Thursday, January 29, 2015

All My Lovers - Alan Marshall (Donald E. Westlake)

She didn't move, didn't cry out, didn't even stiffen. He swung the belt again, pleased by the smacking sound of the leather hitting her skin, and still she didn't move. His arm worked back and forth, and the belt whipped away and cracked against her skin, whipped away again and sliced back. "Scream, dammit," he said, his voice low and tense. "Scream."

1961, Midwood (Tower) Publications
The cover indicates this novel is "The Bizarre Story of a Marriage Made in Hell!" and, brothers and sisters, it ain't kidding! I had no idea when I picked this book up that it was written by Donald Westlake. I grabbed it because it's a Midwood paperback and I usually pick up Midwood books if they're in decent enough shape and the price is reasonable. Reading it I was mildly impressed by how well written it was for a "sleazy" little page-turner. That was before I learned Westlake had written it. Then it was a big "no duh!" moment for me.

We first meet the novel's heroine Lou, short for Eloise, at a party in Greenwich Village. The scene is abuzz and the crowd is high, as Lou sits on a sofa waiting for her boyfriend, Jeffrey, to return with their drinks. While waiting, Lou is fending off another drunk putting the make on her. She decides that she's too old for this phony Greenwich Village bullshit and talks Jeffrey into taking her back to his pad, which we soon discover, she pays the rent on. Wild sex ensues...Midwood style!

Meanwhile, Martin is waiting for his wife to return home from her latest fling. He's a 30-something year old successful finance guy with a spread overlooking Central Park. Basically a real dick. He passes the time abusing, torturing and raping his young Puerto Rican housekeeper, whom he insists on calling Roxanne. And with this we're introduced to the lovely couple Lou and Martin, and their fucked up marriage.

Later in the novel we learn that Lou and Martin's trouble started on their wedding night, when Lou made the big mistake of telling Martin that she wasn't a virgin. Not just one or two guys either, but lots of guys, from high school and on through college. Martin, a guy with serious "mommy" issues doesn't take this news about his new bride too well. Especially since he's still a virgin. It's all too much for him to deal with, How could Mommy do this to him? He has a meltdown and leaves her alone in their hotel room. On the way out of the lobby he tells the bellman that there is a woman ready and waiting for some action up in his hotel room. And there you have their marriage in a nutshell.

For reasons never clear, divorce is out of the question. Martin insists that Lou remain his wife, no matter how many lovers and gigolos she hooks up with. For his part, he's happy beating and raping helpless women and prostitutes, and paying them off for their participation.

Soon enough, Jeffrey has had enough of Lou and her fucked up marriage to Martin. He kicks Martin's ass and bolts out of her life, back to the Village and back on the hunt for his next sugar momma. Meanwhile Lou pines away for her lost love, Sebastian (nicknamed Bastard!) to return which, as things in novels must follow, he does.

From there on out it's Bastard and Lou, Martin and prostitutes, hot sex, whippings, hot sex, beatings and more hot sex culminating in a final betrayal that I didn't see coming.

So, good old stuff from the early days of a terrific writer. Thanks Midwood!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Butcher #35 Gotham Gore - Stuart Jason

"You--you--" he couldn't finish. She was already coiling into him, her long legs outflung. Almost grimly, he took her. One last violent, thrusting, throbbing entrance. She gurgled in joy in that low husky voice of hers. He hammered back at her, gently but firmly. Waves of passion washed over them both again. The release this time was a bubbling, loose ride down a long sweet hill. 

Pinnacle Books, July 1982 - cover by Earl Norem
Okay then, looks like The Butcher has got things well in hand, in this, his 35th and final, adventure. Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil any endings here. In fact, I had no idea this was the last novel in the series when I picked it up. I wonder if maybe Michael Avallone knew this was it for the Butcher when he wrote it. I had a hunch, while reading it, that he did. A couple of times in the novel he name drops a certain private eye named Ed Noon, a pal of The Butcher's. He also name-drops James Reasoner and Harry Whittington, two writers whose work I really enjoy. Anyway...

As far as adventures go, this one is a pretty cool one. It's got a "secret hideout of Satanic witchery" run by a nut by the name of Michael Franklin Unzer (referred to throughout as Mfu) and his partner Baron Friedrich Von Zapp, a former SS goon who utters hein all the time. Hanging out with Von Zapp is a Russian-French babe named Ilga Mornay.

She might have stepped out of an old Joan Crawford movie...Her face was triangular, with flaring nostrils, a thick-lipped sullen mouth and those cat eyes set in a mask whose skin was pure alabaster. Her jet-black hair was worn Cleopatra-style--the bangs bit.

Want to lay odds that Bucher and Ilga will be throwing down? Of course they do! Ilga is one of those icy-hot babes that likes to torture men with her overwhelming animal magnetism and, needless to say, she's got Bucher lined up in her sights...but wait! Also in the plot is a frigid red-haired dish named Frances Fern. You know, the kind of gal who has been waiting for a guy like Bucher to come along and take her all caveman style, thereby awakening the she-beast within...and all that stuff.

The whole caper involves this Mfu cat who has settled in Lake Placid to run his Satanic cult and mumbo-jumbo and what-not. There is rumor that his cult is also a front for human smuggling. Not really something that White Hat (Bucher's organization) would bother with. Except that White Hat has learned that the Syndicate might be bankrolling Mfu's game, which involves weapon smuggling and a terrorist plot against Manhattan. It's also assumed that Mfu is likely a former SS official who has resurfaced after escaping into South America years before. Man, I got to tell you, this is the kind recipe a dork like me can't resist!

