough. Do your Nixon impression!


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Sep 082013
Paperback 693: Gold Medal 279 (PBO, 1953)

Title: The Big Guy
Author: Wade Miller
Cover artist: Jack Floherty

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • When a gorilla of a man meets a tigress of a woman ... Tigrilla!
  • Big guy. Short tie. Wide suit. Dumb stare. "Is my tie clip straight ... Well, IS IT!?"
  • Did he tear her clothes off her or was she attacked by an ermine that's still semi-attached to her right shoulder?


Best things about this back cover:
  • This is either the worst or the best back cover concept ever. It's so ... random. "How 'bout a dictionary entry?" "But that ... makes no sense." "Yes, but if we did it on a little floating piece of torn out paper then ... oh man I'm so high right now."
  • "Bloodstained but usable" = lovely.
  • Who is this "pa' shens" woman? A woman who teaches you how to drink, carouse and chase women!? She sounds amazing.
  • Wade Miller was actually two guys, but you probably knew that.

Page 123~
He took his wife's arm and squared the odd-feeling yachting cap on his head. "Come on down to the barbecue. I got to carve up a pig."
After the first five words, this passage is like "Fuck it, I'm'a do whatever I want."


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