Sunday, July 30, 2023

Review: Remembered Sin

Remembered Sin Remembered Sin by Harry Whittington
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

One of Whittington’s fabled “missing 38”, this one is a sleazed up nurse romance telling the story of horny young nurse Lenora who decides to take in her down-and-out former lover and his nympho and psychotic wife into her home. This greatly displeases her crippled aunt housemate, and her current lover – the jealous Dr. Whalen. The psycho wife is nasty and delusional enough to keep her set pieces mostly entertaining and arguably the highlight of the book. Pretty decent plot with several secondary characters and a few somewhat steamy R-rated trysts. Solid writing and nicely paced so readable without having to skim, like so many other sleazers. The sex scenes are fairly innocuous and brief so don’t expect to get aroused. Can’t recommend it, although okay for the Whittington completists, and another addition to this blog’s “missing 38” reviews. I give it two stars.

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Thursday, July 6, 2023

Review: Silver Shot

Silver Shot Silver Shot by Gary McCarthy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gary McCarthy has written scores of Westerns and work-for-hire novels. This is the seventh novel in his Derby Man series, and the only one that I have read. As you may have guessed, the protagonist in this series wears a Derby style hat. Darby Buckingham is also a former boxer and circus sideshow strongman, now a writer of Western Dime Novels. Here Darby travels to a mining town and is soon followed by love interest Dolly, and a couple of comedic type sidekicks, where he gets involved with a corrupt stockbroker and con man who is duping the town, and Dolly into investing in a mining stock scheme. He’s also predictably a fine boxer and adversary for Darby in fisticuffs. So a few fistfights, some confusing stock trading, a murder or two, and some romance and jealousy ensue. Darby is an interesting character and worthy of a series. The writing, pacing, and dialog are solid, the plotting kind of seems like the author is making it up as he goes, which is fine, although some devices seemed far-fetched and unnecessary. I liked the writing and the character and would be interested in reading others in the series. I give this one three stars.

Recently republished by Wolfpack Publishing, including an omnibus of the entire series.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Review: Carla

Carla Carla by Sheldon Lord
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was Lawrence Block's first published novel. Marketed to men of that era (1958) as a sex book about a nymphomanic, but it could just as easily have been marketed under a different name and with different art and jacket copy to women as a romance. This is a censorship era book so the sex scenes are veiled and euphemistic but I'm sure it was quite scandalous at the time. There is one particularly gruesome scene, a flashback to when Carla was fourteen and her mother takes her to to get a back alley abortion, that shows off the kind of writer Block would become. Otherwise, the writing here is similar to what Orrie Hitt was writing at the same time. Page after page of shallow psychology passed off as the character's, mostly Carla's, thought processes.

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Sunday, July 2, 2023

Review: Come Destroy Me

Come Destroy Me Come Destroy Me by Vin Packer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bookworm Charlie channels a Holden Caulfield level of teenage angst and self-pity while struggling against psychopathic tendencies in this corker of a short novel. Charlie's infatuation with a neurotic older woman is the main focus of the narrative, among plenty of other relationship entanglements that include his mousy mother, horny sister, and the decent guy that they both get involved with, and who Charlie deeply resents. The author does an amazing job of getting into Charlie's head, his self-esteem, paranoia, and lack of remorse. Flash forwards clue the reader into what's going to happen so that we can observe the signs of Charlie’s descent, which everyone else in the story fails to pick up on. The author’s insights into mental illness are fascinating and thought provoking. A book that’s impossible to put down. I give it five stars.

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