Bucher rolls into Lake Placid with his guns and exploding chewing gum...yes, his exploding chewing gum! and immediately discovers a cache of hand-grenades hidden in a produce delivery truck. He dispatches said truck and its contents with a wad of exploding chewing gum, and immediately comes under the scrutiny of Baron Von Zapp, thanks to a one-eyed, one-armed chopper pilot who had been monitoring the delivery of hand-grenades from the sky. Vonn Zapp contacts Bucher, who is using the alias Dix Hernan while staying in town. Von Zapp offers Bucher (as Dix Hernan) a job with Mfu but first he wants to know who sent Hernan into to screw up the shipment of grenades. If Bucher's story isn't good enough then it's the Big Sleep for him. Bucher offers up a name from a rival outfit, in the hopes that Mfu will believe that the Syndicate is setting him up for a betrayal of sorts. It really doesn't matter, because Bucher has got Ilga to screw first. Ilga sets herself up as some kind of over-sexed vixen, but when push comes to pushin' real good, Bucher discovers that she's a bum lay who has never had an orgasm before. Until he's come along, that is.

Meanwhile, Bucher has noticed Frances Fern, the redheaded chick with the Gloria Steinem glasses. Seems that she's the town librarian and has some kind of connection to Mfu. Is she a "damsel in distress? or a Devil Girl?" Well, that's Bucher's job to find out. That and killing some goons and getting into Mfu's lair and blowing shit up with his explosive chewing gum and fending off the advances of Ilga Mornay while deflowering Frances Fern. It's all shoot first, aim later kind of stuff...but I liked it the whole way.

Yes, it's a pulpy blast of fun, and probably a decent sendoff for the series. I've got a few others in my collection that I'll be getting to eventually.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lone Star and the Denver Madam by Wesley Ellis

She stood with her legs pressed together, hands locked demurely below her navel. The posture gave her a shy-little-girl look--it also bowed her shoulders and let the narrow straps of the garment slide down her arms. The pale fabric hung precariously on the points of her breasts, boldly baring the rosy tops of her nipples. If she moved now, risked even half a breath...

Jove Books, August 1983
Well howdy, Ma'am! Yes, this is none other than Jessie Starbuck doing what she does best, tantalizing another hombre in the 13th Lone Star adventure Lone Star and the Denver Madam. I have to thank Thomas McNulty and his enjoyable blog for introducing me to the erotic adventures of Jessie and her pal Ki as they fight crime and ne'er-do-wells in the wild west. I've seen these books for years in used book stores but haven't given one a ride until just this past December. There are a few hundred of titles to choose from in the series, but I wanted to find something from as close to the beginning as I could, hence number 13 getting the spotlight here.

As plots go, it's all really straightforward. Jessie Starbuck is a wealthy heiress whose old man was murdered by a nefarious cartel of anonymous rich and powerful SOBs seeking to rule the world, or something like that. Since this is the 13th book in the series, we're supposed to know the deal here, so not a whole lot is explained about this cartel other than they're Prussian. It doesn't really matter, because right away we're in the big city of Denver as Jessie and Ki, her half-Japanese martial artist companion, arrive to investigate the mysterious death of one of Jessie's childhood friends named Lynnie. Lynnie had recently popped up after years of being missing and presumed dead under the new name of Marie D'Avenant "famed French beauty" and fiance of U.S. Senator Marcus Hall. Jessie has recently received a desperate telegraph from Lynnie (AKA Marie D'Avenant) pleading for Jessie's help. Trouble is that Marie D'Avenant mysteriously dies before Jessie and Ki can come to Denver to help her.

As far as everyone in Denver is concerned, Marie D'Avenant died tragically of natural causes by a sudden heart attack in her sleep, brought on by years of wild living in gay Paree. Only Jessie and Ki ain't buying that load of horse manure for one second! Jessie is convinced that her old friend Lynnie was murdered, and most likely by the same cartel who murdered her father.

As we follow Jessie and Ki mixing with the upper crust society of Denver we run into a passel of suspects and plenty of horny hi-jinx to boot! First off, Ki hooks up with a spunky girl-reporter Annie McCullough, who is so hot for action that the slightest erotic touch of a man like Ki sends her into fits of orgasms, from which she passes out before the act of sex is actually culminated. Ki then hooks up with the hot Amanda van Rijn, the young wife of rich and powerful old Charles van Rijn, Ki and Amanda only know each other for a few hours before they're knocking boots behind old Charles van Rijn's back. It's okay, Amanda tells Ki, because ol' Charles hasn't been able to get lead in his pencil in years!

And don't worry about Jessie missing out in all the fun. She's been having run-ins with Senator Marcus Hall. Sparks fly and spurs jangle, and...well you know what happens next!

In the midst of all the action in the boudoirs there is plenty of action going on outside as well. Jessie and Ki are in Denver only a day before attempts on their lives commence. There are also some strange goings on among the society folk and their young wives to make Jessie and Ki plenty suspicious of everyone and anyone. It all culminates in an appropriately pulp-worthy showdown in a castle in the mountains, complete with a "mad doctor" of sorts and his sadistic henchmen.

I enjoyed the book and will likely read more of Jessie's and Ki's adventures. The books themselves seem plenty easy to find, and I understand there are several tie-ins with the Longarm series.