Showing posts with label Sexy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sexy. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Slave Island

Author Simon Finch was born in Rio de Janeiro, where his father served in the Diplomatic Corps. Finch was educated abroad before attending university in England for studies in Classical History. His first three novels consist of the Vesuvio Trilogy, including Golden Voyager (1978), Pagan Voyager (1979), and Voyager in Bondage (1981). Avoiding any heavy lifting, I opted to try Finch's stand-alone novel Slave Island, which was originally published by Souvenir Press in 1983 as a hardcover, then later in 1984 in paperback by Pan with an amazing cover by Gino D'Achille.

The 300-page paperback begins in Boston with Billy Peake, a young English colonial, awaiting a shipment of Mexican silver to arrive on a convoy ship. However, the ship's captain and a local businessman named Easton conspired to swindle Peake out of the cargo. After convincing Billy to rut out all of his frustrations at the local whorehouse, the two get Billy drunk and throw him on a ship destined for Africa's slave coast. Two days later Billy awakens to find himself in bondage. 

Arriving in Africa, Billy is placed into caged slavery and forced to mate with a young white woman named Jenny. At first Billy refuses, but as time marches on the two do the wild monkey dance and get it on. Then, the two are forced to walk with a parade of slaves across the continent to an island north of Madagascar named Slave Island. It's a prison dedicated “for the worst Arabian, Turk, and European scum, a Tower of Babel in the ocean for more sinner than saints.”

I know what you're thinking – this sounds awesome! A wild adventure ripe with jungle savagery, the inevitable fight to the death on an island prison, nautical battles, and a revenge plot as Billy fights his way to freedom in the Hellish heat of Slave Island. Well, scratch all the excitement off that excursion list. This literary cruise is headed to a penis extravaganza led by a phallus-obsessed captain named Simon Finch.

I mentioned the page count earlier. Out of those 300 pages, approximately 200 is dedicated to just straight, plain 'ole porno. I'm fairly certain Finch is making up for something because nearly every word is “phallus”, “penis”, “meat”, “sheathed manhood”, “prick”, “throbbing member”, “shaft” or just “dick”. I thought author Dan Streib was fascinated with genitalia, but he's no stiff competition for Finch. This dude is dialed into dick in a big boner way. 

Look, Savage Island is mostly what I would consider a plantation novel or a slave gothic. Lots of African American men being sold into slavery and forced into wild sexual encounters with lonely white women. If that's your thing, you may dig this. There's also plenty of cathouse antics, tons of rape, and some wild (I mean wild!) stuff with dicks being sliced off and stuffed with sand and then being placed on sticks to...well you get it. Maybe 100 hundred pages is the rough and tumble adventure stuff, which is where I like it, and I mostly just skipped all the graphic sex. If you like the plantation stuff, Slave Island is probably a must. There's nothing particularly discouraging about Finch's writing other than his unhealthy fixation on dick. I'm not reading a word of the author's other stuff and will count Slave Island as a one-time sentence. I'm sure I'll never be a repeat offender.

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Change Partners

Celebrated jazz musician Charles Boeckman (1920-2015) authored crime-fiction novels, westerns, and short stories for the pulps and digests in the mid 20th century. Using the pseudonym Alex Carter, Boeckman authored racy sleaze novels for Beacon Books. I read, enjoyed, and reviewed two of these novels, Boy-Lover (1963) and Traded Wives (1964). I thought I would try another one, Change Partners, originally published in 1963.

In 1960, Ernest Evans, known as the famous singer and dancer Chubby Checker, released a cover of Hank Ballard's song “The Twist”. The song, and Checker's dance move, lit up the club floors and had incredible success on radio. But, “The Twist” dance was considered pretty provocative for 1960. 

In Change Partners, Les Kennedy arrives home from his photography studio to find his suburban housewife Vicki doing the Twist dance in his living room. The way her hips and buttocks twist and shake puts Les into an immediate sexual surrender. After the two make love, they agree to head to the local country club to dance the night away. It is here that Les gets drunk and Vicki gyrates with a used car salesman. Spotting his wife's sexy dance moves on the floor with a stranger, Les makes a club spectacle by dragging her to the car and back home. Things aren't looking good for the Kennedys.

Pretty soon, the club incident spills over into marital disharmony when Vicki begins an affair with the used car salesman from the dance. In retaliation – you know where this is going by the title – Les strikes up an affair with the couple's friend and dance instructor Sybil. The married couple's sexual encounters with other people makes up the bulk of the narrative.

Before you start thinking this story seems tepid and dull, let me remind you that this sort of novel isn't a far stretch from what Gil Brewer and Orrie Hitt were doing with their own sexy crime-fiction. Arguably, those authors created crime stories with the real focus being the tumultuous affairs and sexy flirting to propel the plot. Boeckman is just missing the crime element in his books, but to be clear there is a crime committed in Change Partners that provokes some jail time for the main character. But, it isn't anything exceptional. Instead, the author pursues the hot chemistry and sex (never graphic) that the characters experience as their marriage deteriorates. The emotional baggage, insecurities, guilt, and motivation to adultery is what makes the narrative twist and turn to the literary music.

Like Boy-Lover and Traded Wives, Boeckman pens another gem with this portrait of suburban marital Hell. If you enjoy the riches-to-rags fall from grace noir that stems from crime-fiction, then you'll love this book. Recommended.

Buy a copy of this book HERE. 

Monday, July 24, 2023

John Adam - Samurai

British author Christopher Wood (1935-2015) is best known for his erotic novel and film series titled Confessions. James Bond fans may recall that Wood authored two film novelizations in the series, The Spy Who Loved Me (with Richard Maibaum) and Moonraker. Wood has always had a penchant to incorporate Asian settings into his novels, like Seven Nights in Japan and Taiwan. My first experience with the author is the first of two historical men's action-adventure paperbacks starring John Adam.

John Adam – Samurai (1971) is set in the year 1600 and stars John Adam, a 20-year old guy running from the law in Plymouth, England. Like a lot of these international, historical-adventure novels, Adam ends up on a ship under the flag of the East India Company. After stops in India and Java, Adam and his shipmates are overtaken by pirates and is sunk just off the coast of Japan. Adam is the only survivor.

