Sunday, 9 November 2014

Five new paperbacks

On November 3, I wrote about my visit to a secondhand bookshop (Musings on a Moody Monday) tucked away in the recesses of a glass-fronted mall not very far from my residence. I forgot to mention either the name of the bookshop or the five new paperbacks I picked up. My friend, Col Keane, who reviews novels and interviews novelists at his blog Criminal Library, wanted to know which books I’d bought. Good point, seeing as we like to know the books we buy and add to our tottering pile. 

The name of the bookshop is Bookmark whose tagline—Mark yourself with knowledge—doesn't make sense, and these are the five crime novels I added to my collection. The covers are the exact replicas of my paperbacks.

Eighty Million Eyes (1966) by Ed McBain: In No.21 of the 87th Precinct Mystery series, Stan Gifford, America's most beloved comedian, dies on camera in front of eighty million eyes. Enter the persistent detectives of the 87th Precinct.

Darker Than Amber (1966) by John D. MacDonald: In No.7 of the Travis McGee novel, the salvage consultant, who lives on a houseboat, and his friend Meyer get involved with the death of Evangeline. The woman with “darker than amber eyes” lured men onto her boat, robbed them, and threw them overboard when she was done with them.

My Fawcett edition of the novel, as pictured alongside, was printed in 1966, the year it was published, but it’s not a first edition. The back cover has a small colour portrait of Travis McGee and a black-and-white picture of JDM with a brief profile
.

The Case of the Sliding Pool (1981) by E.V. Cunningham: I have read many novels by the prolific Howard Fast but none under his E.V. Cunningham pseudonym. In No.5 of the Masao Masuto mystery series, the Nisei detective with the Beverly Hills police department investigates a thirty-year old crime after a swimming pool weakens and gives way, sending tons of concrete crashing into the canyon below, and unearths a corpse. A Nisei is a person born in the United States of parents who emigrated from Japan.

Mack Bolan: The New War Book by Don Pendleton: In No.63 of the Executioner series, credited to Wiley Slade, Aaron Hill, and Judy A. Newton, one-man action hero Mack Bolan takes on the evil Hydra who is “out to rape the world and eat it whole.” This illustrated novel is short but it has plenty of add-ons like Bolan’s combat catalogue, a gallery of characters from Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan, Able Team, Phoenix Force, and Stony Man series, and the various terrorist organisations in all four series, among other features. 

Split Image (2010) by Robert B. Parker: In No.9 of the Jesse Stone series, the last and final instalment, Chief Stone investigates the murder of a man found crammed into the trunk of an abandoned car. The corpse turns out to be Petrov Ognowski, a tough guy for a local mob boss. Stone gets involved in the high-ranking crime even as he grapples with his personal life, his failed marriage and his battle with the bottle.

I didn’t realise I had bought five series novels till I was halfway through writing this post. Since I have never read E.V. Cunningham and Robert B. Parker before, I’ll probably start with either of their novels. Mack Bolan is an old favourite and although his stories are stereotype, I never tire of reading about his vigilante war. Originally created by Don Pendleton, the series has been kept alive by other writers. The hardcore noir of Ed McBain and John D. MacDonald requires no introduction. 


I miss the days when I borrowed just one book from the library, read it over a couple of days, and went back and borrowed another. There was a simple pleasure and a quiet satisfaction in reading like that.


Source of JDM cover: www.johndmacdonaldcovers.files.wordpress.com

14 comments:

  1. Darker than amber is one of my favorite Travis McGee books.

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    1. Charles, I have a few of JDM's Travis McGee novels, all unread as yet.

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  2. Some great books there, Prashant. I have three other books by E.V. Cunningham and have read one of them, but I don't have this one and it has a beautiful skull cover. Very nice.

    I haven't read any of Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series, but I would like to try the first one someday.

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    1. Tracy, thank you. I'm easily drawn to paperbacks with covers that leap at you. The JDM cover is also very good, almost like the cover of an sf novel. I might hold on to them after I read them, instead of giving them away as I do.

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  3. Nice haul! "Mark yourself with knowledge" might make sense as the slogan for a tattoo parlor.

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    1. Kelly, thank you. That's why I called it a tagline even though it lacked any punch. A tattoo parlour might have better luck with the line.

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  4. Cheers for the mention. A nice stash! I have the first two I think, though I haven't yet gotten up as far as number 7 when attempting to read MacDonald's Travis series.
    I have probably heard of and seen Cunningham books but they obviously didn't leave an impression on me. I think I may have read one Mack Bolan book in the dim and distant past, and whilst I read Robert Parker in the past, I stopped reading him before he launched this series. I used to love his Spencer books, before tiring of them.
    No doubt all 5 of these will be read and reviewed in November? Haha

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    1. Col, thank you, and you are most welcome. There is no way I'm going to read all five this month or the next! I'm thinking of reading and reviewing the E.V. Cunningham novel well before year-end. I liked Howard Fast's novels, so I'll probably like his pseudonymous output too. I continue to read Mack Bolan and the other three series from the Don Pendleton stable for sheer entertainment. In fact, I have nearly two dozen of the Mack Bolan-Able Team-Phoenix Force-Stony Man paperbacks.

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  5. Prashant: I have read and re-read all the Travis McGee mysteries. Overall it is my favourite mystery series.

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    1. Bill, I enjoyed the few JDM novels I have read so far and I'm planning to get cracking on some of the Travis McGee mysteries in my possession.

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  6. Some great stuff there (never read anythign by Bolan) and have yet to read SPLIT IMAGE - that'll keep you busy Prashant!

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    1. Sergio, thank you. I already have enough to keep me busy for the next two years! SPLIT IMAGE is my third Robert B. Parker novel, not that I have read the other two. I'm going to try and read at least one before Christmas.

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  7. Nice haul Prashant - I don't know any of them: the Cunningham sounds the most appealing to me. I don't know him under either this name or the other one, I must go and look him up.

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    1. Moira, thank you. I'm sure you'll enjoy reading Howard Fast who also wrote under the pen names E.V. Cunningham and Walter Ericson. He was prolific. I recommend his series of interconnected novels — THE IMMIGRANTS, SECOND GENERATION, and THE ESTABLISHMENT.

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