Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Paperback 956: The Big Gold Dream / Chester Himes (Avon T-384)

Paperback 956: Avon T-384 (PBO, 1960)

Title: The Big Gold Dream
Author: Chester Himes
Cover artist: [George Ziel]

Estimated value: $50-60
Condition: (9+/10)

Best things about this cover:
  • She has that face I get when I look at the internet for too long. But she has better lips. And better hair. In that she actually has hair.
  • Love the Big Gold Font
  • I'm not usually a big fan of the multi-scene cover, largely because it makes all the visual elements too small to have the kind of dramatic impact I like, but this particular iteration is nicely handled. Captures the darkness and brightness (and architectural elements) of the city really nicely.
  • This book is in indescribably great condition. Shiny. Square. Unfaded. Tiny bit of wear to spine and very faint warp toward the tippy top of the book are the only things keeping this from 10/10 condition rating.
  • Chester Himes is a really important writer—possibly the most important black crime fiction writer in US history. The fact that I own a first-edition Himes in *this* condition is one of the crowning glories of my 20-year collecting addiction odyssey.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Those numbers slips are Fantastic. The rest, blargh.
  • Does have a compelling opening line, though. I want to dream about pies exploding with 100 dollar bills!
  • "The smell of fresh violence filled the air" is one of the more haunting lines I've read on a back cover.
  • Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones remain the best-named detectives in crime fiction history. Hercule shmercule.

Page 123~

Slick turned his stare back to Susie. "You're not very bright, rockhead," he said. "He wants to cut himself a slice of our pie."
"He's going to get more slices than he's looking for," Susie threatened.

Ooh, double entendre. Good one, Susie.


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Monday, June 27, 2016

Paperback 955: The Way It Is / Curt Flood (Pocket Books 78188)

Paperback 955: Pocket Books 78188 (1st ptg, 1972)

Title: The Way It Is
Author: Curt Flood
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $20-30
Condition: 7/10

Best things about this cover:
  • We now interrupt this cover to bring you the telekinetic powers of Curt Flood!
  • It's like Curt willed the ball to stop with his mind. "If you want the game to start again, I have some ... demands."
  • Curt Flood with the rarely seen Self-Photobomb!
  • This cover seems both ill-conceived (you're blocking the shot!) and genius (Curt Flood will not be denied!)
  • Vida Blue's intro is good. Also, Vida Blue is one of the greatest baseball names of all time.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Man, people are throwing a lot of shade at Jim Bouton.
  • Back when a "sensitive, artistic black man" was apparently some kind of wonder to the NYT...
  • Miguel Cabrera's breakfast costs $100,000. All ballplayers should tithe to the Church of St. Flood.

Page 123~

Having established the plan unilaterally, without bargaining of any kind, they felt free to modify it at will. Above all, they felt free to keep the TV and radio money for themselves. This disturbed the players.


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Friday, June 24, 2016

Paperback 954: A Shilling For Candles / Josephine Tey (Great Pan G170)

Paperback 954: Great Pan G170 (1st ptg, 1958)

Title: A Shilling for Candles
Author: Josephine Tey
Cover artist: Peff

Estimated value: $15-20
Condition: 9/10

Best things about this cover:
  • OK, Britain, you wanted to go back in time, you love your precious currency ... here you go.
  • This cover is both very creative and very boring. Hard to get "dymanic" from three candle-heads.
  • Peff! 4 of 5 dentist recommend Peff for their patients who chew Peff. Peff!

Best things about this back cover:
  • Formatting. Come on, Britain. You guys have formattting, right? Spaces? Indentations? That stuff?
  • As if "by Horoscope" wasn't unscary enough—you put in inside marquee stars? Now DEATH just looks silly.
  • I'm sorry, "at the séance"? I feel like we missed a plot detail.

Page 123~

Sanger had made further enquiries from many people about that unsympathetic character, Herbert Gotobed.

I assume this is some kind of dream sequence.


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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Paperback 953: Spill the Jackpot / A.A. Fair (Dell R117)

Paperback 953: Dell R117 (1st thus, 1962)

Title: Spill the Jackpot
Author: A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 9.5/10

Best things about this cover:
  • So. Great. It's like a rogue's gallery of hot and shady '60s people.
  • Redhead's cigarette is freaking me out. Like some sixth finger that got horribly bent backwards.
  • Just genius to use the margins of the cover this way. The encroachment of text, to the point of total visual dominance, is of course one of the most lamentable trends in paperback history. This cover responds to that trend not by shrinking the art (which often happened) but by incorporating the text into the art, making the margins the place of real action. It's superior cover design.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Man, that "VEGAS" font is god-awful—totally out of sync, period-wise, with the cool-modern front cover.
  • Oh wow, that's a rake. I had to look at that visual element very closely to figure that out. This back cover is the Bizarro version of the front cover, i.e. it's Terribly designed.
  • "Jaded pleasure seekers"! I relate to these people. JPS4LIFE!