After a few chapters that serve as an introduction to this era of Japan, Adam befriends a Samurai warrior named Kushoni. Adam learns that his ship, which was carrying muskets, was attacked by pirates that were hired by Kushoni's master. These muskets were going to be used to defend Kushoni's people from an aggressively barbaric neighboring clan. But, the pirates double-crossed Kushoni's people and now what's left of the muskets are now in the hands of the evil neighbors. You following all of this? It's really simple – Kushoni and Adam are good guys and represent good people. Everyone else can go to Hell.

The rest of the book plays out with Kushoni showing Adam a thing or two about swords. Adam also screws a lot of Japanese bath servants in graphic sex scenes while simultaneously falling in love, sort of, with a Japanese woman named Somi. But, there's a ton of action as Kushoni beheads, pierces, spears, disembowels, and savagely guts endless hordes of bad guys. There are also some torture sequences that were a little hard to...um...digest. 

Overall, this book was just bonkers, but not in a bad way. I would probably never read it again, but would consider reading the book's sequel, John Adam in Eden. It's just that Wood is such a quirky writer with some of the oddest descriptions considering this really should be a sweeping, historical novel with a little class. Instead, you have things like “quieter than a church fart” and endless religious orgies. It was just so bizarre, but like a good car wreck, I couldn't wrestle my eyes off the pages. Your mileage may vary, but this isn't a terrible way to waste a half-day. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Brother and Sister

Do you remember the Don Pendleton series The Executioner? Of course you do, don't be ridiculous. Even a perfect stranger completely alienated from men's action-adventure literature will know who Mack Bolan is. Probably. Anyhow, in the debut of that series, War Against the Mafia, Mack Bolan is in the U.S. military and serving in Vietnam. He receives a letter from home advising him that his parents are dead. So, he comes home and starts banging on mobsters. 

But, if there was a PornHub take on War Against the Mafia, say 17 years before Mack Bolan and 30 years before the internet, it could have a U.S. military serviceman receiving a letter from home telling him that his parents are dead. So, he goes home and starts banging his sister. That's the introduction of Brother and Sister, a Monarch paperback original from 1961 authored by Edwin West, who is none other than the famous Donald Westlake who uses the name Richard Stark to pen the Parker series, the best heist books of all-time. 

Seventeen year old Angie's child-body has developed into voluptuous womanhood. So, she's consistently fighting off the sex-starved Bob by the dim light of the dashboard radio every Friday night. But, she's finally had enough lip-puckering and wants to totally take a low blow. So, she informs heavy-handed Bob that her parents are gone and if he can slip in and out really fast, they can successfully liberate her body from its virgin prison. But, when Bob pulls into Angie's driveway, all of the house lights are on and an old aunt is in the doorway. Angie learns that her parents have both died in a horrible car wreck. Bob's receipt of the news is equally devastating, but in a different way. 

Paul is twenty-one and an Airman Second Class in the United States Air Force. After bedding down a young woman in Germany, he marries her and they both live happily ever after for four consecutive months. But, one day Paul arrives home early and finds his wife serving as a blow-up doll for a another hump-happy Airman (see what I did there?). Paul divorces his slut of a wife, and after a few months receives the devastating news that his parents have died in a car wreck. The only thing he can think of is his little sister Angie. He has to come home quick.

After the funeral, Paul and Angie decide to just live together in their childhood suburban home. When Bob comes over to provide Angie physical therapy to mourn, Paul punches his lights out and sends him packing. After a few days, Paul begins to think of Angie in a different way. Angie begins to substitute Paul for Bob in her own mind. Before you know it, Paul and Angie are doing the nasty and pretending like they are married. It's a lot of incest. I mean a lot.

Thankfully, Westlake throws in a bit of crime-fiction when Paul and Angie's devious uncle appears to claim the house as his through a series of neglected loan payments. Apparently holing up in your dead parents' house committing acts of incest does come with a price. There's a mortgage payment and bills to screw with too. Ultimately, the book's second-half is like a countdown to madness as Paul and Angie begin to question their own sanity. The book's closing pages will be stuck in my mind forever. It was such a wild, crazy romp to the finish with a climax that borders on dark psychological horror. 

Despite how you feel about incest (hopefully we aren't bipartisan on this), Brother and Sister was a thrill to read. Westlake is a masterful storyteller, and even when he wasn't writing crime-fiction, he could stir the emotional suspense. If you love Westlake, this is an easy recommendation. But, if you just want a wild and crazy leap into a PG-13 level sexcapade (nothing graphic here), Brother and Sister is the way to do it.

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Gutter Road

Many authors have shied away from their early work in the sleaze/soft-core paperback market, but science-fiction royalty Robert Silverberg has made peace with his checkered past allowing Stark House Press to reprint his steamy crime-fiction-adjacent works. The latest vintage reprint is a double, including his 1964 novel Gutter Road, originally released under his Don Elliott pseudonym.

The paperback begins with 38 year-old, married accountant Fred Bauman picking up a stacked female hitchhiker (Reviewer Note: Silverberg is totally a breast man). The young babe is Joanne, and she strikes Fred as a sex-positive kinda gal with an aggressively flirtatious streak. In fact, she teases Fred into such a sexual lather that he forces himself upon her in what we’d call a date-rape by today’s standards.

After their car-bang is fully consummated, Joanne shifts gears and blackmails Fred. She wants $5,000 or she’s going to the cops with a load of his DNA to report his suburban ass for sexual assault. She gives him a couple days to pull the money together before disappearing into the night.

We quickly learn that this isn’t Joanne's first rodeo. In fact, the date-rape-blackmail game is her go-to source of income. Previously, she worked as a prostitute and a dominatrix, but the fake-rape business just pays better. She also has a vibrant, consensual sex life with a hoodlum named Buddy, and Silverberg certainly knows his way around a good 1960s-style sex scene.

There are a handful of side characters and family members in the novel, and Silverberg gives us a peek into each of their secret sex lives. Some of this felt like filler, but it was always well written and compelling. The problem with Gutter Road is that there’s not much of a story arc throughout the novel other than the beginning and the resolution. Otherwise, it’s really just a cycle of sex scenes among the cast of dysfunctional characters.

I will add that the last part of the book finally becomes a crime novel once Fred decides to deal with the problem of Joanne the blackmailer head-on. The climactic sequences are pretty great and in total keeping with the dark, violent, twisty conclusions of the best Manhunt stories from the same era.

