Friday, September 09, 2016

Forgotten Books: Never Love a Call Girl - Mike Avallone


Michael Avallone wrote about a dozen softcore novels for Midwood in the early Sixties, billed on all of them simply as Mike Avallone. I hadn’t run across any of them out in the wild for many years, until I recently found this one at Recycled Books in Denton. The scan is of the copy I bought. I was in need of something good to read, because just before picking up this one, I had slogged through the first 50 pages of a book by a currently best-selling, highly acclaimed author, and I do mean slogged. I set that one aside and wanted to read something by somebody who knew how to tell a story, and Mike Avallone, for all of his gung-ho enthusiasm that sometimes led to odd turns of phrase and sentence structures, was always one hell of a storyteller. And so it is here.

NEVER LOVE A CALL GIRL is the story of high-priced call girl Irma Cavendish, also known simply as Dish. She certainly is, an auburn-haired beauty who is in high demand, although she has a regular lover in an out-of-town businessman who keeps her in an apartment on East Thirty-first Street in New York. One of her clients is a young man who was adopted as an orphan from China by an American journalist. He works at the U.N. as a translator and falls in love with Irma despite her profession. She struggles not to fall in love with him, because she likes her life the way it is. Complications ensue.

There’s not a whole lot of plot in this novel, and what there is, is pretty soap operatic. But Avallone knew how to keep the reader flipping the pages anyway. I raced through NEVER LOVE A CALL GIRL with great enjoyment. The characters are interesting, the dialogue is good, and it’s also a vivid portrait of New York in 1962. In the hands of the better writers, these Sixties softcore novels have more to tell the reader about how society really was back then than a lot of more serious books do. They were written by unpretentious authors for unpretentious readers, and there’s a real air of authenticity about them. If you have a copy of NEVER LOVE A CALL GIRL on your shelves or happen to run across one like I did, it’s well worth reading. And it’s only about 45,000 words long, which is always a plus.

6 comments:

George said...

I enjoy a Mike Avallone novel every so often. Like you, I seldom run across these Avallone Midwoods much any more. I really liked Avallone's Ed Noon series.

Elgin Bleecker said...

I will keep an eye out for his books. Your note on slogging rang a bell. I slogged through two I thought would be good vacation material. The best book I read this summer was by an author you recommended, T.T. Flynn. Thanks.

Jerry House said...

"Avallone...was one hell of a story writer"

Absolutely -- and he seldom let anything get in the way. Time to revisited one of his may books in my collection.

Stephen Mertz said...

A mentor and one of my favorite writers. This one has one of my favorite of his opening lines: "Irma Cavendish rolled over on her burning stomach and tried not to forget about sex."

Edwin McBride said...

Coincidently, I found Avallone's "Man from U.N.C.L.E." and his two "Girl from U.N.C.L.E." paperbacks at used book sale this morning.

James Reasoner said...

I loved that Man From U.N.C.L.E. book. It had a big impact on me when I first read it more than 50 years ago. I recall the Girl From U.N.C.L.E. books being pretty good, too, but I never liked that series as well as the original.