Archive for the Midwood Books Category

For Your Reading Pleasure: The Cheaters

Posted in Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags on April 9, 2010 by orriehittfan

The full text for you to eyeball…

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Ebook of The Cheaters

Posted in Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags on April 2, 2010 by orriehittfan is offering Hitt’s The Cheaters, one of his best Midwoods next to Hired Lover, as an ebook download.

The book will also be in a paperback reprint from Black Mask, with a new cover by Goodloe Byron, with a special preface written by Michael Hemmingson.

Girl of the Streets (Midwood #12, 1959)

Posted in Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , on March 12, 2010 by orriehittfan

All of Hitt’s Midwood titles are fairly easy to find and not too pricey — The Cheaters and Two of a Kind will get up there.  For some reason, Girl of the Streets is rare to locate and fetches $40-60 on the market.

All of Hitt’s Midwoods are excellent novels. The weakest is A Doctor and His Mistress, followed by this one and then Unnatural Urge (the best are Hired Lover, The Cheaters, Two of a Kind, As Bad as They Come, Affair with Lucy, and Summer Romance).

There is nothing wrong with this one, per se, it’s just the same sort of story Hitt has re-told in many a cover — such as Sin Doll,and both have the same heroine name, Sherry Collins, and both get roped into the sin world of flesh and photos. Other books with the same: Campus Tramp, Three Strange Women, Sheba, etc.

Sherry grew up on River Street, the town’s seedy part where cheap hookers and booze is always available, and shady characters sell reefer and girly pics on the street.  But she is a good girl, despite her 38-19-34 figured that all men and boys crave for.

She works in a typing pool at an office and makes $70 a week, $30 going to her parents so they can pay rent and her dad can booze it up.  She finally gets fed up and leaves them, moving into a room rented out by the parents of her boyfriend, Frank.  She gives in to Frank, thinking it is true love, and then catches Frank with another girl.

She moves next to a River Street girl’s boarding house that caters to “loose” women who make money in an amoral way consistent with “the street.”  She shares a room with a young woman who paints and winds up getting seduced by her, having a wild lesbian experience.

All the while she is trying to focus at her job but keeps making typing mistakes; the office manager says her job is on the line and one day she is called into the head man’s office, Freddie Parks. She expects to be canned but instead Mr. Parks tells her he has had his “eye” on her and would like her to represent the company in the local country club beauty pageant.

She is flattered, floored, and naive to boot — others try to warn her, and she soon figures out that these beauty contests are rigged and just a way for old married businessmen to flirt and sleep with pretty young girls. Freddie has rigged the contest so the judges will vote for her — this is after he beds Sherry.  She is naive enough to think that dinner and drinks with her married boss is nothing serious — she holds up her guard until he tells her sweet nothings and how he will leave his wife and marry her.  He even makes her his personal secretary, not knowing that there ave been three other secretaries, all whom he impregnated.

Meanwhile, the local River Street smut merchant and pimp, Sammy Gaines, has been hounding her to let him take naked pictures of her. He offers $500. She keeps refusing and he assures her that one day she will be desperate for cash and will come to him…

And the day comes when SHerry’s mother falls down a flight of stairs and breaks her back, needed a $1000 surgery.  So she goes to him, the photos are taken, she stoops below her moral standard…

This is somewhat a depressing story, and Hitt draws a well-rounded portrait of a young lady in the 1950s trying to survive in a world run by men, either in the sex racket or the business world. She finds that she has power using her body but she also loathes it.  All the men in her life are heels, except for Frank, who redeems himself and provides for a sappy, happy ending.

On the Hitt Scale, a 7.5

Summer Romance (Midwood #16, 1959)

Posted in Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , on February 28, 2010 by orriehittfan

One of Hitt’s handful of Midwood titles tackling several pet themes: a summer resort hotel in the Catskills, a May/December marriage between a twenty-four-year-old woman, Ruth, and the fifty-eight-year-old hotel owner, Sam.  Makes no mistakes about this marriage — it’s all about money. Ruth grew up poor and has no desire to be poor for the rest of her life.

She worked as a waitress for Sam and Sam is known for trying to bed every femle employee he can.  She traps him by pretedning to be pregnant and then denying him her body — driving him so crazy that he proposes.  Now, two years later, she cannot stand him, he wants a son, and she has her lovers — their is Eddie, the desk manager, and the new hire, Ted, and assistant manager, whose girlfriend, Peggy, works for the Wildwood Hotel.

Peggy, however, walks the twilight world of secret sex and one night when she and Ruth get drunk and friendly, Peggy seduces Ruth. Now Ruth is confused because she liked having sex with Peggy but does not believe she is a lesbian because she also loves sex with men. She’s bi-sexual but at that time in the 1950s, such a label was unheard of.  You were either straight or queer.

