Oct 232013

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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Aug 312013

Paperback 690: Ember Library EL376 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Go Down, Aaron
Author: Chris Davidson
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert Bonfils]

Yours for: Not For Sale, partly ’cause I just wanna keep it, partly because I’d feel guilty profiting in any way from this thing (probably worth something north of a C-note)


Best things about this cover:
  • The title is … amazing. I mean, if you can ignore completely the horrible Nazi / gay erotic nexus for, like, one second, you have to appreciate the wordplay involved in that title. Changing “Moses” to Aaron … punning on the phrase “Go Down” … playing “Third Sex” off of “Third Reich” … seriously great.
  • The painting is also fantastic in its composition. I mean, again, horrible, but just the way the naked man is framed by the Nazi’s legs, the way the Nazi’s crotch is illuminated / represented by steel bars, the details on the uniform (belt, gun, trousers, whip (?), boots …). And all in an unusual Green. Jaw-dropping.
  • This is among the most flat-out outrageous books in my collection. It takes “Sleaze” to 11. It’s also in astonishing condition. I’d rate it 9/10, condition-wise.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Yuck.
  • What’s the difference between a “deviate” and a “deviant”?
  • I’m trying to imagine finding any of this arousing. Not judging, though. Different strokes, as it were.

Page 123~

“The Master requests your presence in the study, sir,” the servant informed Aaron.

Hmmm, this is a kind of prison I’m not familiar with.


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Kevin Wignall: Alchemy

 Duane Swierczynski, horror, James Herbert, Kevin Wignall, Nazis, occult  Comments Off on Kevin Wignall: Alchemy
Jun 212012

I was away on a trip for over a week. We were in Sicily, in Cefalú to be exact, and travelled around the island for couple of times, in Palermo for instance. It’s a beautiful city, with all its history and nice buildings. We also were at the Etna mountain. I’ll probably post some pictures one of these days once they have been downloaded from the camera, but I’ll save you from longer ramblings. I’ll just say that it’s a pity we didn’t have enough time to try to find Aleister Crowley’s house in Cefalú.

I read three books during the trip (I had four with me, and I started the fourth late last night, and it looks very good indeed: Duane Swierczynski’s Expiration Date), one of them being a Finnish crime novel from an author I was requested to do an interview with. One was James Herbert’s The Spear (1978), essentially a fun novel about neo-Nazis trying to rule the world with the help from the spear of Longinus, but also a bit outdated, with lots of old-fashioned thriller clichés to somewhat ruin the experience. But the one book rose above all the others: Kevin Wignall’s Alchemy, the second installation in his Mercian trilogy. I reviewed the first one, called Blood, here. I seem to have written that Blood will be published in Finland, but that has changed, I’m sorry to say. I’m not sure what the current situation is.

Back to Alchemy. I was a bit confused in the beginning, since – being lousy on plots – I didn’t remember much about the first book. Eventually I got into the story and it drew me in with irresistible force. The sadness and melancholy gave way also to other feelings, such as hatred and aggression, as Wignall introduces new characters. There are also some revelations of the most evil character in the book – in the whole universe, it seems – and it shows Wignall’s mastery that I was beginning to doubt whether Lorcan Labraid really is worth all the talk, but indeed he is. The book ends in the midst of one of most harrowing reading experiences I’ve had in a while. Can’t wait for the third book, Death, to appear. (And I’m sorry that it will be the final episode in the series.)

One point still, though: there are lots of discussion in the blogs and other venues that crime and other genre writing has deteriorated in the recent decades, say, Alistair MacLean is better than Tom Clancy. I won’t dispute that, but Wignall absolutely beats James Herbert hands down. (Well, okay, Herbert isn’t a very good example. I did enjoy his Rats, though.) What I mean to say is that sometimes things are just done in a bolder way. Wignall does exactly that.

 Posted by at 10:38 am

Paperback 539: The Ship With Two Captains / Terence Robertson (Berkley Medallion G402)

 1960, Army Times, Berkley Books, Military, Nautical, Nazis, Odd Hats, Terence Robertson  Comments Off on Paperback 539: The Ship With Two Captains / Terence Robertson (Berkley Medallion G402)
Jun 172012

Paperback 539: Berkley Medallion G402 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: The Ship With Two Captains
Author: Terence Robertson
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $8

Best things about this cover:
  • This cover fairly shouts the “wah WAH” sound effect.
  • There was a time when whatever is happening here would’ve been manifestly funny, I’m sure, but those hats and those flags don’t scream “wacky difference” to me so much as “partners in conquering the world.” Cover should’ve been a study in contrasts, but instead it’s Bing Crosby and William Holden waving dainty flags.
  • I do like the eye in the periscope, though. I imagine that it is the Devil, who has taken over the submarine and is now going to take Bing and Bill on a hellish journey.


Best things about this back cover:
  • I’m sorry. This cover (that is, the first sentence) made me fall asleep and am now too groggy to say anything, witty or otherwise.
  • “Army Times” giving a thumbs-up to this book is like “Dog Fancy” giving a thumbs-up to “Benji.”

Page 123~

The shells were falling around her now, some salvos just over, the next short and the rest straddling her.

This is way more pornographic than I imagined.


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