Page 123~

Somehow, looking at her, you felt she hadn't been to bed and that she wasn't accustomed to going to sleep before daylight.

Coincidentally, Vampire Weekend was playing on the radio when I typed this out.


P.S. I found this immaculate Detective Book Club offer card sleeping safely in the pages of this book.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Paperback 952: The American Gun Mystery / Ellery Queen (Avon 523)

Paperback 952: Avon 523 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: The American Gun Mystery
Author: Ellery Queen
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • So much emotion and drama in this one little tableau. It's really quite beautiful, even though I have no idea why a gorgeous blonde in an evening gown and opera gloves would be at the rodeo.
  • It's lit like a religious painting. Caravaggio or Rubens or someone. She's bathed in light, praying, pleading ... I mean, this is probably some generic shlock, but the cover makes it look complex and compelling.
  • Also ... sweet chaps.

Best things about this back cover:
  • This is far less compelling. What is the shape of those blocks supposed to represent? I see the belt and gun and lock, but the puzzle(ish) pieces ... aren't convincing. As puzzle pieces. I'm no jigsaw aficionado, but that top piece, for instance, seems impossible.
  • I don't like being invited to "solve" the puzzle, and I've never ever read a mystery with the idea that I was supposed to solve it. I realize that makes me slightly weird, as "mystery" fans / collectors go.
  • "Deadly Puzzle" is still bothering me. Who associates rodeo with jigsaw puzzles? What's more, in what universe is a jigsaw puzzle scary? Ooooh, deadly puzzle! I'm shaking.

Page 123~

He gulped down two raw eggs, a steaming pannikin of coffee, an excited regurgitation of the preceding evening's events issuing from Djuna's chattering mouth, and then dashed downtown to Times Square.

PANNIKIN SKYWALKER is my new user name.


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Friday, June 17, 2016

Paperback 951: Skin and Bones / Thorne Smith (Pocket Books 490)

Paperback 951: Pocket Books 490 (3rd ptg, 1948)

Title: Skin and Bones
Author: Thorne Smith
Cover artist (and illus.): [Herbert Roese]

Estimated value: $not a lot
Condition: 3/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Dang. I'm sure there's an innocent enough explanation for whatever is happening here, but for a late '40s cover, this is pretty ... saucy. It's like she's looking over her shoulder going, "Well, get on with it, then..." and he's trying to figure out how one removes these bloody stocking contraptions.
  • I love that when I was tagging this post, the category of "all fours" already existed.
  • Thorne Smith was a very big deal in the mid-century "humor" game.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Frankly, this sounds amazing.
  • "Hoarse, gamy laughter" is what I just emitted upon reading that phrase.
  • I never noticed that the kangaroo, in this incarnation of the Pocket Books logo, kinda looks like he (!?) has a giant book erection.

Page 123~

"Sure," said the drunken mortician, growing a little tired of the Rev. Watts.


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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Paperback 950: The Screaming Cargo / J.M. Flynn // The Bullet-Proof Martyr / James A. Howard (Ace Double F-130)

Paperback 950 (!): Ace Double F-130 (PBO / 1st ptg, 1962)

Title: The Screaming Cargo / The Bullet-Proof Martyr
Author: J.M. Flynn / James A. Howard
Cover artists: Uncredited / Uncredited

Estimated value: $10
Condition: 7/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Screaming babies in the cargo hold? Jeez. Grim.
  • Love the Telly Savalas-esque skyward-looking guy. "Who loves you, screaming babies?"
  • Cool font. Cool tie. Weird lambada-on-the-tarmac.

Best things about this other cover:
  • This looks like someone's intense hate-drawing diary. Ugly, dumb, red.
  • Why is the eye candy so tiny? The visual equivalent of burying the lede.
  • Her left arm is the dumbest thing I've seen in 950 paperbacks worth of posing. "How's that, baby? You like it when mama puts just one arm in her jacket? Yeah, you like it." What the hell?

Page 23~  (there are no p. 123s) (from The Screaming Cargo)

She was more girl than woman. She wore her hair in a pony tail—soft dark hair. She wore a too-tight blouse and short shorts, and she had a face that might've been innocent a few weeks earlier.

A few weeks earlier ... you know, before she took up knitting. Nobody comes back from that, man. Nobody.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Paperback 949: Play the Sin Field / Drew Deskins (Spartan Line SL134)

Paperback 949: Spartan Line SL134 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Play the Sin Field
Author: Drew Deskins
Cover artist: presumably

Estimated value: No idea. Somehow, I have TWO copies of this, and yet there are NO copies at abebooks. :(
Condition: 8/10

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • Holy crap, I only *just* realized that this is supposed to be a pun on the phrase, "play the infield." Before, I thought a. wow, they just threw the word SIN in to a perfectly good phrase and ruined it, how stupid, and b. wow, SIN is a really truly terrible pun for "out."
  • I love this woman. We should all be this confident. (i.e. confident enough to wear pasties that clash with our evening gloves).
  • Wanton nymphos are the best kind of nymphos. Them prim nymphos ain't no fun at all.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, the Insane Phrase Bookend blurb. I should create a tag for these things. They are a truly great part of American literary history. I assure you Hemingway could never have come up with "SIN GUESTS"; not in his whole, adulturous life.
  • P.S. "orgiastically"

Page 123~

"I want you to lay me right here and now," she said softly and he fell on her, his malehood jutting and pulsating, as he inched it within her eager body.

