Monday, 17 March 2014

Falcon Digest Books !

Collecting Digest books from the late 40's and early 1950's can be seriously bad for your pocket, Looking out for books by publishers like Falcon, Ecstasy, Exotic, Croydon, Rainbow, Venus & Quarter to name a few can be an exhausting and expensive  business.

Once you start collecting these Digest size pulp books you cannot stop, I can spot one in a book shop or antique center from 50 yards, I can't explain it, I just can !, lets call it my little super power !!!!

So here I will try and show you and hopefully give you an insight into these crazy titled wacky sleazy books . So let's start with Falcon, the best and most collectable of all the digest publishers !

Falcon Books.


A Falcon Book

A Falcon Mystery


Above left is the 'A Falcon Book' Colophon, this was used on all covers except 4 titles which shows the colophon on the right 'A Falcon Mystery' which were used on covers 'The Case Of The Cancelled Redhead', 'Lay Down And Die', 'Mistress On A Deathbed' & 'Dagger Of Flesh'


For some very strange reason the Falcon series started at number 21 in 1952 and ended at number 44 in 1953. Anthony Scott's (Davis Dresser) 'Season For Sin' (see above) kicked things off, pretty much a love/ romance novel which I have read and found it to be very hard going !!great artwork which is not credited but I believe it to be by George Gross . It was from here that the series kicks into high gear, the emphasis would now lean towards crime, sex and murder and as the books got racier so do the titles and art !

The reason these books are so highly sought after is simple, quality writing and most titles were original novels and never before published. Check out titles like 'Girls Out Of Hell', 'The Evil Sleep', Junkie', Slave Girl' and loads more in a similar vein .

Here is the nearly full list from the Falcon Series , I only need one title 'Dagger Of Flesh' to complete my set . 

21 - Season For Sin - Anthony Scott (Davis Dresser)


22 - The Scarlet Bride - Mark Reed (Norman A. Daniels)


23 - Mabel & Men - George Bottari


24 - Three For Passion - Hodge Evens (Dean Owen) - Art by Howell Dodd


25 - The Case Of The Cancelled Redhead - Hamlin Daly (E. Hoffman Price) 


26 - Lay Down And Die - Mark Reed (Norman A. Daniels) 


27 - Lida Lynn - Norma Dann (Norman A. Daniels)


28 - Girls Out Of Hell - Joe Weiss - Art by George Gross.

Another book of interest and goes for big money is 'Girls Out Of Hell' # 28 by Joe Weiss, this is pure pulp fiction, dangerous women and deadly men, this also has some fine front cover art by George Gross, if you find a copy get it !



29 - Mistress On A Deathbed - Norman A. Daniels - Art by George Gross.


30 - Dagger Of Flesh - Richard S. Prather - (Need)
31 - Slave Girl - Tom Roan


32 - Sins Of The Flesh - Mark Reed (Norman A. Daniels) - Art by George Gross.


33 - Yellow-Head - Hodge Evens (Dean Owen)


34 - Shack-Girl - Norma Dann (Norman A. Daniels)


35 - Raise The Devil - David Wade (Norman A. Daniels)

Another fantastic book in the series is # 35 'Raise The Devil' by David Wade a pseudonym used by Norman A. Daniels. Now this is a proper film noir, pulp, sex, crime, murder, drug taking sleaze book !! with great front cover art ! this novel has it all, a nightclub where on the third floor, bondage and whippings are taking place for any man who has the money and time, a private eye who falls for all the girls and some real baddies who will stop at nothing to rule the town......it is brilliant !


36 - Junkie - Johnathon Craig (Frank E. Smith) - Art by Ketor Seach.

'Junkie' by Jonathon Craig also packs a punch for sure and is also as rare as hens teeth !! this is not to be confused with another sought after paperback with the same title by William S. Burroughs published by Ace Books. Both books deal with drug addiction and are superb novels in there own right, The Falcon 'Junkie' (below) also comes with probably the best art of the series by Ketor Seach, sexy smoking hopped up blonde enticing some poor guy into her room whilst her dodgy boyfriend/pusher hides behind the door waiting to pounce with bottle in hand......whack !!! ......superb !


37 - Woman Hunter - Laura Hale (Fredric Lorenz)


38 - Sweet Savage - Norman A. Daniels 


39 - Joy Street - Chet Kinsey.


40 - Whip-Hand - Hodge Evens (Dean Owen) 


41 - The Evil Sleep - Evan Hunter

The most sought after books in the series are 'The Evil Sleep' and 'Junkie' , both of these novels are key drug books and can fetch crazy prices on ebay (if they ever turn up), if you do find a copy of either in very good condition you can expect to pay anywhere from £300 - 500, not cheap but worth in my opinion every penny . Lets start with The Evil Sleep by Evan Hunter who who is now recognised as a truly magnificent crime writer, this was his first proper published adult novel and is cram packed with drugs, sex and murder. A splendid and rare book with fantastic artwork showing an oriental girl dancing for a spaced out gent with cigarette in his mouth.



42 - The Long Night - Bryce Walton - Art by Howell Dodd.


43 - House Of A 1000 Desires - Mark Reed (Norman A. Daniels) - Art work by Howell Dodd.


44 - Honky Tonk Girl - Charles Beckman JR - Art by Howell Dodd.

Another really hard to find book in the series is Charles Beckman JR's 'Honky Tonk Girl' # 44, the last book of the series... but wow !!!, great title, great art (by Howell Dodd) and a story that will drive you wild ! This book in near mint condition will set you back a ton of money (see below) but I think you will agree worth an arm and a leg for sure .



Norman A. Daniels wrote a total of 9 books in the series, two as himself , he used pseudonyms on the other seven, four as Mark Reed, two as Norma Dann and one as David Wade. In my opinion he captures the style of the early 1950's, when he writes it's sleazy and a bit dirty but most of all it has style and with characters that just leap from every page ! If you find any books by him (not just from the Falcon series) snap them up at once, top class writing ! 



Other books in the series of note are by Hodge Evens a pseudonym of Dean Owen, Dean wrote many cowboy novels in the 1940's and this is still known as his strongest field but he does write three belting titles in the Falcon series, 'Yellow-Head', Three For Passion' artwork on these two by I believe by Howell Dodd but they remain un-credited & 'Whip-Hand' , I have the first two books but am still searching for 'Whip-Hand' .......one day it will be mine !!


I must also pay attention to the back covers of these great books, some on there own are pretty cool, often  posed by professional models ! and mixed in with some great 50's blurb. Below are some of the better examples !


Above left - Back cover to Falcon # 34 using photo model and the inspiration for the cover of Falcon # 21

More Back Covers below.

Back cover - Slave Girl #31 



Back cover - Junkie #36

Back cover - Joy Street #39

So that is my Falcon book collection and story, great titles, great original writing and above all great eye catching art !
So I hope I have moistened your lips and given you a desire to track these books down and to own them for yourself. All the books posted above on this blog I own, I need just one title to complete my set, if you can help with the purchase of 'Dagger Of Flesh' by Richard S. Prather then please let me know. 

Number 2 in the series I will be looking at the publishing company 'Rainbow' .....more sleaze and more eye brow raising titles !

3 comments:

  1. I'll keep my peepers on the look-out for your missing volumes.

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  2. I'm from the UK and recently found a copy of Case of the Cancelled Redhead! It's my first Falcon book purchase and I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Great find Patrick and happy searching for the rest. Glad you like my blogs on digest books, will be adding more over the next few days !

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