Art / Cover Art

Beautiful America: Pulp Fiction

I love used book stores. I have never really been attracted to new book stores, for a couple of reasons. As a child and teen, I couldn’t afford to pay cover price for a book. I think the only books I ever had brand new was the complete LM Montgomery set in paperback that was my christmas present one year. Bliss, indeed. I passed what was left of them on to my own daughters.

Secondly, as an adult it was the era of Borders and Barnes & Nobles, and although I shopped often enough at them, once children came I once again had no money to squander on new books. Besides, used book stores are special. They contain a random assortment of knowledge, bundled in packages of all shapes and sizes, and they smell right. If I can’t find a proper used book store, I will do what I did this weekend, and go junking, instead. My First Reader had seen a Peddler’s Mall in Lebanon, Ohio, so when we had the day to ourselves, we drove over to see what it held. Mostly antiques, mostly terribly overpriced, although I did pick up the rolling pin I had been looking for.

Each booth held a wildly different selection of items, the byproduct of different people selling whatever they had found. There were plenty that held books, but to my disappointment most were modern dreck, some of which I read, but that is what the library is for, when I want what I call a bon-bon book. What I was looking for were noir novels. Old paperbacks, yellowed pages, tattered covers, and that wonderfully gritty pulp fiction look to the covers.

I succeeded in finding some in one booth, where the seller had them bundled with a strip of paper. I could see the titles, mostly, and part of the cover of the one in front with the back blurb of the last one. I rejected at least one bundle for containing westerns, which I wasn’t interested in (this trip!) and snagged the other two to come home with me. They may be obscure, and badly written (most likely) but the cover art is interesting and the ‘flavor’ of the books I want to take away as I am writing Trickster Noir.

I thought I’d share the art with you, today, especially as some of it is so over the top as to be amusing and amazing.

Pulp Fiction

My haul for the day… Colorful, isn’t it?

Pulp ficiton art

This dame has evil eyes…

Pulp Ficiton broad

I’m not sure what’s up with the one Spock brow.

Pulp Ficiton violence

Little details you could almost miss on one cover.

Pulp Fiction Cover

At first I thought he was going to hit her, even though she has a gun, then I realized he’s not even looking at her. What’s going on here?

Danger for Breakfast

The title amuses me. And what is she holding?

Pulp swampy cover

Something about this cover made me think it was a Western, at first.

Pulp Fiction woman

Who has yellow eyes? The back describes her as a honey-blonde, but I thought that meant the hair!

When Eight Bells Toll

I think he’s pulling a knife. That would be because there’s no way he’s running, in those flippers. Where is the water, anyway?

Pulp Cover

Why does Monaco always wind up the setting of these books? Simple alliteration?

pulp Fiction art

She looks like she knows something. And white hair?


3 thoughts on “Beautiful America: Pulp Fiction

  1. These remind me of the hardback covers of the Hardy Boys I read growing up…except these are grittier, as it were. I’m rather a fan of Yellow Eyes and Spock Brow; you should write a yellow-eyed, white-haired femme fatale into Trickster Noir 😉

    And on a different note, LM Montgomery! I love her books!


    • There’s a certain style to every decade of illustrations, it seems. Most of these are 1950’s era.

      Maybe I will do that – fits with where my plot seems to be going. Thanks 🙂

      And I indentifed with Anne (with an E!) as a girl. But my favorite of hers is one I didn’t find until much later, Blue Castle. That’s a more grown-up story, too.


  2. A friend of mine in high school had golden eyes. I am not kidding. She was from Brazil. The color must be an expression of a very pale brown. She was pretty cool looking.

    There’s something about the cover of Go Home, Stranger that makes me desperately want to read it.


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