Overall, I enjoyed Gutter Road. It was an interesting glimpse into societal norms and taboos from 60 years ago. Even with his early sex books, Silverberg could deliver interesting characters and some damn fine prose with a violent conclusion. I’m glad he and Stark House are making these old novels available.

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Motel Trap

The book is called Motel Trap, with a blurb suggesting its contents are prostitutes, pimps, and sex elements. But, the whole “motel” thing happens on page 147 of 155 pages. You might ask what the first 147 pages of the book are about, right? Try this on for size – its about the pantyhose industry. 

Motel Trap is essentially an episode of Mad Men as protagonist Dave Shelton wheels and deals his company's silk pantyhose to retail chains hoping to reverse the company's downward spiral. The narrative focuses on marketing ideas, photo shoots, women's catalogs, etc. Not exactly provocative or riveting reading.

Western novelist Lee Floren, who authored Motel Trap under one of his many pseudonyms, Matt Harding, was well outside of his element to tackle softcore, sleazy romance titles. This novel was published by Beacon in 1962, a company that was notorious for hundreds of romance paperbacks, each with gaudy blurbs like, “Her office was a motel room!” 

Kudos to Floren for at least attempting to write a serious novel, like Beacon's own Charles Boeckman, who was writing the same type of books for the publisher as Alex Carter. But, unlike Boeckman, Floren's novel is predictable, penned in a pedestrian style that doesn't captivate the reader. 

While its not a Hall of Shame candidate, Motel Trap is certainly lodging in the vicinity. Unless you are collecting this stuff, with “artist unknown” cover art, then for God's sake just stay away. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Traded Wives

Celebrated jazz musician and author Charles Boeckman authored crime-fiction short stories and novels using his own name through the mid 20th century. However, using the pseudonym of Alex Carter, he authored racy, sexually-charged romance paperbacks for publishing houses like Beacon. I've enjoyed his writing, especially his Alex Carter novel Boy-Lover (1963). I recently purchased another Carter novel, Traded Wives. The book was published in both the US and Canada simultaneously in 1964. The American version was published through Beacon (8711X, cover artist unknown). The Canadian version by Softcover Library (S95157) recycled Clement Micarelli's painting from Orrie Hitt's 1962 novel Love Thief.

The novel presents three couples and a single woman living in a new housing community called Garden Acres. Each of the couples is struggling in various ways that revolve around intimacy. Boeckman depicts each marriage through revolving chapters that explain each character's backstory, the evolution into marriage, and the physical wants, desires, and jealous rage within this sexual suburbia. 

Debbie and Bobby have just moved into Garden Acres after graduating from high school and becoming pregnant. Their parents are wealthy, respectable contributors to the community that can't afford any negative influences. They immediately force the two kids to become married and quickly convert the couple into expecting, stereotypical middle-class suburbanites. The problem is that Bobby is still running around with the town's young hotties and Debbie isn't thrilled to be settling down after bedding down the senior class's male students. That's a real problem.

Charles is an alcohol distributor and sales rep that travels the back roads of America selling booze. He smokes cigars, drives a Cadillac, and has a loud-mouth that mostly spews dirty jokes. After meeting backwoods country girl (and virgin) Barbara Lee, he talks her into marriage and they quickly move into  the thriving sexual landscape of Garden Acres. Barbara Lee wants to pursue a college education and learn more about the modern world. After conquering Barbara Lee, Charles sets his eyes on his neighbor Cheryl. 

Tony is a white-collar guy living the American dream – playing golf on the weekends, mowing green grass, and relaxing in the shade with his newlywed wife Cheryl. The problem is that Cheryl isn't into sex, thus creating a physical barrier between the two. Tony is sexually frustrated with Cheryl and she is equally angered with his insistence on intimacy. 

Boeckman was just such a great storyteller of these noir novels. Despite the titles and covers, these novels aren't any different from a Nora Roberts novel today. There are no graphic sex scenes or much (if any) profanity. In cinematic ratings, these are probably PG-13. But, that doesn't make them any less intriguing or enjoyable. 

The story-lines are detailed with plot and character development that's simply superb. The narrative thrusts these unhappy couples into a wild mix of sex, fantasy, and appeasement. Debbie with Tony and Bobby, Cheryl with Tony, Charles with Cheryl, and Bobby with a divorced, sexually starved woman named April. It's a mingling of affairs and it's fantastic. I also enjoyed the “crime-noir” aspect of Tony, Charles, and Cheryl's love-triangle. It becomes violent and engaging and is probably the real highlight of the novel. The end result is that Traded Wives is highly, highly recommended. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Nude in the Sand

The 1950s and 1960s publishing industry experienced a trend of authors and readers embracing swamp-noir, a concept that features the average man being tempted by a seductress in the backwoods of a rural southern town. Charles Williams and Harry Whittington both excelled in this type of storytelling, which led countless other low to mid-echelon authors to try their hand. Louisiana author and WW2 veteran John Burton Thompson (1911-1994) authored these types of novels. As expensive collectors items now, these vintage paperbacks demand a hefty dollar. 

Thankfully, Cutting Edge Books have gained the rights to Thompson's literary work and have made a number of his novels into new editions for an affordable price. After enjoying his 1962 novels Kiss or Kill and Swamp Nymph, I decided to take another swig with Nude in the Sand. It was originally published by Beacon in 1959. 

The most entertaining aspect of Nude in the Sand is that there isn't a main character. Instead, Thompson uses the novel to tell many different stories about the backwoods shenanigans of several different characters that have merely six degrees of separation. By the book's end it all wraps together cohesively in a satisfying conclusion that crosses these mini-stories over (and under) each other. 

Lecia is a 20 year old vixen living with her mother on a run-down farm. Hope and aspiration are shooting stars rarely glimpsed and never caught. In a bid for money, Lecia's mother sells her off to a wealthy man named Alex who takes the two to his sprawling estate. Lecia is destined to be the despondent, pregnant housewife pushing out babies to create Alex's dynasty. The problem is that Lecia despises Alex due to his violent sexual craving and his affairs with a black slave.

