Wednesday, February 13, 2019

MANHUNT - October 1961

She sprawled beside him in the cockpit, letting herself lurch against him with the movement of the boat. A challenge as primitive as the sea came from the girl. - From "Sea Widow" by William P. Brothers

MANHUNT October 1961

I have only two issues of MANHUNT in my possession. This issue from October 1961, and another from June 1958. I have no idea where I picked up the 1961 issue. All I can tell you is I've had it for many years and, until now, hadn't read a single story in it.

MANHUNT is one of those digests that I wish were easier to find. Any given used bookstore will have scads of ANALOG, or EQMM, but never old issues of MANHUNT. I'll keep looking, but I'm not expecting to have much luck finding any other issues unless I resort to going online.

I'm familiar with only 5 of the writers in this issue, and each one of them delivered the goods. Talmage Powell provides an epistolary story call "Dear Sir" in an exchange of letters between a jaded defense attorney and a young woman on death row. It shifts in mood nicely from a sense of despair to almost giddiness as our beautiful young defendant sets up another fall guy while she sits on death row.

Ed Lacy provides a novelette entitled "The Death of El Indio" in which a private detective is hired by a wealthy young widow living in Mexico City to prove that her husband was murdered by a famous bullfighter known as El Indio. I liked this story a lot and was hooked as we follow P.I. Sam Eggers from Mexico City to Acapulco and back getting the goods on his suspect while dodging attempts on his life. My only complaint is that the story wraps up in a collapsed summary that seemed like Lacy was running up hard against a word count. Still, a cool story.

My favorite story in the bunch was "Sea Widow" by William P. Brothers. This one had a nice Gil Brewer style to it, as we watch a middle-aged big shot executive bastard named George Matthews start up an affair with a common, somewhat dull girl from the docks named Lola Barnes. George is pushing 40, with an ostentatious yacht he likes to take out on weekends. Lola is a 21 year old scamp who easily gets her hooks into George. Soon she's blackmailing him for money, claiming she's pregnant. George isn't about to let his reputation fall to ruins on a common slut, and plots a murder. But nothing is ever as easy as planned. I love stories like this. I'm not at all familiar with William P. Brothers, but I see there is a Gold Medal novel called Portrait of Lisa by him.

"The Deadly Affair" by Charles Carpentier is a nasty little treat about what happens when a small-time lothario gets a bit too pushy with his girlfriend, who happens to value her marriage slightly more than her boyfriend.

Other writers here include Charles Boeckman, Robert Edmond Alter, Joe Gores, with an excellent and disturbing story called "Night Out" about a sweet girl with a nasty agenda, and Bernard Epps to name a few of the contributors.

I can't say if this is a typical issue for MANHUNT. I liked every story in it, which is rare for me. Usually there is a dud in any given bunch, but not with this collection. Too bad these old issues are not easier to find.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Home is the Sailor - Day Keene

The police could pound on me until both of us were pulp without getting anywhere. I could take it. I knew. I'd been through a lot of fish-bowl sessions. It was different with Corliss. A few hours under the light with smart cops shooting questions at her in relays and she would get hysterical and tell her whole life story. But a wife couldn't be forced to testify against her husband. And Corliss was the only person in the would who knew I'd killed Wolkowysk.

Hard Case Crime - March 2005, Cover art R.B. Farrell and Gregory Manchess
I was buying Hard Case Crime paperbacks from the beginning, and when I heard they were going to publish an old Day Keene novel I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I bought this one as soon as it hit the stands at a long gone Borders Books. This was 14 years ago. Time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana, as Groucho Marx said. I read this one immediately when I got it, and must have been less than impressed with it, based on my Goodreads review, which is "Fall guy drinks a ton of rum."

Yeah, I was really lazy that day. What a crappy review of a pretty excellent book! I'm making amends now, rereading it these 14 years later.

I say it's an excellent novel given what it was when first published back in 1953 by Gold Medal. A nasty, violent, booze-filled thriller about a decent guy meeting the wrong woman. Who doesn't love that kind of story? And when I say booze-filled, I'm not kidding you. Our hero, Swede Nelson drinks rum like a little league team drinks Gatorade. There is barely a page in the novel that Swede isn't knocking back a slug of rum down his throat. And when he's not guzzling rum he's either busting someone's head or knocking boots with his new gal Corliss Mason.

