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Posted by on 20 Aug, 2021 in British Crime, British Thrillers, Crime, Men's Adventure, Spy Fiction, Television shows, Thriller, trashy covers, Trashy Tuesday, Westerns | 1 comment



Fuzz by Ed McBain (Pan, 1972)

Before lockdown hit Canberra (again), I acquired an interesting batch of books which were tie-ins to various movies and a television show.

First up is Ed McBain’s Fuzz. Originally released in 1968, Fuzz was made into a movie in 1972 and re-published in paperback editions in the same year to coincide with the movie’s release.

This 1972 Pan edition, features the spectacular movie poster by renowned illustrator Richard Amsel, who produced a number of iconic posters, including the ones for Raiders Of The Lost Ark and The Sting. The Fuzz poster is not quite in the same class as Amsel’s best work, but it is certainly eye-catching and nicely captures the mood of the movie, if not the book. It highlights the main actors, including Raquel Welch, Yul Brynner and Burt Reynolds in his notorious Playgirl centrefold pose, and gives some idea of the zaniness of the movie.

Juggernaut by Al Hine (Corgi, 1974)

The cover for Al Hine’s novelisation of the script for Juggernaut (Corgi, 1974) also uses the movie’s poster, this time done by Robert McCall, who probably best known for his NASA space art. The book is based on the script by “Richard DeKoker” (pseudonym for Richard Alan Simmons). I saw the movie, which had a stellar cast of Omar Sharif, Richard Harris and a young Anthony Hopkins, when it first came out in 1974 and as a teenager really enjoyed it. From a quick look at the book it seems to follow the movie script closely, as I remember, down to the dramatic “red wire, blue wire” conclusion.

The poster works well as a cover and really gives the sense of the drama of the story.

Big Jake by Richard Deming (Warner, 1974)

In comparison this cover for the novelisation (Warner, 1974 edition), by Richard Deming, of Big Jake, a 1971 western starring John Wayne and Richard Boone, seems lazy and half-hearted. The use of a still from the movie, which actually gives away part of the ending, has none of the flamboyance of the above movie posters and seems tired and old fashioned.

I also saw this movie sometime in the early 1970s and enjoyed it. It is a solid western and the novelisation is very true to the original screenplay by Harry Julian Kink and Rita M. Fink.

Where The Spies Are by James Leasor (Pan, 1965)

Dr Jason Love, a British country GP and part time spy, was often portrayed as being the “urbane man’s James Bond”, but the books by James Leasor never reached the heights that the publisher hoped for and, as Mike Ripley eloquently explains in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, they failed to attract the younger thriller reader. I vaguely remember enjoying them, but always thought that the related Aristo Auto series was better.

In 1965 a film of the first Jason Love novel, A Passport to Oblivion, was made under the title Where The Spies Are. Starring the debonair David Niven, it was a pale imitation of the James Bond movies and hopes of a series of movies were not fulfilled.

When the novel was re-released by Pan in 1965 under the title of the movie, it was accompanied by a rather bland cover featuring the head of David Niven atop a bullet. Curious, rather than eye-catching, I doubt that helped sales of the book. As a cover it is a fail!

Puppet On A Chain by Alistair MacLean (Fontana, 1971)

I always found this cover on Alistair MacLean’s Puppet On A Chain (Fontana, 1971) really creepy and I think it was what attracted me to the book when I first got it sometime in the 1970s. It is a still from the 1971 movie of the book, and I think it still works really well as a cover.

Sweeney 2: The Blag by Joe Balham (Futura, 1978)

The popular British police series The Sweeney ran from 1975 to 1978 and also generated two spin-off movies. The second movie was simply titled Sweeney 2 and featured the main actors from the television series JohnThaw and Dennis Waterman.

Joe Balham (pseudonym for Alan White) wrote the novelisation of the movie, based closely on the script by Ian Kennedy Martin. The novelisation also gained the subtitle of Sweeney 2: The Blag.

The cover uses a violent still from the movie, which I doubt would find its way onto a cover nowadays! Nevertheless it is attention grabbing!

Regan and the Bent Stripper (Futura, 1977)

Balham/White also wrote six of the nine novels which were released by spin-offs to the series by Futura. They were not based on episodes from the series, but were separate and featured a darker, more independent Regan.

I have most of the books, but particularly like this cover on Regan and the Bent Stripper (Futura, 1977), mainly because it is so bad. The still has nothing to do with the book and I just like the crazed look on the gunman’s face!

A real mixed bag of books, when lockdown is over again I try and find some movie tie-ins

1 Comment

  1. LOL! The look on that gunman’s face. Gold 😉

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