Across the fields is Abe, a retired wealthy man of nobility that has a young black lover named Charline. Readers learn Abe's history with Charline, how he funded her college education, cared for her needs, and is now secretly engaged in a relationship with her. Abe and Charline frequent a hunting cabin where the two intimately share their love. But, Abe understands the age difference and the fact that the town will be thrown in a violent upheaval if their interracial love affair were to be exposed. 

Abe's nephew Merrit is a college graduate and artist that hasn't quite found his footing yet. Abe allows Merrit to live on his estate and find himself. Instead, Merrit finds an imprint in the sand made by the nude Lecia. Over time, Merrit becomes obsessed with the imprints and starts to make a bronze statue of this unknown woman. Lecia doesn't realize that her daily visits to this jungle swimming hole are being captured by the imprints she makes in the sand. Eventually, Merrit and Lecia learn of one another and are connected through Abe. When Lecia's husband Alex begins making moves on Charline, the narrative becomes more complex and enticing – Abe vs Alex over Charline. Merrit lusting for Lecia despite her marriage to Alex. There's also another side story of a male slave that hates Alex for raping other slaves. 

With this many moving parts, it would be hard for any author to excel at all of these concepts and designs. But, Thompson is such a great writer and purposefully develops this plot into a burning bed of affairs, relationships, violence, and raging sex. The novel certainly possesses enough tropes to make it a swamp-noir, but at the same time it also works as a plantation novel, or what some refer to as a “slave gothic”. Alex's violent encounters with the strong, more domineering slave named Bruce makes for a humorous, albeit savage, thread in the story's web of self-pursuit and sexual gratification. Abe's relationship with Charline is nurturing, but is laced with strong dialogue that reflects the civil unrest of a country at war with itself in the mid 20th century. 

Nude in the Sand is a riveting, hot-blooded account of sexual affairs running rampant in the Deep South. With colorful characters and multi-faceted, interlocking storylines, John B. Thompson creates a whirlwind suspenseful romance novel ripe with violence and racial unrest. Fans of Charles Williams, Harry Whittington, and Erskine Caldwell should find plenty to like. Recommended. 

Buy a copy of the book HERE.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Boy-Lover

Charles Boeckman (1920-2015), a celebrated jazz musician, authored short stories for the pulps and digests through the mid 20th century. He also wrote paperbacks including mystery, western and suspense. In his autobiography, Pulp Jazz: The Charles Boeckman Story, Boeckman elaborates on the name Alex Carter, a pseudonym that he used to author a number of racy romance novels. In the book, he says he didn't want readers to connect these novels directly to him. He learned of Robert Turner, an author for the publisher Beacon, spending a night in jail for writing “pornography.” He didn't want to experience the same fate. It's a real shame that readers couldn't connect Boy-Lover to Boeckman considering its quality. It was published by Beacon in 1963 with a painted cover by Clement Micarelli.

Babs is in her late 20s, has a ravenous sexual appetite, and is mired in the suburbs with her tired, complacent husband Art. Instead of providing Babs hours of ecstasy, Art's idea of a good time is hosting tame neighborhood parties, discussing mechanical issues concerning  the couple's car, or just sleeping like a log. Babs is craving the sins of the flesh and has horny housewife eyes on a young mechanic named Jack.

Jack recently graduated high school and is now working at the local garage. When he delivers Bab's repaired car to her house, he is shocked to find her sunbathing in the nude while Art is at work. Babs slaps the seduction on thick as the experience increases from lemonade to dancing to bedroom antics as Jack loses his virginity to this gorgeous married woman in grand style. But, as you can imagine, Babs and Jack aren't fulfilled with just one encounter. Soon, they are sneaking out to do the nasty in abandoned parking lots, the closed mechanic's shop, and eventually into an apartment outside of town. It's here that Babs and Jack are shocked when their affair is revealed.

Boy-Lover isn't explicit by any stretch of the imagination. It's all PG-13 if it was released today. Boeckman's novel works exceptionally well as a character study – Jack as the inexperienced youth experiencing an accelerated maturity and Babs as the frustrated housewife that feels no purpose. The two need something from each other, but it isn't an emotional connection. Their responses to changes in their lives is met by sex – simply sex, nothing more and nothing less.

Boeckman takes readers through the rocky relationship that Jack and Babs feel. We feel Jack's frustration as a mechanic in a new town - the low wages, the impending poverty, the scorching cement – and sympathize. In many ways, this 1963 glimpse at the lower-class hasn't changed. It's timeless as these problems are eternal for generations of Americans. Jack contemplates the money left over on payday and has to decide if his last savings should be spent on a movie and popcorn. Alternatively, the upper middle-class Babs realizes what blue-collar money is worth. She is used to expensive cars, fine dining, and the ability to shop for high-quality wine and clothes. She faces a new awakening under Jack's small, but hard-earned, salary.

Boy-Lover is way better than it ever has a right to be. The cover is gorgeous, but it doesn't do the author or the publisher any real justice. This is just a fantastic novel that makes you feel a responsibility to the characters. On the last page I felt the impact of these two lovers and the impromptu life they led. I felt their emotional connection, their financial struggle, and the challenges they faced in an unconventional relationship. In a way, this is Boeckman's take on youth, the end of innocence, and the daunting threat of impending adulthood. I really enjoyed it and I think you will too. Recommended! 

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Tokey Wedge #01 - Nympho Lodge

Jack Lynn was a pen name for a writer named Max Van DerVeer who authored 22 books starring a diminutive private eye named Tokey Wedge between the years 1959 and 1965. A new reprint house called Grizzly Pulp is reprinting the Tokey Wedge books as mass-market paperbacks printed on wood pulp paper beginning with the first installment, Nympho Lodge - originally published in 1959 by Novel Books.

The Tokey Wedge paperbacks are light-hearted - yet hardboiled - private detective stories that don’t take themselves too seriously. Tokey himself is 5’6” and 140 pounds. His narration and the plotting reminds me of Richard Prather’s Shell Scott books. In this case, Tokey is hired as a bodyguard for a wealthy woman named Janice going through an ugly divorce and receiving cryptic threatening letters. The splitting couple both live at a resort they co-own called The Wagon Wheel. Tokey moves into the resort, so he can be closer to his client and determine who, if anyone, is trying to kill her.