We first meet Swede when he wakes up in a puddle of blood or sweat (he's not sure which) in a motel cabin just off the coast of California. He has practically no memory of the past 24 hours. He's spent the past 15 years at sea, and decided to retire that life with the notion of returning to Minnesota to buy a farm, get married and raise a family. The last thing he remembers is guzzling a boatload of rum and a game of dice behind a bar, then a dance with a couple of hoods with knives and blackjacks. So, in a rum-induced blackout Swede kicks the crap out of a couple of guys who tried rolling him. In the process he's "rescued" by a chick named Corliss Mason, who fortuitously arrives on the scene to take Swede back to her motor court named The Purple Parrot.

Of course Swede remembers none of this. He finds his uniform pressed and hanging in a closet, and wonders about his life savings, figuring the thugs took it. He's racking his brains trying to remember, wishing he had a bottle of rum for inspiration, when a girl named Mamie Meek enters his cabin. Mamie informs Swede that his money is in the motel safe, and that as soon as he's well enough, he needs to take his money and get the hell out of town. Mamie insists that Swede is in danger while staying at the Purple Parrot. But she doesn't tell him why. Swede also learns from Mamie that the Purple Parrot's owner, Corliss Mason, is the one who rescued him from getting robbed.

Swede barely has time to get dressed and make it to Purple Parrot's bar to knock back a few more glasses of rum before the sheriff shows up to arrest him on attempted murder charges. One of the thugs Swede beat up the night before is in critical condition. Swede insists that it was in self defense. The sheriff is inclined to believe him, but without any witnesses corroborating Swede's sketchy memory, he's hauled off to jail. By morning, Corliss Mason comes to bail Swede out of jail, confirming Swede's version of events.

Corliss is one of those noir babes that reek of trouble and sex. She convinces Swede that she's in love with him, and that he should marry her and stay on at the motor court. Whatever niggling doubts Swede has about Corliss is drowned under buckets of rum. She twists and teases Swede mercilessly and convinces him to stay on, despite Mamie's warnings to him. Corliss wants Swede bad, but tells him she cannot give it up for him until they're married. Wracked with sexual frustration for Corliss, Swede drinks himself into another stupor. Then in the middle of the night a hysterical Corliss comes to his room, her dress torn, her face bruised, crying that she's just been raped by a guy seen drinking at the bar earlier that night. Swede roars into action and finds the rapist sleeping in Corliss's bed. At the urging of Corliss, he proceeds to beat the guy to death.

What then follows is a harrowing account of the two of them trying to hide the body. Swede recognizes the dead guy from that night he was almost rolled. He wonders how the guy has ended up raping Corliss. Corliss tells Swede that the dead guy, whose name is Wolkowysk, has been trying to make it with her, and has been going up and down the coastline talking trash about her. She's glad he's dead. As long as they can hide the body, no one will ever know about her getting raped and Swede killing him for it. They can get married and live happily ever after, having crazy hot sex with each other.

It's all one big hell of a mess for our hero, Swede. He keeps telling us that he should have gone on as planned to Minnesota to buy that farm, but he's in too deep with Corliss now to ever escape. And worse, he admits that he's in love with her.'s a crazy noir plot, and completely far-fetched. Swede is one of our great dumb hapless dupes who marches headlong into the trap set for him by a femme fatale. He even knows he's being played for a sucker, yet somehow, he can't seem to stop himself. Things go from bad to worse for him. And there isn't enough rum in the world to swim his way to freedom.

This is an easy book to find, thanks to Hard Case Crime republishing it. I think noir fans would dig it. Cheers, mate!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

W.H.O.R.E. - Carter Brown

The front door opened almost immediately, and what sounded like a million decibels of amplified Rolling Stones hit me right between the ears. It was obviously the kind of party where you were nothing but a lousy dropout if you didn't burst a blood vessel within the first five minutes. Standing right in front of me was a cowgirl, straight out of the Wild, Wild West. A silver-streaked blonde with her hair gathered into a topknot that gyrated madly every time she moved her head. She was wearing a blue jacket and matching mini-skirt and white knee-high cowboy boots. The jacket was unbuttoned all the way down the front, revealing the ultimate in cleavage. An open-range-sized martini was clutched precariously in her right hand.

Signet - October 1971
This is one of the Al Wheeler capers from Carter Brown, and plenty of early 70's shenanigans going on in it. Cowgirls, Rolling Stones, martinis in one chapter, dead babes and gun-toting goons dressed as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in another chapter. Also throw in a fruit-pickers demonstration into the mix and you have a "what the hell's going on?" kind of plot, where our hero Al Wheeler runs around the place trying to find missing suspects and dead bodies at the same time. And every clue leads him back to house that serves as the headquarters for a women's liberation group named W.H.O.R.E. which stands for Women's Hereditary and Obligatory Revolutionary Establishment, just so you pigs don't get the wrong idea!