While Peggy has designs on a serious relationship with Ruth, Ruth falls in love with Ted and Sam finds out about Ruth’s trysts with Eddie, threatening to divorce her and leave her penniless. This puts a huge dent in Ruth’s plans. But her luck, Sam gets so pissed off he drinks himself to death — literally, dying in a booth in is own hotel bar.

Now Ruth has everything but Peggy and Eddie blackmail her for pieces of the new pie…

I was surprised by this one by Hitt, it was well written but also did not have the cliches plot twists and events that are in his other resort hotel novels. Maybe because this was a Midwood title.

It also doesn’t have a ppatent happy ending — the ending is rather tragic and sad, in fact, despite all of Ruth’s bad traits, we feel for her plight.  She’s just a poor girl trying to get ahead in what she feels in an unfair world that treats simple, uneducated gals like herself like dirt — you are either a whore or a wife in her world, and she wants to be neither, yet in many ways is both.

This gets a 9.5 on the Hitt Scale.

As Bad as They Come (Midwood #23, 1959)

Posted in Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by orriehittfan

Like other 1959 Hitt Midwoods Hired Lover and Affair with Lucy, this is a terse first-person tale with a hardboiled edge, about a heel salesman who womanizes his way until all hell breaks loose.

Art is lead sales guy at a mail order catalog firm; he’s indeed as bad as they come just as another Hitt anti-hero was Rotten to the Core. He works in Manhattan, but commutes via train to Middletown, outside Port Jervis, an hour and a half ride, so he often has an excuse to stay overnight in the city if he “misses” the train from staying late at the ofice, when in fact he’s gotten a room or is staying with another woman. His wife seems to trust him — she thinks he makes $200 a week but he actually makes $350 — that $150 is needed for rooms, dinners, drinks, gifts, or even women he pays for sex.  He wonders

why couldn’t I be happy with the wife I had and stop chasing other women?  For the first few months of our marriage — we had been living in New York then — I had tried it and almost made it work. I had only been an assistant in the office then, making seventy a week, and every pay day I handed my envelope over to her. Then I had been assigned to do some work with a married girl and we had gotten friendly […] All the promises I had made myself about being faithful to my wife had fled under the driving pressure of her lips.  (p. 12)

At least he has a conscience about it, so maybe he isn’t all that bad.  Art is not insatiable about  women as much as he’s been sedued by the act of seduction itself — to conquer, acquire, because it makes him feel on top of the world.  He’s also succumbed to the desire of money.

I ought to be satisfied. I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted more. I wanted the whol damn business and then I would be set. Once I had the business in my hands I could have all that I wanted and all the dames I could take care of.

Hell, I’d have everything. (pp. 12-13)

He’s also in debt up to his ears, often missing payments on the car his wife uses. His attitude: “The finance company could wait. They had more money than I did” (p. 32).

Then a monkey wrench is tossed into his plans — one of his lovers at the office, Linda, informs him that she’s pregnant, the baby is his, she plans to have the baby, and she wants him to divorce his wife and marry her, the proper thing to do…

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Many Hitt Titles Yet to Read

Posted in Beacon Books, Kozy Books, Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books on December 8, 2009 by orriehittfan

Affair with Lucy (Midwood #10, 1959)

Posted in Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , , on November 16, 2009 by orriehittfan

Hitt - Affair with Lucy

Ah, back to the Orrie Hitt we all know and love — after three disappointing books, it was actually welcoming to return to insurance agents on the make, insurance scams, married women with murderous designs, young women married to older men, the nudie pic racket, the deflowering of a virgin, and existential alcoholism in a small upper NY state town of Waverly.

Hitt - Married Mistress - LucyAffair with Lucy was an early Midwood, #10, published between Summer Romance and Hired Lover (Midwood began numbering books with #7, Sheldon Lord’s Carla).  It was later reprinted as Married Mistress. It was the first Hitt Midwood too, followed by Girl of the Streets (#11) Hired Lover as Fred Martin (#13), Summer Romance (#16) and As Bad as They Come (#23) — all published in 1959.  1960 would see A Doctor and His Mistress and The Cheaters and Two of a Kind.

There are many women named Lucy in Orrie Hitt’s world, from Lucy to The Strangest Sin.  That’s okay, even if the name isn’t the sexiest around (too many connections to Lucille Ball). Sometimes Lucy is a good woman, sometimes se’s a bad one.

Here, she’s a bad one, with white sand blonde hair and a body to kill for — which narrator Pete Clayton gets suckered into doing.

Pete is numb and cares little for life or others, feeling the pain of loss: his wife Alice died from some sort of illness; he sold their childless home (she was desperate for a baby but couldn’t happen) and moved into  rooming house.  He is ready to leave Waverly and move to New York City with a different insurance company.

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