At the lodge, we quickly meet the Nymphos. To be fair, it not clear that any of them have been clinically diagnosed with nymphomania, but every woman Tokey encounters at the lodge is beautiful, stacked, and hot to trot. By 2020 standards, the novel has some retrograde attitudes toward women as sex objects. However, the book is pure escapist fiction from 1959, so no actual women were objectified in it’s creation. You should know by now if this is your thing or not. The paperback is sexier than most 1959 crime novels but nowhere close to graphic or explicit by today’s standards.

Amid the flirty hijinks and sexual innuendos, there is a decent mystery to be solved at Nympho Lodge, and Tokey proves himself to be a competent, funny, and tough private detective. At times, it felt like a dirty Agatha Christie book with a finite number of people in a lodge getting killed off one by one while our intrepid investigator gets laid and solves the mystery. For comparison purposes, I enjoyed spending 174 big-font pages with Tokey Wedge far more than I’ve ever liked a Shell Scott paperback. Nympho Lodge isn’t a mystery masterpiece, but it’s definitely a lot of sexy fun.

Grizzly Pulp did a marvelous job packaging the physical product of this paperback. The pulp paper is soft and readable. The novel comes with a removable black cover masking the lusty sleaze art, so you can read on a crowded city bus without inviting the side-eye from squares. My only criticism is that there were lots of line-break errors in the text and several other typos. It was nothing that stopped me from enjoying the story, but the Grizzly Pulp proofreader shouldn’t rely on optical character recognition programs to do all the work.

Mostly, I’m thrilled that an enterprising, grassroots publisher has brought Tokey Wedge back to life. This is a fun series that deserves a second chance at building a readership. Recommended.

Buy a copy HERE

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Swamp Nymph

Swamp noir was a popular American sub-genre of the 1950s and 1960s born from the idea that the rural backwoods was teeming with sexy, duplicitous babes seeking to take advantage of city slickers who crossed their paths. In 1962, sleaze-fiction maven John Burton Thompson (1911-1994) got into the act with Swamp Nymph, a short novel that has recently been reprinted by Cutting Edge Books

Charles Carraway III is a 30 year-old wealthy scion of a chemical company who just caught his wife showering with her tennis partner in his mansion filled with servants. He responds in kind by forming a sexual relationship with his Swedish maid - a coupling that, for various reasons, can never be more than a fling. To escape all the problems of the world, he heads south to Louisiana in his private plane for a much-needed vacation. 

The Swamp Nymph in question isn’t introduced until well into the paperback. Her name is Shayne, and she’s a 19 year-old beguiling beauty living near the Amite River in rural Louisiana. She was sexually assaulted at a young age and has avoided the company of men ever since despite a desire for love and intimacy. Thompson does a nice job of making Shayne sympathetic and attractive to male readers who will want to rescue this girl from her own past. 

For nearly the whole novel, the plot toggles between the Charles story and the Shayne story. The book is really not about their romance because they don’t even meet until 85% into the novel. The entire plot is just a series of life events and romantic near-misses that eventually bring them to the same swamp community at the same time. 

It’s hard to tell from the cover of these swamp paperbacks if a particular book is a crime-noir novel in disguise (like Harry Whittington’s Backwoods Tramp) or just a standard soft-core sex story. Swamp Nymph is definitely not a crime novel, and the sex scenes are so tepid that they’d hardly raise an eyebrow today. It’s really the story of When Charles Met Shayne and it takes a pretty basic, rather lengthy and mostly unremarkable route to get there. 

Thompson was a better writer than his genre deserved, but his plotting in Swamp Nymph was a slow road to nowhere. I didn’t hate the book, but life is short. You deserve to be reading better books than this one.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Friday, April 24, 2020

Ex-Con (aka Free are the Dead)

Stuart Friedman (1913-1993) was a multi-genre author of the mid-20th century whose books often promised wild and abandoned sexuality but were, in reality, rather tame affairs. Many of his titles have found new life as modern reprints including his 1954 crime fiction novel, Ex-Con (original title: Free are the Dead), now available as a $3 ebook or $10 paperback from Wildside Press.

As the paperback opens, Charles Garrell is bummed that his devoted wife isn’t there to meet his train upon his arrival home. Charles has spent over three years in prison for a liquor store robbery motivated by extreme poverty, and Nora promised that she’d be there for him upon his release. He walks to their low-rent apartment to find Nora missing, but the table set for a welcome home meal. A thorough search of the place reveals no sign or Nora, but an inconveniently-placed corpse of a man in the bedroom closet. So much for a romantic homecoming.

The cops who locked up Charles for the robbery are hyper-aggressive and don’t take kindly to parolees in their town. As such, turning to the police for help on the missing wife problem or the dead guy in the closet problem is out of the question. Instead, he turns to underworld contacts he met during his stay in prison.

At a crooked casino run by a con-man, Charles runs into his wife’s Neitzsche-loving cousin-in-law, Sylvia. Because this is a Stuart Friedman novel, she’s also an S&M nymphomaniac with an eye on Charles, but he feels nothing but revulsion for her. She claims to know something about Nora’s disappearance, and the price for her help is sex. Meanwhile, Charles feels the need to pursue logical leads to find his missing bride and resolve the small issue of the dead corpse decomposing in his closet at home. The trajectory of the relationship between Charles and Sylvia was bizarre and not completely credible.

Charles also meets a hot little cocktail waitress named Cleo with an eye on Charles. Having been locked up for three years, Charles is understandably starved for a woman, and sweet Cleo is hot to trot. She’s presented as a kindhearted seductress without an agenda - completely the opposite of Sylvia. The quandary of Sexy Cleo vs. Missing Wife was set-up to be the central moral dilemma Charles must navigate while also solving the novel’s vexing mysteries. However, not much came of it. 

The search for Nora and the truth about the murdered man in the closet was pretty satisfying, but the ultimate solution left me cold. Can you enjoy a sexy mystery and dislike the punch line? If so, then you might enjoy Con-Man. It was a nice ride, but the destination just wasn’t to my taste.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Murder Money

New Yorker Jay Bennett (1912-2009) primarily made a living writing scripts for radio serial adventures starring Bulldog Drummond and early television programs such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents. As an author, many of his mystery books were geared toward a juvenile audience - a niche that won him back-to-back Edgar awards in 1974 and 1975. He only wrote three books geared toward adults, including the 1963 Fawcett Crest paperback, “Murder Money.” The short novel has been reprinted by Wildside Press as an ebook and paperback.

