Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sin Hellcat - Andrew Shaw

I saw Jodi again the other day. She's a whore now making twelve thou a year, doing quite well at it.

Nightstand Books, 1962
Unfortunately, I don't actually own the awesome paperback shown here, Instead, I got to read Sin Hellcat in a collection published by Subterranean Press titled Hellcats and Honeygirls. I started with Sin Hellcat in the collection purely because I love the title. Written by Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake in 1962, Sin Hellcat tells the story of a regular joe named Harvey, who runs into his old pal Jodi, years after their college days. Harvey is now a Manhattan Ad-man and Jodi is a high priced call girl. Jodi Gives Harvey a throw, on the house for old times sake. Harvey is married and lives in the suburbs with his wife Helen. Helen is one of those frigid dames who can kick on the heater in the house just by uncrossing her legs. Jodi reminds Harvey of the all the women he's had since college, and kick-starts a forgotten zest for life that has been missing since living in the 'burbs with "wifey-wife" Helen. You get the picture?

Each chapter ends on a cliffhanger as Block and Westlake wrote each other into a plot-line that the other had to reconcile with. For the reader, that means a lot of flashbacks to Harvey's conquests in the passion pits of his youth. All this while dangling a kidnapping caper that Jodi has hatched for some fast bread. Something involving a criminal on the lam in Brazil. Racy for its time, this novel is a nice example of the sort of book that truckers and traveling salesmen would have read in motels and truckstops. A neat little romp, with lots of legs and heaving breasts and plenty of caustic observations about marriage and mistresses, and the idiotic things men do to chase them. All delivered by a couple of young pros, early in their careers, writing to pay the bills.

I love tawdry little novels like this. I can't help it. I have no doubt that if I was riding the white-line in the early 60's I would have been hauling a slew of these paperbacks in my dufflebag. I would have lived on cans of Underwood Deviled Ham and stale Wonder Bread just to feed my addiction for these sorts of paperbacks. There are worse things in life, right?

This collection also includes A Girl Called Honey and So Willing. I believe you can easily order them for kindle readers now, as Lawrence Block has made them available once again for today's lusty little bookworms.

Otherwise, get yourself the Subterranean Press book, with this beautiful Glenn Orbik cover.

Subterranean Press, 2010. cover by Glenn Orbik, 2010