JACK LEWIS – Blood Money. Headline Books, paperback original, 1960.

   Good old-fashioned pornography.


   Well, maybe not good, but Blood Money wears the smarmy patina of what once were Dirty Books, before Literature went the way of All Flesh. And it’s the sort of thing they used to call “Gutsy,” sub-Spillane, like the Men’s Magazines in the Barber Shop, with fights, knifings, beatings, shootings, nasty bad guys and naked ladies teeming through its crowded pages like denizens of a Turkish Bazaar.

   The story, of sorts, is set in Los Gomez, one of those fictional Latin American nations so beloved of the sweaty men’s pulps, run by a coalition of local fascists, organized crime, and the CIA. It also may be hiding Adolph Hitler, which is the crux of the plot: three ex-GIs hunting der Fuhrer for a million-dollar reward.

   I use the word “plot” very loosely, because the story consists of the narrator finding a lead, a clue, or a mysterious “meet me at…” message, then getting sapped, arrested, beat up, or tripping over a dead body and leaving his fingerprints all over it — this duly followed by a naked lady coming on the scene and flinging herself at him, knees akimbo.

   But I have to say the prose in Blood Money is serviceable — I’ve read worse in “respectable” books — the characters colorful, if familiar, and the action fast and plentiful. And the Sex… well it’s quite tame by today’s standards, but it’s written with a hard-to-define… what’s the word I’m looking for…. it sounds naughty, like the author thought he was getting away with something, and it reads like it was meant to be read under the covers with a flashlight.

   So don’t go out of your way to find a copy of Blood Money, but if you chance across it — enjoy!