Tough on the Wops by Buck Toler

ROBIN HOOD PRESS Tough On The Wops

Tough on the Wops was released 1947 under Harold Ernest Kelly’s alias, Buck Toler, via his Robin Hood Press. After this novel, Buck Toler expired and Darcy Glinto once again took center stage, after having not been seen since the war years.

His earlier Buck Toler efforts included:

  • The Bronsville Massacre (Mitre Press, 1943)
  • It’s Only Saps That Die (Everybody’s Books, 1944)
  • Killer on the Run (Everybody’s Books, 1944)

Tough on the Wops would appear one further time, with a crudely constructed cover by Heade, showcasing a young lady holding a Thompson machine gun (a scene from the novel). Whether that edition was a reprint or remainder stock with the original ghastly cover by Hofbauer removed and the Heade attached to help move the rest, I won’t know until I obtain a copy. The scene featured on the Hofbauer cover illustrates the gunning down of Angelo….

Kelly introduces us to a series of hoodlums recently released from prison, with the goal of taking over Woptown, a fictional town heavily populated by Italians, but designed to represent a real American town. In charge is Lugs Heimer, and on one of their first outings, they strike against Angelo, a young man owning a prosperous restaurant. The shop is riddled with bullets and destroyed; more importantly, the polished mobster Fluther is forced to come along for the ride. Primarily, in the past, he is your clean-cut hoodlum, smooth-talker, etc, never gets his hands dirty. However, today, he is pushed into the fracas, and begins to enjoy the ruthlessness and destruction.

Days later, Fluther is sent to blackmail Angelo, whom in turn tells his fiance, Francesca, whom in turn, convinces Angelo to speak with the police. Fluther had warned Angelo about going to the police….

The police arrange for Angelo to wrap a wad of bills together and follow the hoodlum’s instructions to the letter. When the car drives by, a window will be down, a gun covering Angelo, and, he is to toss the bundle in the car. Unfortunately, they get wind that something is up when Angelo inexplicably steps into the street behind the car. This action would prevent them from shooting him down.

The police open fire but the car is heavily protected and the bullets fail to penetrate. The worst that occurs is the windshield stars-up and visibility is greatly reduced. Thinking he is safe, Angelo foolishly remains in the street, watching the fracas. From a secluded spot, Francesca watches everything, too. Then, the worst happens! She watches as Angelo crumples in a heap as another gangster car roars up and stitches him and the nearby police. The pair of cars make their getaway and Francesca weeps over her slain fiance.

Unable to take the emotional strain, she collapses and awakens in hospital, with her parents present. Once reality catches up to her, she becomes a hardened shell and is determined to exact retribution.

Unfortunately for the hoodlums, this is not the worst yet to come. For them, returning to base, they find that the wad of bills is nothing more than a wad of papers. They are all enraged, and worse yet, the docile Fluther mouths off to Heimer, whom takes it upon himself to beat the shit out of him. Fluther doesn’t fight like a man, and takes a wine bottle and begins carving up Heimer’s face, stabbing him repeatedly. Heimer finally collapses on the floor and Fluther has to be restrained. Fluther takes the gang under his wing, and being more intelligent than Heimer, constructs a series of successfully lucrative raids on Woptown, hitting banks, businesses, etc…

Francesca walks the streets nightly, and accidentally hits upon the territory of a local floozie, who isn’t taking it kindly that Francesca is walking her beat. They pair up and Francesca learns the area better, and where to hangout. Eventually, luck prevails and Fluther finds her attractive, and kidnaps her! Returning to the base, he locks her in a spare room upstairs, and has his way with her repeatedly (though Kelly is careful to make no actual allusions; he’d already been heavily prosecuted by the English government for his Darcy Glinto novels).

Francesca plays the floozie part, and eventually Fluther thinks she is sweet on him and okay with being locked up. She confesses to being turned-on by Fluther being a gangster, instead of a rich businessman, and guns really get her going. He shows her an empty Thompson, how to operate it, etc, and, leaves the empty machine gun in the room.