You'd think you'd be laughing too hard to properly masturbate to this stuff.


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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Paperback 948: Sin-Drome / Arthur A. Howe (Vega V-46)

Paperback 948: Vega Books V-46 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Sin-Drome
Author: Arthur A. Howe
Cover artist: that guy who did so many Vega / Fabian / Saber Books covers...

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Estimated value: $15-20
Condition: 6/10

Best things about this cover:
  • More awkward couch-posing. Great.
  • More awkward "Sin"-punning. Great.
  • Is "Dyserotic" a word?
  • Ew, his right hand. Imagine that touching you. Ew.
  • Suburban Insurance Salesman Vampires prefer the upper boob.
  • LOL at the discreetly bolded "other"

Best things about this back cover:
  • "The gun was the weapon which decided the balance of power in this situation." So sayeth SleazeNovelBot 5000.
  • Man, this is the worst. It's like every sub-"Walker Texas Ranger" crime show where the killer / bad guy decides to delay and orate just long enough for the hero to come along with a roundhouse.
  • I gotta say, the sexual sadism of the last part is kind of a new twist, though.
  • Speaking of sadism, I shudder to think what previous owners have done to this book. Are those cigarette burns?

Page 123~

"Oh God! He's dangerous, Juelle. If he catches on there's no telling what he'll do."

Don't be cruelle, Juelle, you fooelle.


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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Paperback 947: I Search For Sin-sation / Alvin Browne (Regal Novel 1138)

Paperback 947: Regal Novel 1138 (PBO, 1967)

Title: I Search For Sin-sation
Author: Alvin Browne
Cover artist: Uncredited, unheralded, unloved

Estimated value: $No Idea (lots)
Condition: 8/10

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • I haven't stopped laughing since I realized (about 30 seconds ago) that the title is "I Search for Sinsation" and not, as I genuinely thought it was, "I Search for Sin Station"—"Siri, where the fuck is Sin Station? I've been driving around this shitty neighborhood for hours! I'm going to miss my train! Reroute!"
  • What kind of giant leaf-based contraption is she wearing around her shoulders!?
  • What kind of shitty, wrinkled, ragged, no-backed couch is that?
  • She is moments from toppling over—mid leg-cross, her left (fear!) hand hoping to find leverage and support on non-existent couch arm.
  • Those shoes make no sense with that ensemble, and yet they are the least stupid thing on this cover.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, this rhetorical style (INSANE PHRASE ... gibberish ... INSANE PHRASE) is typical of many many sleaze paperback back covers of '60s.
  • I love the legalistic tone here. "Whereas the full bodied girl heretofore mentioned is in her rights pertaining to the first part of the second sex clause..."
  • "Bed-boredom!"
  • Let's get Physical (answer)!

Page 123~

Her breasts were basketballs hanging almost to her navel.

OK, I cheated, that's p. 122. But it begged to be quoted. Here's p. 123:

She would have sworm (sic!) there'd been straps on her now naked shoulders when they'd sat down. Her partner was bent down over her breasts. She dismissed her suspicions. No one could be that openly trampish.

There really aren't enough (sic!)s in the world. That typo ... it's not an outlier. Here's something from the opening (teaser) page of this novel:

He kissed her and cupped a breast in his hand she felt a quiver race through her. (sigh, sic)
"It's time we ment to bed," he said huskily. (Sickety sic)
She felt desire mounting within her loins.

And So Forth.


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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Paperback 946: The Book of Paradox / Louise Cooper (Dell 3343)

Paperback 946: Dell 3343 (1st ptg, 1975)

Title: The Book of Paradox
Author: Louise Cooper
Cover artist: Frank Frazetta

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $8-12

[Latest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • The Oracle foretold the coming of the one they call ... Glutemaster!
  • Man vs. Angel in the World Pose-Off of Love
  • No one did Subterranean Mystical Catacomb Beefcake like Frazetta.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "and now" is the biggest LOL line on this whole cover
  • LORD OF THE RINGS (... which is absolutely *nothing* like) LORD OF THE FLIES ... and now! ... LORD OF THE DANCE! Nope, sorry, misspoke. It's BOOK OF PARADOX! Feel the fantasy!
  • That's an astonishing array of words considering none of it means anything.

Page 123~

Varka shrugged. "Make of it what you will—but I am going to Limbo."

I believe this is the fantasy paperback equivalent of "Screw you guys, I'm going home."


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