Recently Read: “Marked!” by Bob Bristow, or Rape and the Virgin Male

“He’d made one mistake – a big one – and it involved a woman  . . .”

Marked! - by Bob Bristow

Marked! - by Bob Bristow

So reads the teaser text on “Marked!”, a 1961 Dell First Edition by Bob Bristow.  I read this on my recent business trip while the plane was taxiing and landing and I couldn’t use my Kindle (which is something that drives me crazy, since the Kindle is about as inert as a digital watch when its receiver is turned off).  Published originally in 1961, I was expecting some misogyny, some political incorrectness and straightforward pulp goodness.  However, I got a bit more than I was expecting with this one … and it led to a really interesting reading experience.

The back cover text reads in part: “He had been a lover for ten minutes and a rapist for thirty seconds. For the rest of his life he would carry the stigma. The oversexed, brazen girl turned out to be a frightened virgin and had branded him forever as a sex criminal …”  So I knew this was going to be a bit on the questionable side, but this is pulp from the 60’s, you expect a bit of controversial content to a modern sensibility.  But, as much as I go in with an open mind to these books, this one even made me cringe a little.  Spoilers follow, but I think that’s ok since I don’t think you’re going to be finding this at your local library.  Nevertheless, if you plan on searching it out, you may want to avoid this review.   Continue reading

Recently Read: Pleasure Model

Pleasure Model - by Christopher Rowley

Wow.  Haven’t finished a book in awhile where I felt so conflicted afterwards.  Pleasure Model by Christopher Rowley is the first book to be published by Tor in their Heavy Metal Pulp line.  For those unfamiliar, the line is based off of the Heavy Metal graphic magazine that was the influence for a number of animated movies over the past few decades, and remains a popular adult graphic adventure magazine.  The idea is to take story lines similar to what you would find in the magazine, write them up as prose novels in the style of old pulp adventures, and then have an illustrator add illustrations to almost every page.

The result was, if nothing else, a lot of fun.   I’ll start my review literally from the cover.  The book contains a beautiful painted pulp-style cover by Gregory Manchess.  This is what originally sold me on the book.  As I’ve admitted previously this type of cover will get me to buy a book just so I have the art. Continue reading

Recently Read: Expiration Date

Expiration Date - by Duane Swierczynski

I love Duane Swierczynski.  Not the man, I’ve never met him (although I hope to at a con sometime in the future).  No, I love his writing.  I’ve read just about every piece of fiction he’s written, from his crime novels to his comics.  And I think things just keep getting better.

His newest is Expiration Date.  Like all of his previous crime novels, I just hated reaching the end because it is just pure fun.  It’s a crime story where he’s taken the time jumping elements of his run on the Cable comic and blended them perfectly.  From what he’s written about the history of Expiration Date I’m sure the ideas from the novel informed his Cable run and not vice versa, but since Cable was published first I’m sure many will see it as working the other way.

Anyway, the plot in brief revolves around a recently unemployed journalist (Swierczynski is a former journalist himself) who after losing his job finds himself living in his grandfathers apartment.  He takes some old aspirin he finds in his grandfather’s cabinet and wakes up in the year he was born.  He soon finds himself investigating what led to his father’s murder when he was a child.  The whole thing has a beautiful Twilight Zone feel to it.  And Swierczynski proves once again that he knows how to write a fast paced, fun crime story with a twist.  If you read quick, you can knock this puppy out in one night.  Of course, that would mean that you’ll be regretting that you have reached the end that much sooner.

New Adds: Crime x 5

So, I’ve been starting to pick up some vintage crime paperbacks when I can find them for a decent price.  I found three more this afternoon at the local used book store – Barely Seen by Frank Kane (1964, Dell), Marked! by Bob Bristow (1961, Dell – Bob McGinnis cover), and Run for Doom by Henry Kane (1962, Signet). Haven’t read any of these authors before but I am a sucker for pulp crime covers, especially those gorgeous good girl paintings by Bob McGinnis.  So if you know where I can find some, let me know.

In addition, I found Savage Season, the first Hap & Leonard book, by Joe Lansdale and Small Crimes by Dave Zeltserman. I just started to hear about Zeltserman recently, but what I’ve heard sounded good.  For half price, it’s worth a go.  I’ve also never read Lansdale (I know, a crime in itself).  Been waiting to find Savage Season for awhile, so I’m looking forward to checking this out.

Anyway, I’m happy with the haul.