While away raiding a government train laden with money en route to the local banks, an ex-FBI agent has been performing his own investigations and is watching the hideout. When the gang depart, he kicks in the door and finds Francesca downstairs, sitting coolly on a couch, facing him, holding the Thompson. She confesses it is empty, so he calms down. They compare notes, but she does not tell him the entire truth of her circumstances. With his assistance, the Thompson is loaded and he leaves her to maintain the status quo while he rounds up the police for the final raid.

Francesca has other ideas….

The gang return, with some quarters-of-a-million dollars from the train heist. Everyone is partying hard, but Fluther has his murderous eyes on Heimer, whom he caught, on the heist, pointing his Thompson at Fluther’s back. Now, he figures the hour is ripe to kill Heimer, in front of everyone, and firmly establish himself as the leader. Heimer is accused, and goes for his armpit holster, but Fluther spits alcohol in his eyes, then beats him up and when he falls, pounces upon him and like a feral nightmare, begins ripping the flesh from Heimer’s neck and face with his bare teeth!

In walks Francesca.

She says nothing.

Just watches the scene.

Finally, one hoodlum after another begin to notice the gorgeous bombshell, calmly detached, wielding the death-dealer. And, it’s not only pointed at them, it’s fully loaded! Jaws dropping, they simply stare. Finally, the moment has come, and she hollers Fluther’s name twice; once she has obtained his attention, detaching his bloodied maw from the remnants of Heimer’s face, she informs those present who she really is and why they are about to die.

And, pulling back on the trigger, she sweeps the room from side to side twice. The last gangster in line, a quick-draw, manages to snap off some return-fire.

The ex-FBI agent and the police raid the building, only to find everyone dead. He kneels beside the girl, checks for a pulse. She’s dead cold, and praises her dead fiance as “the luckiest guy that ever did live.”

It’s a tough, hard-hitting gangster novel, heavily padded throughout, but an awful-good read, for the type of people out there that love this sort of thing.

 

 

 

Tough on the Wops by Buck Toler

“Road Floozie” by Darcy Glinto (1941)

ROBIN HOOD PRESS Road Floozie

I’ve been meaning to return to reading and reviewing books by Harold Ernest Kelly. Some years ago, I lucked into corresponding with a young lady that is related to the author, but, sadly, she has vanished without a trace. (If any other relatives see this, I’d love to carry on where Jayne left off)….

Now, let’s return to the blog.

Published in 1941 by Wells, Gardner & Co., this was one novel (among others) under the alias Darcy Glinto, that landed the author, Harold Ernest Kelly, a hefty fine from the English government. After his fines, Kelly abandoned the Glinto alias for five years, and began publishing stories under pseudonyms Buck Toler, Preston Yorke, Eugene Ascher and several others.

Let’s focus on the story itself, and note, that I am reading the TRUE FIRST EDITION.
IF anyone else has any of his other titles available, I would like to obtain them and read/review them for posterity, too….

Eilleen is sick and tired of working in a sweatshop. Further, she’s fed-up with the bitch supervisor, whom treats the workers like the slave labor that they are. The conditions are deplorable. The pay isn’t worth mentioning.

Eilleen bucks the owner of the business and gets into an all-out brawl with the bitch, and lands herself in jail. Earning her freedom from the cell, she bags her livelihood necessities and decides to walk across the country and take in the “freedom” of the outdoors. She’s tired of being cooped up daily. With what meager funds available, she ties up a bag of clothes and bare necessities and strikes out on the road, living life essentially as a hobo.

If she thought working the sweatshop racket was shitty-business, she’s in for an eye-opener, for her troubles are just beginning….

First, her soft feet blister from unaccustomed walking, and improper shoes for the hike. Hitting a town store, she swaps in her shoes for proper gear but is short on funds. She permits the clerk to feel her up but not any further than her thighs, all to save herself a dollars’ expense.