Eddie Doran is a washed-up boxer, over-the-hill at age 35. After fighting for 20 years, Eddie’s career is over with nothing to show for it. He wanders the streets of the city depressed in a manner reminiscent of the losers populating the fictional world of author Davis Goodis from the same era. A confrontation and mix-up between Eddie and a stranger attempting to enter a taxicab at the same time finds Eddie in possession of the stranger’s briefcase. Inside the case? $100,000 cash.

The problem with finding $100,000 cash is that the owners often want the money back, and sometimes those owners aren’t honorable fellows. Eddie knows this and enlists his boxing manager Al to help him get away with the dough in exchange for half the loot. Nervous about staying in New York, the pair hop on a plane to Miami accompanied by Al’s alluring girlfriend, Laura.

Eddie is scared to death, and Laura ads some spice to the plot by repeatedly trying to seduce Eddie behind Al’s back. That’s not a good recipe for a larcenous partnership. Meanwhile, another woman from Eddie’s past resurfaces into his life while he’s laying low in Miami. Coincidence? The action and twists progress at a nice pace until the bloody climax in the Florida Keys where the truth is laid bare and the cash finds a home.

“Murder Money” is a simple novel drawing on a plot template that’s been done dozens of times. Despite the tired set-up, the book really works because Bennett was a solid author who understood pacing, raw emotions and narrative tension. “Murder Money” (awful title, by the way) is a sexy, violent and twisty ride. Recommended.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Saturday, March 21, 2020

7 Deadly Sinners

Between 1959 and 1961, Charles E. Fritch (1927-2012) wrote a quasi-series of five private eye paperbacks in which the main character’s name changed regularly as well as the pseudonyms used by Fritch when publishing the novels. In various installments, the protagonist’s name was Mark Wonder, Christopher Sly, or Nicholas Gamble while the author names were Charles Fritch, Christopher Sly, Eric Thomas, and Christopher Brockden. It’s a mess to understand and unsurprising that the books never took off commercially. The series order, heroes, pseudonyms and publishers are all hashed out below in the addendum to this review.

The fourth book in the series (although they can be read in any order) is “7 Deadly Sinners” by Christopher Sly, starring private detective Christopher Sly from 1961. The novel is currently available as a trade paperback reprint from Wildside Press restoring Charles Fritch’s own name as the author. Fritch went on to have a successful career as the editor of 'Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine'.

Christopher Sly (the character, not the pseudonym) is a wisecracking Hollywood private eye with an assignment any red-blooded man would relish: he needs to guard seven starlets for a local movie studio to ensure they stay out of trouble before a publicity tour. The catch is that one of the seven beauties was a girlfriend of a deported mafioso. The syndicate wants to find her to ensure she remains silent forever about what she knows. The problem is that nobody knows which of the seven ladies is the girlfriend.

While Sly’s overt assignment is to keep all seven women alive, his secret mission is to identify the mobster’s ex-girlfriend. His only clue to get this done is the knowledge that she has a diamond-shaped birthmark down near her lady-parts. Yes, you read that right. Sly’s needs to discreetly examine each of the seven to determine which woman is the mob’s target and take extra care to keep her alive thereafter. His preferred method is seduction, but other opportunities arise as well. Okay, I’ll grant you that this is a stupid and contrived premise, but it’s basically a lighthearted sex-romp mystery in the same manner as a thin 'Carter Brown' or 'Shell Scott' novel.

This is a very horny paperback with a fair amount of sexually explicit content. We get lots of moaning animal sounds, heaving breasts, and expectant thighs, but the descriptors seldom take it to the next level. The sex scenes - and there are quite a few - are more graphic than a Shell Scott book but less explicit than a 'Longarm' Western. The original publisher, Athena Publications, was a sleaze fiction paperback house that pushed the limits far more than the Ace Double housing Fritch’s 1959 private eye novel, “Negative of a Nude.”

The twisty solution to the paperback’s central mystery is so painfully obvious that any reader will see it coming from a mile away. The ending was also abrupt as if Fritch hit his contractual word count and just stopped writing. Despite its simplicity, “7 Deadly Sinners” was a mostly fun, low-impact read. Only you can decide if the $8.49 price tag for the paperback reprint is worth the cost of this mindless diversion. Paying much more for a bawdy murder mystery really would be a crime.

Addendum: Charles Fritch’s P.I. Series Chronology

- Negative of a Nude by Charles Fritch (1959), Ace Double starring P.I. Mark Wonder

- Strip For Murder by Eric Thomas (1960), Kozy Books starring P.I. Christopher Sly

- Psycho Sinner by Eric Thomas (1961), Athena Books starring P.I. Mark Wonder

- 7 Deadly Sinners by Christopher Sly (1961), Athena Books starring P.I. Christopher Sly

- Fury in Black Lace by Charles Brockden (1962), Carousel Books starring P.I. Nicholas Gamble

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Vengeful Virgin

With over 30 novels in a career that spanned 1951-1970, WW2 veteran Gil Brewer is considered a cornerstone of crime-fiction. His mid-era novel, “The Vengeful Virgin”, was originally published by Fawcett’s Crest imprint in 1958. Cited as one of Brewer's strongest works, Hard Case Crime reprinted the novel in 2006 with new cover art.

Jack Ruxton is a young owner/operator of a floundering television retail and repair shop. His life drastically changes the day he meets Shirley Angela, a primary caregiver for an elderly invalid named Victor. In a combination of desperation and hot-blooded lust, Shirley asks Jack to assist her in killing Victor. The payoff? About $300,000 that's been promised to Shirley in the event of Victor's passing. With a tumultuous tuition, Jack's life becomes an education on sex, greed, jealousy and murder. Does he make the grade?

With “The Vengeful Virgin”, Gil Brewer may have hit his high-water mark. The story's placement on Florida’s Gulf Coast parallels the author's own residence in sunny St. Petersburg. Like his contemporaries in Dan Marlowe, Day Keene and John D. MacDonald, Brewer makes use of a crime-fiction staple: the Florida waterfront cabin. It's here where the book reaches its violent crescendo, the crossroads of regret and guilt through the murky haze of hard liquor. Brewer's tale incorporates all of the genre tropes but still remains remarkably engaging and timeless. The paperback showcases the downward spiral of a man's ruin, lovers on the run and the inescapable, ever-consuming law enforcement dragnet.

