Friday, September 1, 2017

Paperback 1002: Naked in Paris / Zack Robertts (Carousel 513)

Paperback 1002: Carousel Books 513 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Naked in Paris
Author: Zack Robertts
Cover artist: cheap-ass photographer

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $12-15

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • Super-hot top and chair totally undermined by world's most disgusting carpet remnant
  • Nice gams, tho
  • I like how she's carefully posed but also looks Completely surprised someone is taking her picture. "I'm just gonna enjoy a little after-party time with my favorite carpet remnant and ... oh! A photographer! I didn't see you there!"
  • Zack Robertts—the extra T is for "titillation"! (is what I assume his business cards said)

Best things about this back cover:
  • Hell yeah, it's frank! All the best stories are frank! Frank!
  • Modern love = sex in this mid-century butterfly chair—bonne chance!
  • "World capitals," LOL. "Which ones?" "Some of them!"


It wasn't exactly as I had planned and dreamed it over many months, but it was only for a brief stopover, but I was going home. And I felt pretty good about it.

But I don't feel pretty good about that first sentence, but what do I know?


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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Paperback 1001: I, Barbarian / Jay Scotland (Avon T-375)

Paperback 1001: Avon T-375 (PBO, 1959)

Title: I, Barbarian
Author: Jay Scotland
Cover artist: [George Ziel]

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $12

Best things about this cover:
  • His mind on women, his groin on horses
  • I, Shirtless—the flamingest novel east of the Urals!
  • His left hand is weird. Like it should be holding something. An ice cream cone, or a lovely bouquet of flowers, perhaps

Avon T375bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • This novel's not frank, but it is frankish
  • Adjective every noun!
  • I like this little sword-split design

Page 123~

"Didn't you notice the unbounded delight in the eyes of his highest excellency when you gave that last feverish lunge toward the edibles?"

If there's another way to approach edibles, I haven't found it.


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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Paperback 1000: The Case of the Musical Cow / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 1063)

Paperback 1000: Pocket Books 1063 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Case of the Musical Cow
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: photo cover (Silver Studios)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $12-15

Best things about this cover:
  • After "All About Eve," Bette Davis's career took a weird turn there for a bit...
  • Out with the old kind of mystery about DOPE and MURDER, in with the new kind of mystery about DOPE and MURDER. What's new, you ask? Well, musical cows, for one. Admit it, you did not see that coming.
  • Is that an Eames chair? That's some pretty stylish bondage.
  • There is a *lot* of rope in her lap, which the red-painted case title and the immersive mustard experience are probably supposed to distract you from.

Best things about this back cover:
  • I love (like, Love) that the exciting red cursive intro text just says "Rob Trenton."
  • I also love (like, Am In Awe Of) Erle Stanley Gardner's psychopathic signature.
  • Ooh, Europe. How exoticish!

Page 123~

Rob Trenton, who had been listening incredulously, said, "That's a lie! That whole statement is false. This man is one of the . . . "

At this point, Rob Trenton was deemed both too implausible and too boring to continue as a functioning character in this story, and so he simply exploded, leaving the remaining characters staring (incredulously, of course) at an empty chair.


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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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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Paperback 996: Playgirl For Hire / Sylvia Sharon (Domino Books 82-104)

Paperback 996: Domino Books 82-104 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Playgirl For Hire
Author: Sylvia Sharon (pseud. of Paul Little)
Cover artist: photo cover

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $25-30

Best things about this cover:
  • "Put down that drink and let's go do some tumbling? Whaddya say?"
  • I assume these ladies are supposed to be facsimiles of Playboy Bunnies (?) but aside from the liquor and the heels, and maybe the floor, this cover seems less "big-time vice" and more "back stage at the taping of a yoga class for public access TV."
  • "Oh, Patti, I feel so enmeshed in big-time vice." "Those are just stockings, dearie."

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, the old "daddy issues lead Kitty to sin city" narrative. Klassic.
  • There's a haven for the bored and jaded? How do I get there?
  • No models were harmed in the shooting of the cover photo
Page 123~

Kitty thought it curious that Pearl should suddenly gulp, turn very red, and squirm nervously about as she hastened to reply, "Oh, I do, Miss Wilson."

I wanted to cut that quote short at "gulp," but kept going in the interest of journalistic integrity.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]