Next, back on the road, a trucker by the name of Cal Morley picks her up, and thinks she is a floozie (hooker), but she insists that he has her all wrong. This sorted, he’s relieved that Eilleen is not a floozie, drops her off but hopes to run across her again in the pending days. She agrees, since he was kind and did not molest her.

Parting ways, she continues her hike toward Cincinnati. It begins to rain, and she is caught unprepared for the deluge to follow. Accepting the offer from another trucker to catch a ride, she begins to doze off in the cab and awakens to the reality that he is groping her. Fending him off, she bails and realization dawns upon her that she left her bag and money in the truck. Frustrated and broke, she hikes the rest of the route to the next truck stop. However, that trucker is not there. She’s out of luck.

While at the truck cafe, she accepts the offered steak from one trucker. She’s starving and drenched, and not thinking straight. That meal ticket leads to a ride in his truck. While aboard, he gets her liquored up to the point that she isn’t fully cognizant of the fact that he is raping her. The author is rather coy about how he presents the reader to the situation, more likely trying to avoid getting in trouble than anything else:

He lifted her, swung her round and laid her down along the seat.

This is as close as we get to being informed that she is molested….

Reviving later, after intoxication has worn off, they part ways, and she is $5 richer for the rape of her body. They have arrived in St. Louis. Realizing that she is now tainted, and her body can earn her quick money, she decides to carefully play the floozie role and begins earning quick cash.

The plot cheapens into the sleaze realm rapidly; Eilleen soon becomes penniless after a massive rainstorm keeps her holed up in a motel. She is forced to accept a Denver-bound ride from a burly white beast, only to learn that he has a sidekick riding shotgun with him. As the author proclaims, a big “nigger,” by name of Sambo. Now the book has degenerated into the realms of racism, however, keep in mind that the author, English, is writing to American style.

They pull off the road and viciously rape her. To further her humiliation, they rub a can of truck gear grease up her crotch and surrounding areas, essentially hazing her. She’s then dumped along the roadside, and found the next day by a milk man, whom brings her to town and hails a cop, as he thinks she is loonie. Arrested and brought to court, she admits her whole life story and they take pity on her. Thus, she lands in a hospital and is cleaned up. However, despite being offered honest jobs, she turns them down and returns to the life of a road floozie.

Returning to the road, she robs a drunk trucker of his funds, then buys a fresh wardrobe and a revolver, for protection against brutes.

Her second victim is too damned tired to be driving. She convinces him to take to the road, and she will “prod” him if he begins to doze. This she does, mercilessly, then, during a spell when he nods off, she bails as the truck rolls off the road. She’s now made her first kill.

Eilleen makes her next kill when the drunkard she robbed earlier catches her at a trucker’s cafe. He slugs her and tells all present that she is poison. Cunningly, she later sneaks into his truck, and convinces him that she wishes to repay him. This she partially does. While on the road, she wrenches on the steering wheel and crashes the truck through a 50-foot drop. She bails out the window and awakes from unconsciousness, once again, in a hospital, and spends a month there, recuperating.

Trying to hunt up fresh game, she is kicked out of a truck station, upon recognition. Realizing that word has rapidly spread, she becomes incensed against the original pair that forced her to lead the floozie lifestyle. She tracks the burly white man and Sambo to Denver, and hooks up with them, playing the part of floozie tremendously. With her first-ever thoughts of premeditated murder coming to fruition, the only thing that could possibly derail her plans include the impressive arrival of Cal Morley, the only honest trucker that tried to help her! He insists on their pairing up again. She finally agrees, but not until the next night. That night…she has plans.

Hooking up with the evil pair, she steers them to an off-road barn, where she intends to permit the burly one first dibs at her body, but insists Sambo go blow, as she doesn’t want to be gang-banged nor watched. They agree, and while he is bullying his way onto her, she pulls the revolver and blows a hole in his chest. Sambo comes running up, thinking that she is the dead person. She shoots him and as he staggers away, screaming, she stalks him like an animal and empties the gun into him.