In its utter simplicity, “The Vengeful Virgin” is a riveting masterpiece and should not be missed. It’s absolutely essential reading for fans of the genre.

Purchase a copy HERE

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Kiss or Kill

Between 1950 and 1969, Louisiana native and WW2 veteran John Burton Thompson (1911-1994) authored and sold around 75 books. His paperbacks were considered to be so racy at the time that NYPD raided city bookstores and seized over a thousand copies of paperbacks written by Thompson and others. Thereafter, much of his writing was done using pseudonyms to remain marketable to skittish booksellers. By today’s cultural standards, the sex in Thompson’s work wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, and Lee Goldberg’s new publishing imprint, Cutting Edge Books recently put that to the test by reintroducing Thompson’s 1962 paperback “Kiss or Kill” back into print.

Our narrator is Jack McKnight looking back on his adolescent years when he was raised by his evil mother and his wicked half brothers from his mom’s previous relationship. His mother and siblings are bitter that dad left half the estate to Jack, his only biological heir, before dad’s early demise. His teen years are filled with disdain from mom and savage beatings from the brothers.

Young Jack has an ally in his late father’s best friend, Mr. Palmer, who explains the birds and the bees to Jack and seems genuinely invested in the young man’s well-being. As Jack pursues a variety of romances while moving into adulthood, there’s a lot of great fatherly advice that Mr. Palmer bestows upon Jack about life and women. I can’t remember a more satisfying “young man and adult mentor” relationship in any book I’ve read in ages.

However, there’s an real air of menace lurking in the background of this paperback. Jack’s mother and half-brothers become increasingly unhinged, and Jack worries with good reason that they are plotting to murder him to take over his half of his father’s estate. The violence - real and threatened - escalates throughout the novel building to a bloodbath of a climax.

“Kiss or Kill” is a really odd book. There are scenes of shocking violence, but it’s not an action novel. There are hot scenes of seduction, but it never felt like a graphic sleaze novel. There are a few genuinely romantic storylines, but it’s certainly not a romance novel. And so on. It’s really a fictional autobiography of a compelling character overcoming a difficult upbringing and becoming a man. In that sense, it’s a very mainstream novel masquerading as a tawdry 50-cent paperback.

Although this is pretty far afield from the classic crime-adventure novels we normally cover here at Paperback Warrior, I can enthusiastically recommend “Kiss or Kill” to anyone who enjoys a good vintage coming-of-age tale. Thompson is a way better writer and storyteller than either iteration of the novel’s packaging would lead you to believe, and I look forward to exploring his body of work in greater depth. Recommended. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Lady is Transparent

Carter Brown, real name Alan Yates, was an English-born Australian writer who authored over 300 short mysteries. His stirring, sultry formula starred three interchangeable investigators in Al Wheeler, Danny Boyd and Rick Holman. Occasionally his work would dabble in supernatural themes that were easily debunked and solved in the book's finale. “The Lady is Transparent”, published in 1962 by Signet, adheres to that consistently fun formula.

Lieutenant Al Wheeler becomes a ghostbusting investigator after receiving a call from the county sheriff. There's been a murder on an eerie locale called Old Canyon Road at the top of Bald Mountain. With a fiery crescendo of thunder and lightning, Wheeler arrives at the sweeping Gothic mansion in the forest. His welcoming host is Justine Harvey, a beautiful vixen adorned in a skimpy white gown. Wheeler's lust for the woman nearly supersedes his assignment.

Through a spacious network of halls and rooms, Justine leads Wheeler to an immensely large door that's locked from the inside. Justine explains that her family heard a scream from inside, and they feel that “The Gray Lady” killed Henry Slocombe behind the door. Wheeler, ignoring the folklore, shoots the lock out and indeed finds Slocombe dead in bed with wounds that appear to have been created by a wild animal.

Confined in the locked room mystery genre tropes, Wheeler interviews all of the home's residents. He learns that wealthy Ellis Harvey owns the home. Ellis has allowed his brother Ben to reside there along with Justine, her equally attractive sister Martha, and a planned groomsman for Martha in George Farrow. Wheeler concentrates his efforts on learning more about Martha's dead lover Slocombe and Ellis' arrangement for Martha to marry George.

The supernatural aspect of Carter Brown's novel is The Gray Lady, the ghost of a dead woman who haunts the room where Slocombe was murdered. Further, Slocombe was entranced by the folklore and kept a tape recorder running in the room. The audio results are surprisingly convincing – there was definitely a mysterious woman in the room. The questions abound – who is she, how did she get in and is she truly the dead woman's ghost?

At 120-pages, “The Lady is Transparent” delivers the patented Carter Brown experience. With Wheeler's obligatory scotch and skirt-chasing, he stumbles his way through a locked room/haunted house mystery permeated with scorned love, jealousy and greed. It's an atmospheric, entertaining quick read that delivered what the author intended – a sexy, whodunit romp.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Joy House

Gunnard R. Hjertstedt is better known as the prolific crime-noir author Day Keene. As one of Florida’s Gulf Coast writers, Keene enjoyed the company of neighbors and friends like Harry Whittington, Gil Brewer and Talmage Powell. Keene also enjoyed a successful literary career that featured over 50 novels and a seemingly endless supply of short stories. Stark House Press has preserved the author's legacy by releasing a number of his novels to modern audiences. In 2017, the publisher released an important trade paperback featuring three of his beloved works - “Sleep with the Devil”, “Wake Up to Murder” and “Joy House”. The subject of this review is the last title, “Joy House”. The other two titles have previously been reviewed right here on Paperback Warrior.

There's a great backstory on “Joy House” in the Stark House reprint by crime fiction academic David Laurence Wilson. In his introduction, Wilson provides an interesting timeline for the novel. It seems to have been written in 1952, originally titled “House of Evil”, then heavily edited and re-titled as “Joy House” before being published by Lion Books in 1954. However, the novel's premise was outlined in a short story, “She Shall Make Murder”, for pulp magazine called Detective Tales in 1949. Since then, it's been re-printed by the likes of Lancer and Gallimard as well as being adapted for film in 1964 starring a young Jane Fonda.