It all kicks off when Wheeler responds to a beach house where the dead body of a beautiful young woman is discovered by a hysterical chick named Stephanie Channing. Stephanie claims to have no idea who the dead girl is. Stephanie was supposed to meet the owner of the cabin, a dude named Chuck Henry, who was to give her the keys to the place for the weekend. Stephanie immediately informs Wheeler that she's a foundation member of W.H.O.R.E., which provides Wheeler the opportunity to observe that she doesn't look like a lesbian! So yeah, it's that kind of a book. And Wheeler gets his fair share of crap from every member of W.H.O.R.E. he runs into throughout the novel. All of them are drop-dead hot, and all of them waste no time in calling Wheeler a pig. And all Wheeler can do is make cracks about none of them wearing a bra.

Well, as Stephanie is explaining how she came to find the body of the dead girl in the beach cabin, all of a sudden two gun-wielding goons show up wearing paper mache Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck masks. They put the drop on Wheeler and Stephanie and abscond with the body of the dead girl and a very much alive Stephanie after slugging Wheeling. From there on Wheeler has his hands full trying to convince his superiors at the Sheriff's office that a dead girl was whisked away by Mickey Mouse along with his only witness, a women's libber member of W.H.O.R.E. Just another routine case.

It's a goofy caper, and full of politically incorrect jabs at women throughout. I guess there is some turnabout in that Wheeler gets teased and tormented and made a fool of by just about every member of W.H.O.R.E. he comes across. Mind you, this is usually after they disrobe for him in the process. In the end, all of the loose ends get wrapped up, of course, and Wheeler gets the last quip.

These books are routinely entertaining and mindless romps with plenty of titillation and PG humor. This one is a standard Carter Brown novel in that regard, and I'll have forgotten the plot in a week. But a great cover anyway!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

New Year and Still Here

I took some time off the past month or so due to a heavy work schedule at my full-time paying gig. You know, the thing that most of us don't like doing so much because it takes time away from the stuff we love. Some people are lucky to get paid for what they love doing. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. But I'm not complaining, I have it pretty good all things considered.

I still found the time to go out and find some cool old books to enjoy and (hopefully) share with everyone. I also found time to pursue a "sort of new" passion finding and purchasing old records. I don't go crazy at it, of course, I do have a household budget I have to keep within, but I'm proud of some of the items I've picked up over the past year.

Vintage Dames of Midwood 

I've also been keeping up with reading all the terrific blogs out there. I have links on my page to them. I'm in great company!

Vintage Sci-Fi Collections
I know we're already almost a month into the new year already, and it's not been easy for many. Anyone with a retirement account knows that 2018 ended on a downer. Let's hope 2019 can turn it around. I try to remain optimistic, while not always succeeding. That probably explains my escaping back into these wonderful old visions of the past.

I'm thinking of adding more music items to the blog. Back in the early days I did more posts about albums that I've picked up. Maybe I'll do a bit more of that. Who knows. All I can say for sure is I'm not going anywhere, and hopefully neither is anyone else!

What's in the Garage?
Here's to everyone having a successful and rewarding new year! Cheers!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Death for Sale - Henry Kane

He took one of Carter's cigarettes, lit it, blew smoke at the match to extinguish it. "Understand this, Mr. Winston. I'm not a pug-ugly, not a hoodlum, not a gangster. I perform independently and have no interest or curiosity in the motives of those who retain me. I command high fees because I am an expert and because there is a great element of risk. I take such risk into consideration as do others in hazardous professions--the people-jack, the high voltage worker, the test pilot. And if ever I'm caught, I shall accept even that philosophically--that is my way of life, and what comes must come. And now, if you please, what do you want of me, Mr. Winston?"

Dell - July 1957

And here you meet the wordiest hitman in the game. No, he doesn't talk his victims to death, not quite, but the reader may be an innocent bystander in the exchange. Death for Sale, by Henry Kane, was published in 1957. I don't believe I've read any other Henry Kane novels before this one. He's published a lot of books with cool covers on them, but I never see them out there in the the used bookshelves. I picked this one up 20 years ago in a flea market for 50 cents (the sticker is still in the book) and hadn't got around to reading it until this week.

