Friday, March 20, 2015

Forgotten Books: Commie Sex Trap - Roger Blake


Bill Crider posted the cover of this novel on his blog a while back, and the title intrigued me with its air of early Sixties sleaziness. I was surprised to discover that there's an e-book version available on Amazon, but when I did, of course I had to read it.

It starts out with a scenario that's actually reminiscent of the work of Cornell Woolrich. Joe Guthrie is an American GI stationed in West Berlin who's living with a blond, beautiful East German girl who managed to slip through the Berlin Wall. But when he gets back to his apartment one evening, he finds an equally beautiful American redhead waiting for him in his bed. She insists the apartment is hers, there's no sign of Joe's girlfriend, and everybody in the building claims they don't know what he's talking about, that there's no blonde who's been staying there. Joe doesn't know if he's gone crazy, or if there's some sinister plot in motion against him.

It's a really effective opening, but unfortunately the author, Roger Blake, doesn't do much with it after that. The book quickly becomes a pretty standard Cold War espionage thriller spiced up with sex scenes. It's enjoyable enough, but it could have done with a little more crazed paranoia. (There's a sentence you won't read in every review.)

I don't know who Roger Blake was. The name strikes me as a pseudonym, but it's certainly possible that was the author's real name. He published several other novels along the same lines as this one for the lower-rung sleaze publishers. He keeps the pace moving along at a good clip in COMMIE SEX TRAP, the action scenes are well done, and there are a few moments of humor. This book is very much of its time, and if you remember that era like I do, there's a good chance you might get some lightweight entertainment out of it. I did.

4 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I would never have guessed that there would be an e-book version of this. I guess nothing could live up to the title, but it sounds pretty entertaining.

Steve Lewis said...

From Al Hubin's CRIME FICTION IV:

BLAKE, ROGER; pseudonym of John Felix Trimble, (1925-1993)

*Caper at Canaveral (U.S.: Art Enterprises, 1963, pb) [Florida]
*Commie Sex Trap (Boudoir, 1963, pb)
*House of Wild Women (Nightstand, 1965, pb) [Berlin]
*Stripped for Murder (Comet, 1963, pb) [Washington, D.C.] Mark Sade is given as author on the cover.

The beginning of this one certainly sounds interesting enough. Too bad the followup is so weak.

James Reasoner said...

Thanks for the information, Steve. I wonder if he wrote under any other names.

ukemon said...

I have a copy of Commie Sex Trap and Caper at Canaveral, so thanks for the background info. I did some searching on Caper at Canaveral and found that Trimble wrote under his own name and at least two other pseudonyms: Mark Sade and Jeanne Becker.(source: http://conelrad.com/books/print.php?id=290_0_1_0)

As Roger Blake:
Caper at Canaveral (Intimate Books / Art Enterprises, Inc. Hollywood, CA, 1963)
House of Wild Women (Nightstand, Berlin, 1963)

As Mark Sade:
Stripped for Murder (Comet, Washington, DC, 1963)

As John Felix Trimble:
Encyclopedia of Abnormal Sex (Brandon House, 1965)
5,000 Adult Sex Words & Phrases (Brandon House, 1966)
The Making of a Homosexual (with Roger Blake) (Apparently, Mr. Trimble needed his alter ego to pitch in on the writing) (Century, 1967)
Pedophilia (Monogram, 1968)
The Group Sex Scene (Pinnacle Books, 1971)
Variations in Modern Marital Behavior (Venice, 1972)

As Jeanne Becker
The Congressmen's Lady (Carlyle, 1976)

SOURCES FOR TRIMBLE'S BIOGRAPHY AND LIBRARY:

Contemporary Authors Online (Gale, 2008)
Crime Fiction IV: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-2000 by Allen J. Hubin