Friday, September 11, 2015

FFB: A Strange Kind of Love -- Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block)

Lawrence Block wrote this book in 1959, when he was just starting out.  My copy is the second printing from 1967.  I read it mainly because it's about a writer, and I can't resist a book about a writer.

The writer's name is Dan Larkin, and he begins his career much like Block did, writing for all kinds of publications under many different names.  Larkin sells everything he writes, and then he goes to Hollywood where he's making the Big Bucks until his drinking and an unfortunate love affair end his career there.  He winds up back in New York, a broke drunk who needs new start.  He takes a cheap room in a house owned by a beautiful young woman, and it won't surprise you to learn that sex ensues almost at once.

Sex ensues a lot in this book, of course.  It's a Midwood book, after all.  There's straight sex, lesbian sex, whipping sex, even more violent sex.  It's a little surprising how much Block could get away with back in 1959.  This book has as much sex for its length as the recent The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes.  In many books like this in the old days, all that sex had to be punished in the end.  I can say no more.

That is, I can say no more about the plot, which doesn't matter much, anyway.  What really sells this book is the stuff about writing, which I found quite interesting.  I think it must be based at least in part on Block's own experience.  And then there's the stuff about New York.  Even 55 years ago, Block was waxing lyrical about the city, and his love of it comes through here is several passages. 

While this book is apprentice work, it's surprisingly well done. Block had written several other books by this time, and he's starting to find his voice here.  An interesting and entertaining book.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Darn, now you made it sound interesting enough that I'll have to read it. I know Block seems to be reissuing a lot of these old ones as ebooks these days, I already have several of them.

OK, I bought it. I hope you're happy now.


Unknown said...

I should get a commission.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

You should. I have not read this one.

Just finished the new one of his from HCC and enjoyed it.

George said...

I could kick myself when I think of all the Sheldon Lord paperbacks I passed up in the Sixties. I should have bought them all!

Rick Robinson said...

Think of all the money you saved, George.

Unknown said...

I can see where this would appeal to a man like you, who has known the dizzy heights of success and plumbed the depths of degradation. Seriously, I seem to recall from my porno-reading days that the Midwoods were a bit above average.

Unknown said...

Yes, it was like I have a twin!