Friday, September 08, 2006

The King of the Paperbacks

Stark House Press, the enterprising paperback house in Eureka, CA, seems intent on restoring lost crime classics to the ranks of print – a worthy calling of interest to fans as well as fanatics. But Stark’s covers (perhaps for budgetary reasons) are often the least interesting part of the package. So for this new release -- A NIGHT FOR SCREAMING/ANY WOMAN HE WANTED -- of two books by probably the most prolific paperback writer ever, Harry Whittington, who wrote 170 paperback originals under 20 different names, I’ve taken advantage of national treasure Bill Crider’s amazing collection of original paperback covers to show you what these two looked like when they first came out in the early 1960s.

“After the sale of his first softcover original, Slay Ride for a Lady… in 1950,” Crider writes in one of the Stark edition’s fascinating extras, Whittington “wrote and sold 25 paperback originals in the next three years.” Tell that to your friends who spend several years on one novel…