Vintage Reads #42: Espionage Paperbacks
I've done several posts on the espionage/action paperback genre (here, for example); and yet the well is nowhere near dry. The volume of kickass covers is seemingly endless.
Espionage/Action paperbacks are perhaps my favorite variety when it comes to being terrifically tacky. Often, an ill conceived photograph is used in lieu of illustration. And you can always count on this genre of book to deliver in terms of beautiful babes and studly tough-guys. Throw in an explosion and/or a variety of weaponry, and you've got yourself a cover.
Weaponry, babe, boat chase, stud.... yep, it's all there. As a bonus, we have the word "crack" used twice. I'm in heaven.
Okay, I'm digging the babe - but they could have probably left out the dude. Far from being a tough-guy or "dark man".... he looks like a high school principal.
A criminal genius with occult powers, you say? Hellls yes. If I'm ever appointed the Education Czar, I'll have this as required reading in every high school in the land.
This one has the obligatory babe... then takes it up a notch with ninjas. My personal theory on literature is that it can always be improved by adding ninjas. Think how much more interesting The House of Seven Gables and Silas Marner would have been if Hawthorne and Elliot had thought to include ninjas.
In addition to starring Michael Moriarity, Yaphet Kotto and Vic Tayback, this 1975 film was Richard Gere's first big screen appearance.
The text from the back cover deserves a read:
The Honolulu mob was planning the biggest heist in Art history -- The Blacker Virgins, a priceless, erotic masterpiece with a history steeped in Satanism. For Arrow, bringing back the goods meant a whopping bundle of insurance money. But when the mobsters got plugged and the painting got scooped, the game got blacker than magic. Suddenly Arrow found himself on a blood-drenched trail that led to heroin, witchcraft and a living masterpiece of sexual delight named Angel Blacker. She was a dead ringer for the girl in the picture... and Arrow was in a hotbed of trouble.
An excerpt from the novel:
Stud Pressed the gun to her forehead.
"Spread your legs, sweetmeat."
That was when I moved. He saw me coming and reached for a bronze statuette on the bookcase. He raised it over his head and came down with it. I side-stepped, caught the descending arm with both hands and flipped him. It sent Stud sailing, crashing through a coffee table. I went after him.
"Watch out, Frank!" I heard Angel shout, as he made a grab for the gun. I kicked it away and sent my heel crashing down on his hand. I felt the bones crunch as he screamed in agony.