Feb 062015
Paperback 857: Crest Books 340 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Jimmy Hoffa's Hot
Author: John Bartlow Martin
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $10-15


Best things about this cover:

  • Lady with questionable taste says what?
  • This is not a dynamic, or even a distinctive, picture. Would go equally well with book entitled, "Ohio's Best Funeral Directors."
  • John Bartlow Martin also wrote Butcher's Dozen (Signet 909).


Best things about this back cover:
  • Now *that* Hoffa picture — *that's* what I'm talkin' about! "The Creature Rose In Fury From The Primordial Swamp …"
  • This back cover scrupulously avoids the terms "mafia" or "organized crime," opting instead only for the  shadowy term, "underworld."
  • "I Will Feast On Your Pancreas, Bobby Haircut!" Priceless.

Page 123~

MR. HOFFA: To the best of my recollection, I must recall on my memory, I cannot remember.
MR. KENNEDY: "To the best of my recollection I must recall on my memory that I cannot remember," is that your answer?

MR. HOFFA: No, I'm sorry. That last part should be "I banged your mother." I'll try to enunciate more clearly. My apologies.


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Jan 282015
Paperback 855: Popular Giant PC 850 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: The Remarkable Kennedys
Author: Joe McCarthy
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $5-8


Best things about this cover:

  • That remarkable hair. He's actually holding a nail in his left hand, and he's about to drive it into the desk with his head.
  • Remarkably, this book was published in February 1960, well before JFK was president. It is a slim little piece of Americana/Propaganda.
  • Not *that* Joe McCarthy (I assume).


Best things about this back cover: 

  • John Folksy Kennedy.
  • Wow, Eunice was a tall drink of water.
  • The unreadable subtitle on that Robert F. Kennedy book is "The McClellan Committee's Crusade Against Jimmy Hoffa and Corrupt Labor Unions"

Page 123~

"He did well, but he would have done much better if he had somebody with him who knew the score instead of all those crew-cut college boys in their silk suits," one veteran says.

"Crew-College Boys In Their Silk Suits" sounds like a niche-market pin-up calendar.


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Dec 312014
Paperback 846: Pocket Books 4604 (1st ptg, 1963)

Title: Bachelors Get Lonely
Author: A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $10-15


Best things about this cover:

  • I can confirm the basic premise of this title.
  • I find this cover oddly sexy, if wildly implausible.
  • Pink. I dig it. At least it's different.


Best things about this back cover:

  • You had me at "Stripper Daffidill (sic!?) Lawson"
  • What an odd photo choice. Random stock photo, faded and blued.
  • Lam's pretty light-hearted for someone trying to catch a murderous voyeur.
  • "Swell."

Page 123~

"The walls are terribly thin," she whispered. "People will know that … that I'm having a visitor."


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Mar 192014
Paperback 754: Epic Book Original No. 120 (PBO, 1961)

Title: Passionate Trio
Author: John Davidson
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: Not for Sale (part of the Doug Peterson Collection)


Best things about this cover:

  • I can't believe this cover photo *ever* read as salacious. It could easily be the cover of a modern girl group's album Right Now. Adorable.
  • "Half-female" raises the important question WHAT IS THE OTHER HALF!? IS IT RANCH DRESSING!?
  • Seriously, this photo looks like it was taken yesterday. Fantastic swimsuits! This may be the only cover where my reasons for wanting to see more of the women's bodies are almost purely fashion-related.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Wild Font! Love it.
  • Wow, the tonal gulf between cover photo and cover copy just gets deeper and wider…
  • "Bill Hayward" made me laugh out loud. "Here is the story of something racy … Here is the story of something salacious … Here is the story of some random guy's name."
  • Next time I feel caught in the insane whirl of my existence, and people ask me how I'm feeling, I'll be like "not gonna lie, kinda Bill Hayward today."
  • READ THIS STORY, NOW! = my kind of advertising come-on. No beating around the bush. JUST BUY IT, MOTHERFUCKER!

Page 123~

Even from where he stood he could see that she was drunk.

"Why aren't you at work?"

"Too drunk," she replied. "Aha," he exclaimed. "Just as I thought."


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Nov 272013
Paperback 722: Chariot Books CB-1626 (PBO, 1963)

Title: Strange Longing
Author: Orrie Hitt
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:
  • This was also the cover for Axilla Fetishist Monthly (April 1963)
  • One thing about saran wrap lingerie is: the itch.
  • Man I wish the girl in the dark in the back ground were more in the light in the foreground.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Oh, don't mind me, I just wandered over to this side of the room and got tangled in the drapery somehow."
  • Seriously, what is happening there?
  • "Bunny soft"— I'm laughing quite hard right now.
  • Ladies, if you really wanna sex up your bedroom patter, call it "the portals of the 'forbidden world'!"

Page 123~
"I don't do the kind of dances they'd want."
"Who cares about dancing? The men don't come inside the tent for that."
They got into another bottle of rye and Emily paraded around the room.

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Aug 162013
Paperback 684: Novel Book 5077 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Hired Nympho
Author: Big Bob Tralins (best, author, name, ever)
Cover artist: photo cover + beta version of PhotoShop?

Yours for: Not for Sale [part of the Doug Peterson Collection]


Best things about this cover:

  • Can't get past the hair. Just can't. Hideous.
  • I do like the fact that I have, multiple times, misread Big Bob Tralins' other titles, e.g. "Seduction Salmon," "Passion Position," etc
  • Big. Bob. Tralins. That was someone's name.
  • Arrow, haha. "Read this next," says the redundant arrow.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Simple and to the point. Elegant. Being honest when I say this is one of my very favorite back covers. Of all time.

Page 123~

I grinned. They were both compacts, the low-slung, economy size, one blonde, the other redhead. Miniature five-footers, but stacked!

