Lust Prowl (Lancer/Domino Books, 1964)

Ol Orrie’s fifth, and I think last, peeping tom novel was one of the handful of titles he did for Lancer Books’ Domino imprint in the mid-60s.  These novels were shorter than his usual 50-60K word fares, clocking in about 45K words crammed into 128 pages of small, hard-to-read type (hy do publishers think people find reading small type comfortable?)

Like The Peeper, his first peeper book, the narrator of this one is a journalist for a small town paper, reporting clandestinely on his own crimes:

Now as I sat at my typewriter, a battered Remington that ‘d had for several years, I grinned. Of course I banged away at the rumors for all they were worth, keeping everything in the rumor class, but I could have written the real story myself. Yes, I knew the real story, because I was the peeping tom. Me, Barry Warren, a husky fellow of twenty-five who lived for the coming of night, the lighted windows and the unguarded moments of an unsuspecting female. Then afterword, and seldom entirely satisfied, I’d live in a world of fear and torture and just about wanted to die. (pp. 5-6)

Another peeping tom who cannot escape his urges and, like many perverts, feels dirty after he gives in to his dark need, rather than being crass and slimy like John Belushi in Animal House

He blames a girl from his teen years, his first peep:

Sally, lovely on the surface but a bitch underneath — she’d caused me to become what I was.  She was a symbol of frustration and regret, a creature which shouldn’t have existed, a symbol that ought to be destroyed. (p. 32)

In I Prowl by Night, the narrator is obsessed with finding a woman with a strawberry shaped birth mark on her thigh like the object of his first lust peep; in this one, the obsession is a small mole under a belly button.

This one is also very similar to The Peeper,as both narrators are reporters for a small town newspaper (Rosetown here) and writing about their own prowls.  Toss in some elements of Warped Woman/Taboo Thrills (puritanical editorials against sex and sleaze) and Pushover (writing historical booklets using archived manuscripts from the old Federal Writers Project of the Depression), Hitt covers oft-tread ground…

Yet Lust Prowl is written with a clam clarity; the writer may not be exploring new themes, but his prose is more confident, his characters more vulnerable and real in this 1964 text, opposed to books written in the late 1950s.

BArry Warren is 25 and has worked at various newspaper, has roamed from one small town to the next, prowling for peeps at night.  He marries Marsha, who operates a dress store in Rosetown, because he loves her but he also thinks maybe marriage will help him stop peeping into the windows…that doesn’t work and weeks after the quick wedding, the two are separated.

Barry constantly wonders what is wrong with him, why can’t he feel normal, why can’t he be a good husband?  He tries.  He keeps doing bad things, like stealing money from the paper’s till to pay back a debt, then having the theft blamed on another employee.

Of all of Hitt’s peeping tom book, The Peeper and Peeping Tom are the best. This on is okay, and on the Hitt Scale I give it a 7.5.

One Response to “Lust Prowl (Lancer/Domino Books, 1964)”

  1. […] other Domino titles, all 40,000 words crammed into 128-pages of small type — The Color of Lust and Lust Prowl were decent reads, albeit flawed in the way a prolific authors’ many books tend to be. Loose […]

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