Cotton Comes To Harlem, by Chester Himes (Panther, 1969).
From a charity shop in Canterbury.
'Like a flick-knife. It is tough, weird, vicious, and quite remarkably un-put-downable…”Cotton” has a nightmarish quality, spiced with knock-'em-down-dead lovelies, who, as usual in Chester Himes's world, live naturally and frankly for sex and money. Or money and sex.'
The Outlaws, by Alex R. Stuart (NEL, 1972).
From a charity shop in Canterbuy, Kent.
84 KILLED AS HELL’S ANGELS RIOT AT ROCK FESTIVAL!
That’s the world of the Bikers and their leader Little Billy - a mind-snapping, road-raping, nightmarish renegade - daring the whole country to mess with him.
His long greasy mane whips and streams past the glaciated valkyrie face of his black-booted old lady. His long, curving, dawn-catching, two-pronged claws, replacements for his left hand and forearm, victim of a Californian outlaw axe.
There’s no mistake and no second chances with Little Billy.
The Mind Thing, by Fredric Brown (Hamlyn, 1979). Cover illustration by George Underwood.
From a second-hand book shop in Charing Cross Road, London.
HE WAS INCAPABLE OF LOVE OR MERCY…
OR EVEN HATE.
FOR ‘HE’ WAS REALLY AN ‘IT’ -
A BEING FROM ANOTHER GALAXY.
A BEING WITH A DEVILISH MISSION.
THE MIND THING
He was almost pure thought, and doing what he had to do - looking for the right body to play host to him. Till then he would move from creature to creature, killing each host once it had served its purpose. For the Mind Thing had one objective - to find the host whose knowledge and powers could help him escape from exile.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghostly Gallery, edited by Kaye Webb (Puffin, 1967).
From a charity shop in Nottingham.
For fearless readers of ten upwards.
'Good evening, and welcome to Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery. This is your perennial host speaking. It seems to me that I am continually introducing things. Through my films, I introduce new stars; on television I introduce the commercials, and now - here I am again. In this instance, I presume, you would call me a ghost host.
I don’t want to appear disloyal to television, but I think reading will be good for you. After all, your television tube may burn out some day. Furthermore, you need practice for reading the subtitles in those foreign films. But don’t be discouraged. You’ll get used to reading. Turning all these pages may be difficult, but exercise will do you good.
While we were preparing this book there was one mad moment when someone suggested that we add a sound track. This is fine for furnishing laughter for comedy television shows, but assorted screams, wails, moans and clanking chains aren’t good in book form. Oh, the problem was solved technically, but there was still one drawback. Public librarians became quite overwrought because people were opening the books in the reading rooms and the din was tremendous. As a result you will read these stories as they were meant to be read - in stereophonic silence.