Mr. Hot Rod by Charles Verne (Key, 1957)
I’ve mentioned before, 1957 was one busy year for ol’ Orrie — a bunch of Beacon titles, four as Roger Normandie, and two as Charles Verne.
This art is not really the dust jacket to Mr. Hot Rod — the copy I found did not come with a jacket, I just have the plain light grey boards of a hardcover. It seems this one, along with the other Charles Verne, The Wheel of Passion, never found a home as a paperback — that I know of thus far…
When I read three of the Roger Normandie-penned books, it was apparent that Hitt did not compose them alone; the change in styles from one section to the next (they were all split up into four parts, like Mr. Hot Rod is) were erratic and different in tone and pace as well as use of dialogue; there was a lot of S/M stuff, and the story lines were uneven.
Who did Hitt co-pen these books with? My guess is Jack Woodford or one of Woodford’s students, like Joe Weiss, who also published a number of books with Key Publishers. In fact, all the writers listed on the jacket flap for Key seem to have a connection with the School of Woodford style of smut writing, so I now wonder if Key was connected to The Woodford Press (that also published Hitt’s Teaser).
It looks like Orrie didn’t pen this novel as Charles Verne alone, either, but there also seems to be more of Hitt’s presence. I detected small sections that seemed un-Hitt like, as well as one an out-of-the-blue spanking scene similar to those in The Lion’s Den, where a spontaneous spanking scene turns nasty…
His right hand was poised in the air.
“You’ll pay for this!” she breathed. “Damn you, Eric Goddard, you’ll pay for this!”
His right hand descended and there was a loud smack as his palm flattened itself against her right buttock. He felt pain stab upwards to his elbow, sensed the incredible depth to which his fingers violated her body. She let out a long, low moan and hurled herself forward […]
He hit her again and again, first one buttock and then the other, and his hand became numb. Sweat poured down off his forehead, blinding him, and dripped onto the red, naked flesh beneath […] Her hands found the halter, ripped it loose, and then she made him put his hands on her other breast. The nipple was hard and pointed and every time he hit her it seemed to swell up even larger.
“Eric! Oh, Eric — use both hands!” (pp. 32-33)
Eric Goddard (a wink to Jean-Luc?) owns a gas station and repair garage; he’s a race car enthusiast who works on hot rods and started a club, the Fender Benders, in the small NY town, Millsville, pop. 7400.
The story opens with spoiled little rich girl Jayne Barton driving Eric’s hot rod, because he’s working on her Caddy to soup it up. She’s driving with Ruthie, a cute girl, who professes her love to Jayne. Jayne is cool about it, but likes the fact that Ruthie has come out with her lesbian desires.
Jayne drag races local hot rodder Freddie because Freddie thinks Eric is in the car; Freddie loses control, crashes and dies. The cops aren’t happy and start coming down hard on the local hot rod kids, writing tickets and forcing them to get rid of their Hollywood mufflers.
Eric is about to disband the Fender Benders but Jayne, full of money, offers to pay off all member debts to Eric for repairs, as well as fund a clubhouse. She also has designs on Eric, along with Ruthie — she’s bisexual, spoiled, devious…
Next comes Ann, the widow of a famous car driver who, before dying, was putting together a “one hundred eighty degree crank” for a stock car. Like The Sucker, race cars and crank engines play a pivotal role, and ol’ Orrie uses his background as a race car magazine writer and enthusiast to put in a lot of details.
Jayne is evil with her wealth, sucking Eric in, and drugging his fiancee, Mae, into a lesbianic situation with Ruthie to take photos and smear Mae’s name, so Jayne can have Eric for herself…
Eric gets brutal down the line, anally raping Ruth to get her to tell the truth and then beating Jayne for it, but Jayne gets turned on by the physical attack and asks for more. This sort of rough sex isn’t really characteristic of Orrie Hitt, but was all over the Roger Normandie books. Likewise, a scene where Eric finds Mae doing eight guys in a gangbang because she’s lost all self-respect — she doesn’t remember how she wound up having se with Ruthie, but she thinks she may be a lesbian and is trying to counter-attack that by being sexually loose and free with any guy.
Everything winds up violent, as suspected.
Yet, this one seems to have more of Hitt’s writing in it than the Normandie ones. Not a bad book, but not Hitt’s best. A 7.5 on the Hitt Scale for an engaging tale, and for being a rare, lost title in sleazecoreville.
Good luck finding a copy, however.