I can really picture these women. Sadly, what I'm picturing looks like a cross between a car and a sub sandwich.


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Jul 262012
Used bookstores are seemingly more plentiful and generally quirkier in NZ than they are here in the states. I went into every one I could find (duh). I pulled a couple things out of Gone West Books (in Titirangi, a neighborhood in / close suburb of Auckland) that seemed of probably interest to readers of this blog. First, there was this hardbound book that practically leapt off the "NZ Fiction" shelf and into my hands. You ever have that experience, where a book seems to Shout at you from the shelves, even if it's not particularly flashy or specially displayed? Yeah, that's what happened here:


There's something so simple, elemental, and badass about this design. I found myself thinking "Why don't more books like this?" Slightly frantic font set off against the slightly frantic geometrical linear configuration. Hot and cool at the same time. Minimal but substantial. Colorful, but with a B&W feel. Love! I also love the back cover, where we get to learn a thing or two about our author:

Armed! Only other armed author I've seen on a paperback cover is Spillane! I'm so reading this.

The other book I pulled out of that shop is less surprising, but no less intriguing:


How am I supposed to resist this? The genius of Penguin design, the beat-upness of a good book well read, the Chandler of Chandler of Chandler. I didn't even ask 'how much?' (answer: more than it was worth, less than I would've gladly paid). If I had to design a book to read on a train, it would look like this. I think it would *be* this. HOWEVER, I completely forgot that, for reasons I now forget, Philip Marlowe was not called Philip Marlowe in the UK editions of Chandler's work (despite the fact that the playwright Marlowe was British, and the fact that Marlowe evolved out of the earlier Mallory—another important British writer (minus one "l")). Instead, the detective is called Johnny Dalmas. You would not think a simple name change would affect my reading pleasure. You would be dead wrong. I just couldn't get past it. Marlowe is so far from a "Johnny" that I found it hard to take the stories seriously. It's like if Yakkity Sax started playing over the climactic scene in "The Godfather." To my ears, all kinds of tonally wrong. Anyway, the book still looks cool, which is mostly what matters.

More from The Collection very soon—I'm gonna step up production to make up for the lengthy hiatus.

Jun 202012
Paperback 541: Pocket Books 724 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: The Case of the Careless Kitten
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: "Front cover photograph by Paulus Lesser"

Yours for: SOLD! (6/20/12)

Best things about this cover:
  • "Hey, what's up? My name's Gary. I'm here to read for the role of 'Careless Kitten.' So ... do I stand here, or ... what? Oh, too close? Sorry."
  • Perry Mason solves 'The Case of the World's Least Meme-able Cat'
  • Seriously, this cover makes me laugh more than most covers I own. What the hell is happening? I love this cat. He's like the vintage paperback Anti-Cover. "No semi-naked ladies to see here, fella. MOVE along ..."
  • This was one of maybe 30 *more* ESG / AA Fair books I got from a generous reader. That makes 60-70 total. I'm gonna start reading the Perry Mason stuff in order ... if I like it, I'll keep going (at his worst, Gardner is competent, so I think I'm going to like it).

Best things about this back cover:

  • When Helen Kendal lost the second "L" in her last name, she knew just where to turn.
  • That's a human "corpse," I assume. Because one murdered kitten may be my limit.
  • When I want to add spice to my hot dish, I collect a scalp. Of course.

Page 123~

Della Street went on rapidly. "It's that way when someone near to you passes away. It's a shock. Your brother must have been smart, Mr. Lunk."

"Despite what his name suggests," she added.


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Jun 072012
Paperback 536: Signet Y5626 (1st ptg, 1973)

Title: The Last Cop Out
Author: Mickey Spillane
Cover artist: photo

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • The logical end point of the lurid cover arms race: magnificent, unadorned, naked ass.
  • I have never hated text more than I do at this moment.
  • I seem to remember hearing that the model was Spillane's wife. Likely the same woman who did "The Erection Set" cover.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Ugh. Next!
  • "Super virile" and you named him "Gillian?" Would've been more "virile" if you'd named him "Gilligan."
  • Knowing Spillane, "orgy of blistering destruction" may not be a metaphor.
  • "Volcanic explosion," on the other hand—probably a metaphor.

Page 123~

"I was there when Lederer was blowing his top. I could hear him right across the hall. City Hall must have leaned on him because he's gotten all leaves canceled, got the detectives working overtime and eating the ass out of Bill Long because Burke's disappeared someplace and nobody can find him."

It's writing like that that makes me happy the 50s were a more censorious decade—"eating the ass out of" would never have passed muster in the Mike Hammer era, and I'm OK with that.


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May 312012
Paperback 533: Pocket Books 78282 (1st ptg, 1973)

Title: End Zone
Author: Don DeLillo
Cover artist: photo

Yours for: $8

Best things about this cover:
  • Way outside my normal collection timeframe, but the cover (and author) caught my eye—seemed memorable / remarkable—like the last thing you see before you get strangled (to death, presumably).
  • I like that it's a novel about football, but the cover only barely suggests this (title, font, "New Gladiators").
  • That's the opposite of "Fear Hand"—most mid-century covers have a victim POV, with woman reacting to some kind of impending attack. Here, the attacker (in a context that can be only dimly imagined).


Best things about this back cover:
  • Dang, high praise for a novel I've never heard of.
  • "Is God a Football Fan?" is a pretty good tagline.
  • So much for your Nostradamian powers, Cincinnati Enquirer.

Page 123~
"Gary Harkness. Good name. Promotable. I like it. I even love it."
"Relax and call me Wally."
"Right," I said.
If anyone ever says "Relax and call me Wally," you're gonna want to end the conversation quickly and get out of there.


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