Written in the familiar first-person presentation, the novel introduces us to a complex character named Mark Harris. At one time, Harris was a prominent attorney to the stars in Los Angeles. After marrying Marie, and acquiring a criminal brother-in-law, Harris' posh lifestyle comes to a crumbling halt. After an unspeakable act of violence, Harris flees Los Angeles as a wanted man. Cold and penniless, the downtrodden Harris finds a rest stop at a mission in Chicago. There, a beautiful, wealthy woman named May Hill is drawn to him. After learning about her own mysterious behavior, Harris learns that he may be offered a male prostitute role in May's life. Feeling as though he would need to crawl up to just hit rock bottom, Harris accepts a paying job as May's “chauffeur”.

Once May, and her maid retrieve Harris from the mission, they instruct him to drive back to May's residence in a seedy part of Chicago. Shockingly, May is worth millions yet lives in a boarded up house in the ghetto. Harris, knowing he's selling his manhood, accepts his fate in this strange sexual alliance. However, once inside, the house is lavish and features all of modern society's most luxurious accessories. Why is she living like a poor recluse? What are the strange noises upstairs? Who's laughing in the hallways at night? This macabre tale spirals into madness in typical Day Keene fashion.

“Joy House” is nearly presented as this Gothic haunted house tale. Keene kept me guessing until the very end with a unique use of atmosphere – isolation in Chicago. The house itself is like the fourth character, wholly charismatic and a pivotal piece of both the narrative and title. As Harris settles into his new role as May's lover, the book takes on a sexual tone that pushes the boundaries for a 1950s crime paperback. Like Jim Thompson, Keene offers us one, if not two, fairly despicable characters and winds the tension to see which will pop. The build-up to May's revelation is seductive, and the complexity in Harris' past life creates a whirlwind of taut suspense. Needless to say...I was hooked.

“Joy House” is a noir stand-out and the best of the three titles offered in this 2017 collection. You won't be disappointed. Purchase a copy of this book HERE.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Black Friday

“Black Friday” is a 1954 short novel - originally published by Lion Books - by Philadelphia noir master David Goodis, an author who has become more appreciated since his 1967 death than he ever was when he was alive. He’s often called the “king of the losers” because his stories have such a grim, downbeat tone and his heroes are often drawn from ranks of skid row bums.

Hart is one such protagonist - slowly freezing to death on the streets of Philadelphia while trying to decide whether to mug a hobo for his overcoat, commit suicide or just keep shivering. His frigid wandering brings him to a man lying on the sidewalk bleeding to death from a gunshot wound. The stranger parishes after giving Hart the his wallet loaded with cash. However, the killers aren’t far behind, and Hart becomes their focus as they pursue him for the wallet and its contents.

This pretty simple setup brings Hart into the hideout of a heist crew that includes a violent ex-boxer and a buxom platinum blonde who immediately shows a sexual interest in Hart. As the story unfolds, we learn more about Hart’s background and it turns out he wasn’t always such a bum. He attended University of Pennsylvania and at one time owned a yacht. He’s on the run for a crime he either did or did not commit (no spoilers here) in New Orleans, so hiding out with this crew is actually pretty good timing. The big question is will Hart join the crew or just use them as a way-station en route to freedom?

Be warned: this is a dark and violent paperback that goes in some unexpected directions with beatings, murder, dismemberment, a sad skinny woman and a horny fat woman. It’s also sexy as hell in a non-graphic 1950s fashion. Goodis writes the novel is a dispassionate third-person, so the reader is really a fly on the wall watching the tense mayhem unfold and making guesses about characters’ secrets. There’s not a ton of action in the novel’s second act, but the interpersonal dynamics in the hideout never failed to hold my interest.

All this leads up to a compelling conclusion, and Goodis’ writing is particularly solid. “Black Friday” has been reprinted several times since its release 65 years ago. The 2006 edition may be of particular interest to Paperback Warrior readers as it contains several bonus stories Goodis wrote for the pulp and digest magazines. However you do it, don’t skip “Black Friday.” It’s something special.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Savage Love (aka Native Girl)

During the 1950s, Harry Whittington was so prolific that he employed a cadre of pseudonyms to keep his sales flowing to a variety of paperback publishing houses. His 1952 novel “Savage Love” was published under the pen name Whit Harrison and was later reprinted in 1956 under Whittington’s own name as “Native Girl.” It remains available today as a cheap ebook (free with Kindle Unlimited) under the original title and the pseudonym.

“Savage Love” takes place on the pre-statehood Hawaiian Island of Maui where Coles has just relocated at the urging of his friend Victor who is married to a “native girl” named Lani. From the first page, the reader can smell trouble ahead for these three when Coles, our narrator, describes Lani as a “goddess molded out of fiery golden flesh.” When he accidentally walks in on Lani undressed in front of a full-length mirror, the poor bastard becomes smitten and obsessed with his best buddy’s wife.

Victor owns a pineapple and sugar cane plantation and hires Cole as an overseer of the business operations. When Victor is attacked by a hostile employee, he is waylaid and consigned to rest and recovery under the care of the plantation’s domestic help. However, you’d hardly know the difference between Victor at work and Victor at rest as he is an advocate of the laid back island lifestyle. This enables Cole and Lani to spend some quality time together as Cole learns the ins-and-outs of the business.

As the narrative progresses, we learn more about Cole’s background and the real reason he was willing to leave his girlfriend and accounting career behind on the U.S mainland to start a new life on Maui. The temptation Cole feels for Lani is a white-hot lust coupled with the appropriate guilt and reservations that eventually lead to an explosion of violence and murder. Nobody writes a femme fatale story like Harry Whittington except for maybe James M. Cain. And “Savage Love” probably owes more than a little to Cain’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice” from 1934.

“Savage Love” is seldom cited as among Whittington’s best work, and that’s a shame. This book is a familiar fatal attraction story transplanted into an exotic setting with a Hawaiian temptress, but it’s also a satisfying piece of noir melodrama from a master of the genre. I’d put it up there with Cain’s “Postman” and Gil Brewer’s “The Vengeful Virgin” as among the best of this type. The fact that it remains available as an eBook costing you next to nothing should push smart readers over the edge to pick up this underrated classic. Highly recommended.

Buy a copy of this book HERE