It's got all the trappings of a classic noir plot: a husband is saddled with a shrew for a wife who refuses to divorce him, so in a moment of drunken anger hires someone to kill her. After sleeping on it, he wakes up with second thoughts and spends the rest of the novel trying to prevent the hit from going down. In this case, our reluctant husband is Carter Winston, a successful, 52 year old owner of a talent agency. His wife, Paula Sommers Winston, is twenty years younger, beautiful and rotten, and turns the bitch meter to 11 on the 1-to-10 scale. She makes no secret that she's seeing another man (she refuses to divulge who) while refusing to divorce Carter. She likes the setup, likes living in a mansion with servants, and likes the big life insurance policy on Carter's life. Carter Winston has a 19 year old daughter, Diane, from his first marriage. Diane's mother died when she was 13 or so. Carter Winston's marriage to Paula Sommers his only two years old, and we're given a summary of their whirlwind courtship in a few paragraphs early on in the book. In a moment of drunken frustration, Carter decides he has to have her killed, and hires a shady cat named Stewart Blake to do the job.

Why would a supposedly smart business guy marry someone so much younger? Well, we have an obvious theory here. Paula Sommers is a total smoldering hot babe. And Carter Winston is a stuffed shirt jerk-off. That's the biggest problem with this novel. It's preposterous. All noir plots are preposterous but you forgive them for it if the characters are relatable to the reader. You have to have a little empathy for at least one of them, or hate someone enough to want to see them get their just desserts. But with Death for Sale, you have characters so obnoxious that you really could care less what happens to them. Thankfully, the writing is crisp and professional, and the plot doesn't slow down long enough for you to not finish it. In spite of a few nice touches here and there, some moments of tension, the plot is more "drawing room mystery" than a true noir novel. For example, about a third way into the novel we're introduced to Cynthia Sommers, Paula's sister, who looks exactly like Paula! Then there is Carter's business partner Walter Moore, who's got a torch for Cynthia. Added to the mix is a kooky wannabe actress named Lola Cavanaugh who ends up being at the wrong place at the wrong time when our hitman, Stewart Blake, comes to complete his job.

By the end of the novel we have a gunshot in a storm, a chase through the night, and an overly complex resolution that would have made Ellery Queen slap his forehead! Oh well, it wasn't the worst fifty cents I've spent, and like I said above, the writing was well done. If I run across any other Henry Kane novels out there in the wild I'll probably splurge a few clams and dive in again. Or I just might pick up a Frank Kane novel and be happy with that. Who the heck knows?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Kidnapper - Robert Bloch

"There is no security for the average man today. It is no longer enough to be a good husband, a good father, a good craftsman. If you do not have a Cadillac in the garage, you are a failure. That is the message of modern advertising, that is the standard of the new values we accept." 

TOR Books, March 1988

For a moment there it sounded to me like the message of modern evangelicalism. But that very "standard of the new values" spoken of is the very thing that drives our narrator, Steve Collins, to embark on his scheme to kidnap his way into the good life.

Published in 1954, The Kidnapper, is a nasty little thriller that's my favorite kind of mid-century noir novel. It's not one I see out there in the wild very often. I bought my copy about 15 years ago from a long gone used bookstore in central Phoenix, and only now have gotten around to reading it. If you're going to look for anything by Robert Bloch you're going to have to do it in the horror sections of the bookstores still out there. Like Harlan Ellison getting pegged as a Science Fiction writer, Bloch is forever known as a horror writer, thanks to his 1959 novel Psycho.

Bloch dives headlong into Jim Thompsonville in The Kidnapper, as we get the story straight from our hero Steve Collins. He's been around, knows how life works, knows the angles, and isn't afraid to go after what he wants when opportunity knocks. We meet him after riding the rails into a nameless town, somewhere in Illinois, pulling down the night shift as a tool and die maker. He's not exactly on the run, but he'd prefer to live his life without any inconvenient strings attached. He gets friendly with another guy on the job, Leo Schumann, a little guy everyone just calls Specs, because of his thick glasses. Specs has no luck with the ladies, but has hopes of eventually winning over a working girl named Terry, a "blonde with dyed hair and a figure like your grandmother's broomstick." Specs would like to find a nice girl and get married, save up for a house, follow that American Dream he's been promised. But he can't seem to make it past first base with the nice girls from church. So he pines for Terry. Steve ain't interested in any of that love crap. Catch him telling a dame he loves her? Forget that! It took him long enough to shuck this last lush down in Florida. Anytime he wants a chick he can go pick one up, but saddle down with one, no way, Dad!

