|Vintage Pulp||Aug 17 2023|
Above you see a cover for Peter Rabe's 1955 thriller Benny Muscles In. Rabe had previously debuted with Stop This Man! and would go on to write thirty novels, but he's still green here, and it shows. In the story, Benny Tapkow, a collector for the mob, decides to kidnap his boss's daughter Pat for a rival mobster. Everything goes ridiculously wrong, starting with the rival's henchmen making off with the wrong woman, and continuing with Pat getting hooked on heroin. Overall the book felt like Rabe, early in his authorial career, didn't know quite where to go with these ideas. There's plenty of grit, but not enough precision. We did like the bit, though, where Benny got all quantum: [She] isn't dead. And she isn't alive. She's right between, and the more Pendleton stalls, the worse it'll be for her. Well, maybe that isn't exactly quantum, but it's close, if unintentional. But Rabe would make legit quantum leaps with later works. The art on this Gold Medal edition is by Lu Kimmel.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 1 2022|
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 20 2019|
|Vintage Pulp||Jul 21 2019|
Above is a cover by Lu Kimmel, an artist we've featured only once before, but who painted many paperback fronts, and delved as well into advertising, portraiture, and fine art. We'll see him again later. Joseph Millard's The Wickedest Man was originally published as The Gentleman from Hell and was based on real-life figure Ben Hogan—not the golfer. So what did the evil Hogan do? He was a con man, a murderer, a spy for both the Union and Confederate armies during the U.S. Civil War, a brawler, a jury tamperer, a whorehouse proprietor, and worst of all—as indicated by our subhead—a politician. There are several books about the guy, but Millard's is probably the best known. This Gold Medal edition came in 1954.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 16 2018|
Customs agents always say these stops are random but when it happens three times in five trips that's an obvious lie. Probably—and this is a guess, because we have no idea what customs agents see when they scan a passport—these stops have to do with PSGP's travel history, which includes visits to such dubious countries as Russia, Honduras, and various nations and islands in the vicinity of Cuba. One time an agent even asked him casually, “So how did that trip to Cuba work out for you?” even though there was no visa—obviously—to that effect in PSGP's passport. Columbo these agents are not.
Anyway, during one of these searches the agent in charge saw a giant pulp anthology in PSGP's luggage and immediately got all friendly, like, “Oh, you dig this kind of stuff, do you?” PSGP: “Of course.” Agent: “What do you like about it?” PSGP: “Cops, crooks, corruption, violence, you know.” Agent: “Well, you can close your bag up. I think we're done here.” Ever since then whenever PSGP goes Stateside he carries a pulp novel prominently placed on his person. And there have been no problems in customs since. Coincidence? Maybe.
But it's best to be equipped anyway, so this time he carried the above edition of I, the Jury sticking out of the breast pocket of his jacket, and customs was even smoother than usual. Also a beautiful Lufthansa flight attendant on one of the planes was even like, “Oh, passion, crime, and suspense, eh? Sounds like fun.” Yes, customs agents are soothed and even the most jaded of stews gets flirtatious when those words are sticking out of your breast pocket. So consider this a piece of advice: if you're concerned with customs carry a pulp novel, and if you carry a pulp novel, carry Spillane.