Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Unidentified sleaze paperback

Here's still another one of those sex papebacks I've been unable to obtain any reliable information about. It's by one Jo Ann Sheer, and it's supposed to be called Alayne's Secret Pleasures. It came out in Finnish with a stupid and irrelevant title "Rinnat kuin revolverit", which means "Breasts like revolvers", which bears no relation to the novel. It came out in 1978. I can't find any book as by Jo Ann Sheer and certainly not "Alayne's Secret Pleasures". 

The book is not crime, as some of the previous examples are. This is a rather loosely narrated story of Evan, who works in a men's mag, and Alayne, who's an ex-ballerina and living with Evan. They have a fight, as Alayne asks for too much sex, and Evan whips her with a belt, which Alayne of course enjoys immensely and says later that at that time he could finally respect Evan. They part their ways, only to meet later in Germany at the launch party of a new sex magazine called European Views. The way Alayne gets her money to travel to Europe is an especially nasty one: she and her lesbian friend fight each other naked in a bar (and when I say fight, I mean it), and when Alayne wins, she has to whip her friend in front of the audience. If she declines, her friend gets thrown in the river. After the whipping the women are raped. It's no pleasure reading this stuff, though there are titillating moments. The ending is a happy one: Evan and Alayne get back together, now that Evan knows how Alayne should be treated.

There are some inside jokes and references in the book: the editing office of European Views, the new sex mag, is described in detail (I'll translate back to English): "The gay photographer, the shabby office hasn't officially been rented, the staff writers are two homeless and rootless guys, who have nowhere else to rest their heads." The publisher of European Views could be modeled after a real person, there's that certain ring to it. In one scene Evan is seen reading a copy of a 0008 book by Clyde Allison. (There's no way a Finnish writer could know this, since they have never been translated.) I believe this a bona fide American sex novel published by an obscure house, and it was written by someone who was in the industry him- or herself. 

A reader of this blog found a book that was written and published as by another writer in one of these posts: H. P. Jaye wrote a gay porn novel The Go-Down Man in 1969, published by CAJ, which could be an off-shoot of Publishers Export Center hailing from El Cajon, California. PEC seems to have ceased in 1971, so these may have been one of their latest books, which might explain why they can't be found. 

One thing more: I noticed there's a character called Joe Sheer in the first Parker novel, The Hunter, but there's no way Westlake would've written this. Is there?

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Movie review of No Country for Old Men written by a lousy typewriter

Going through some memorabilia boxes at the cellar, I found this note, written by a plastic Barbie typewriter some years ago. Seems like I intended it for publication, but never got around to doing that. So here goes! I remember struggling with the damn machine and even fixing it (the tape was torn or something like that), though I'm not handy at this kind of thing, not at all. I believe we took the typewriter back to the thrift store soon after this. The picture of the machine is taken from Pinterest. (I never fulfilled my promise of using another typewriter from now on. What is true is that I joined the typewriter group on Yahoo. I never posted there and I don't think I ever read any of the posts, and now Yahoogroups is defunct. Oh, how time flies!)

Friday, March 12, 2021

More unidentified sleaze paperbacks

 I've now been reading more of these old sleaze and porn paperbacks that were published in Finland in the late seventies, and I've come up with at least two more books that don't seem to have been published in English at all. Yet the books seem authentically American to me, with all the names of the characters, the plots and the milieus and stuff. Mind you, a foreign writer almost never gets everything right. 

The other one - the more interesting one - is Between All of Us as by Bob Grand. It was published in Finnish in 1978 under the more fitting title Himon orjat (Passion's Slaves or Slaves of Passion), and it fits nicely in the James M. Cain tradition of hardboiled crime writing. Jay Forbes is a young drifter who's left his job after winning $400 in poker. He's somewhere in Florida and runs out of luck with women and gambling. He spots an advertisement for a job at the dog-race trainer. The owner of the place is an old drunk, and his middle-aged wife, who's still good looking, seems frigid. The daughter of the man who does the actual training of the dogs is a teenage nympho. Forbes smells trouble, but doesn't leave, even though he doesn't really know why. You see where this is going to, right? And yes indeed, the wife suggests she and Forbes poison the top dog of the ranch, so the old drunk would commit suicide and they could take his money. And you see where this is leading, right? 

The book is filled with long sex scenes, but beneath them is a solid, if a bit unimaginative noir novel of the Postman Always Rings Twice school. This could've been written by Harry Whittington or Day Keene. Possibly it's an old unsold manuscript peppered with liberal sex and sold to Finland. It's happened before (Bruce Cassiday, Frank Castle, Grover Brinkman and some others), so why not with this one? 

The other one I stumbled on was called Come, Come, My Lover, and it was published as by H. P. Jaye. In Finnish it has a different title: Äitiä, tytärtä ja pikkusiskoa, which translates back as "Mother, Daughter and the Little Sister" or some such. Once again, no record of this book can be found. This is more like a curio, and it's not criminous, though several crimes occur. It's a collection of three short stories, "Sheila", "Gloria", and "Susie". The first one is about the erotic activities of a young girl, the second one is about Gloria Reasoner (sic!), the 30-year-old magazine editor and socialite who gets mixed up with a gang member who's also seen raping a gay man with his gang, and the third one is about a young girl who's gotten pregnant to a guy called Cutler Stark. Cutler is a bit hippieish and a drop-out, and Susie's mother doesn't approve of him. And of course he ends up banging the mother. After this Cutler has sex with Susie's little sister (of course he does, what did you expect?). Then Susie's conservative dad (who's also having an affair) comes home, and after he's found out what's happened he decides to evict Cutler. Instead Susie runs away, now also from Cutler. 

If anyone knows what these books are in English, and when they were originally published, or indeed if they have been published in English at all, please let me know in comments.