Then he meets Mary. Mary Adams is a strange chick. Kind of crazy-like, with her barely contained lust and her innocent way of twisting Steve all up into knots wanting her. Soon enough, she's spending her free time rocking his world each day before work. By day Mary works as a nanny to the daughter of  a well-heeled family that runs one of the banks in town. Shirley Mae Warren is the kid's name. She's 4 years old. Mary's job is to see to it she gets to and from pre-school each day. Her folks have all kinds of money, Mary tells Steve, and maybe one day they'll take Mary, with the kid, on out to California. Wouldn't that be swell?  And there you have it all laid out, sweet as a peach ripe for the picking. Snatch the kid, get a nice fat ransom for her return, and live on Easy Street afterward. Steve's just got to convince Mary that it'll work.

"A criminal? Don't be afraid to say it, Mary, it's only a word. A fancy word that guys like Warren dream up to pin on the little fellow who tries to get ahead. Anytime a little fellow takes dough from a big shot, he's a criminal. But when a big shot takes dough, he's a smart business man. He's got the law on his side because he makes the law to begin with."

Hmm...where have we heard this before? Has a ring of familiarity to it, kind of. Maybe Steve's on to something after all. Anyway, back to the kidnapping. Steve and Mary get the whole caper planned, except one thing. Steve doesn't have wheels. He's gonna need a car. If only he knew a chump he could talk into providing their wheels for a split of the ransom...A guy like Specs for instance. Just think of the dames Specs could have eating out of his hand if he had a little cash to spend on them!

And we're off and running. Of course, you know things never really go as planned in these stories. Something always slips and throws a wrench into things. In this case, the girl they kidnap has to go and die on them. 

Like I said, this novel is a lot of unwholesome fun reading, mostly because of the strong narrative voice that Bloch delivers through Steve's point of view. Steve is one of those characters who has an undeniable dark charm to them, and a way of seeing things that you can damn near relate to yourself, especially when you find yourself working a job for nuts while seeing those other big shots get all the rewards out of life. Bloch plays on our skewed sense of entitlement that has saturated our society for decades now. We're promised that hard work brings us nice stuff. You can almost empathize with the desire to take that shortcut, pull that trigger, get what's yours. And that's the stuff that the best noir novels come from. Bad people making worse decisions.

Highly recommended. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

She'll Get Hers - John Plunket

Youthful actresses were thin-faced and gave him the impression that their underwear was dirty. Shaggy-haired actors were badly mannered and mumbled and sported shrunken Levis designed to display their limited talents. Jo said they were “method actors” but Koslo classified them as glorified delinquents and misfits. Womenish men, mannish women…he couldn’t help but marvel at the miracle that Jo could have known these people and still remain untouched by their neurotic outlooks.

Monarch Books July 1960

Published in 1960 by Monarch Books, She’ll Get Hers is a tawdry little paperback that flies under the wings of some of the better known paperback originals by Gil Brewer and Day Keene and the gang. I’ve read a few Monarch paperbacks and have enjoyed them much like you’d enjoy a burrito from a dirty restaurant. You know they’re bad for you, but you like ‘em anyway. Monarch was kind of a low-rung publisher of pulpy paperback originals, and I’m guessing they went for the sleazier side of stuff than Gold Medal. Judging from the titles in their catalog, lots of juvenile delinquent, beatnik, and sleazy kicks can be enjoyed in these old paperbacks.

She’ll Get Hers is written by John Plunkett. According to the blurbs, Plunkett was heavily involved in the entertainment scene at the time, and sold screenplays for both the television and film industry. I don’t know if She’ll Get Hers was his only novel. It’s the only one I’m finding after a cursory look online. Regardless, it’s an often-told story of a bad guy getting his come-uppance by a bad girl. In this instance, a hood named Marty Koslo, and his new flame, Jo Wilder.

Koslo is an east coast enforcer for the Syndicate and is sent to Los Angeles to get to get to the bottom of why receipts from marijuana sales have dropped in recent months. Los Angeles is familiar turf for Marty Koslo. He’s got a swanky apartment above Sunset Blvd and a hot sexy girlfriend named Lorry Logan. He sets up a meeting with the district supervisors of the organization and reads them the riot act. Their biggest market is in the high schools and colleges throughout the Hollywood area. Koslo lays the tough guy routine down on the supervisors and promises he’ll be following up with the local pushers next. This has the whole L.A. crew in an uproar.

Marty Koslo was not just a successful hood. Marty Koslo was the syndicate’s number one hatchet man. The executioner. The enforcer. Big K, they called him. Not K for Koslo, but rather for Kill.

Later that night, back in his Hollywood office at the Chilton Hotel, Marty Koslo is kicking back with a drink and thinking of his date with Lorry when he’s approached by the bellman, a former jockey named Willie, who puts him wise to a raw deal fixing to happen to one of the regular girls who do freelance “modeling” work in the hotel. Some local Hollywood type named George has paid Willie to supply him with “knockout drops” so that he can score with one of the models who is there posing for “art” pictures. Willie tells Koslo that this particular girl don’t rate such a slimy treatment, that she’s special, that she ain’t like the other girls. He asks Koslo to run George out of the joint on behalf of his unsuspecting victim. Koslo figures what the hell, Willie is a good guy and is obviously sweet on this chick, so he’ll do him this favor. He takes the vial of knockout drops from Willie and goes to George’s hotel room. In it he finds George is all hot and ready for his fun time with the model who is in the bathroom changing her wardrobe. Koslo sends “Georgie” packing. Then he decides that, as long as he’s there, he’ll check out this chick that Willie is so sweet on. And out of the bathroom walks the stunning Jo Wilder.

She stood in the doorway framed by the light of the bathroom. She was wearing a pair of tiny nylon panties, black stilted pumps, a fresh coat of red lipstick and a rather vague expression of mild surprise.

A lot of attention is focused on Jo’s magnificent breasts at this point, and Koslo is basically reduced to a stuttering schoolboy on his first major crush. He lets Jo know that he’s just saved her from a sleazebag whose promises of a career in the movies for Jo was all bullshit. Jo is appropriately grateful, and promptly lets him know that, while she may pose nude for pictures, she’s a good girl who is pure of virtue. She also gets off on Marty’s obvious admiration of her naked body. Marty Koslo asks her if she’s had dinner yet and Jo agrees to go out with him that night.

What follows is a quick courtship of sorts, as Marty Koslo convinces Jo Wilder to come back to has pad above Sunset Blvd that night. A lot of kissing and mushy stuff follows, leaving Koslo’s head spinning under Jo’s alluring spell. She lets him know several times that she’s a virgin, but would like to be his girlfriend. She promises him that she’ll make him happy. Koslo figures it won’t be long before Jo gives herself up fully to his charms. In the meantime he dumps his girlfriend Lorry so he can devote all his energy toward Jo. In a matter of a single weekend he convinces Jo to move out of her dumpy apartment and stay with him. The next afternoon, while helping her pack up her stuff, he meets Jo Wilder’s neighbor, an artist named Mona. Mona seems unusually distressed to learn that Jo is moving out. She’s been painting a portrait of Jo and tells her she’ll have to finish the portrait from memory. Jo Wilder seems oblivious to Mona’s obvious crush on her, and promises to keep in touch with Mona. Koslo doesn’t give a rip about any of that artsy-fartsy stuff, and tells Jo Wilder to never see Mona again.

On the business end of things, Koslo learns that some of the distribution managers have been cutting the marijuana supply with tobacco. The high school kids are complaining that the stuff they’re buying isn’t any good. And the sales are dropping as a result. Koslo is ordered by the bosses back east to terminate the contracts of these managers, and do it with “a lot of noise.” Koslo brings in a 2nd hitman named Tito to help with the job. Meanwhile, Jo discovers the vial of knockout drops that Koslo got from Willie. She accuses Koslo of keeping them to use on her, to take her virginity. She has a complete hissy fit and runs away. Koslo spends the night trying to find her, only to discover that she’s run back to Mona’s arms. He shows up just in time to find Mona diving between Jo’s luscious thighs as Jo is writhing in unbridled passion. No wonder Jo doesn’t give it up for him, he figures. She’s a perverted dyke! In a rage, he beats up Mona and leaves Jo cowering on the floor. Then he and Tito head out into the night to gun down some cheating dealers.

Well, you know how these things go. Koslo’s preoccupation with Jo ends up messing everything up between him and his employers. A hit goes sloppy, a teenage girl is kidnapped, Tito ends up being a perverted psycho, a dealer flips and the police get tipped off to the entire drug operation. In the end, there is nothing left for Marty Koslo to do but go into hiding. But first, he’s gotta win Jo Wilder back!


It’s all a hot mess for Marty Koslo. Jo Wilder is one of those chicks who only live in novels like this. There are a lot of eye-rolling moments for the reader as Marty trips over his dick again and again. Lessons for the rest of us tough guys to be learned for sure; the first one being don’t get involved with bad girls who tell you how good they are. Actually that’s a terrible lesson. Where’s the fun in that?