Cleaning up for the “date” with Cal Morley tomorrow, she finally finds Cal’s rig, and hops in while he is inside the cafe. He clambers in and is surprised to find her inside (honestly! Do all truckers leave their rigs unlocked?)

She confesses her whole life story to him, including the murders. He’s agitated. He professes he is essentially in love with her, but with THIS between them every day of their lives, how will they handle it? He dare not let her go, lest one day she kills herself or someone else, either. She takes matters into her own hands, when she spies the 50-foot drop fence that she used to kill another trucker with earlier in the novel. Eilleen wrenches on the wheel and wraps herself securely about Cal, blocking his ability to bring the wayward truck back under control.

The truck careens off the side and….. THE END !!!

 

“Road Floozie” by Darcy Glinto (1941)

2015 September 3: “Death on Priority 1” by Preston Yorke

I read this booklet many years ago, but it was nice to freshen up on it as I had just recently posted another title, “The Gamma Ray Murders,” which features the very same protagonist.

YORKE Death On Priority 1 (Orange Cover)

“Death on Priority 1” by Preston Yorke is in fact penned by the famous Darcy Glinto writer, Harold Ernest Kelly, and published by Everybody’s Books (1945) shortly after the second world war. However, it is clear, from the story-line, that it was written during the war.

Inspector Bevis is sent to investigate the hijackings of freighting trucks across England. With his partner, they eventually spot a group of criminals making off with a truck, but, the criminal mastermind behind it all was prepared for this eventuality, and has a souped-up heavy car broadside their lightweight vehicle into flipping over. Bevis’ partner dies in the crash, flying through the windshield. Bevis is seriously injured.

Bevis convinces his chief to give him one last “go” at the affair, going undercover as a trucker. Bevis makes a name for himself, making deliveries in record time and rumors get around that he won’t take no shit from anyone, even the cops, to get his goods from Point A to Point B.

As weeks and months go by, Bevis, operating as “Mad” Yorky, is met by a crook whom offers him the side job of losing his truck of goods for a hundred pounds. He accepts, but then confides that he’s looking for an “in” with the bosses and wishes to earn more money while the war is ongoing. Once the war ends, so does the trafficking, etc.

The story is slightly reminiscent of another Kelly story, written under the alias of Buck Toler….

Anyhow, Bevis spots his hijacked truck passing through the dockside town and realizes that the goods MUST be transported and unloaded nearby, rather than stolen and driven far away. He sneaks into several warehoused areas before striking lucky. That is, until he is caught unawares by a pair of hoodlums that cave in his skull and toss his butt into confinement.

How he escapes and the escapades that follow to the point of busting the gang will remain a secret, for those that entertain the notion of obtaining a copy for themselves.

Having been a collector of British wartime fiction booklets for over 20 years, I’ve managed to hoard and secure 3 copies of this elusive title…. Why? Because they are variants. After the first run sold out, Kelly issued further copies to be printed. And yes, there are noticeable differences, starting with the rear cover ads.

So, what am I reading next? A mystery magazine chock full o’ short stories, so, you might not see a post here for close-on a week. Where magazines are concerned, chug along mighty slow on the tales.

2015 September 3: “Death on Priority 1” by Preston Yorke

2015 August 31: “The Case of the Strangled Seven” by Preston Yorke

“The Case of the Strangled Seven” by Preston Yorke (cover art by Jeff Cook)
(aka: Harold Ernest Kelly, of alias Darcy Glinto fame, etc)

YORKE The Case Of The Strangled Seven

NOTE: I read this book years ago and reported upon it to John Fraser, an avid Kelly researcher.  I decided to freshen up on it, and copy the plot herewith as I wrote it up all those years ago.

A beat-weary constable stumbles upon a pair of strangled drug-gang distributors. He requests time off to investigate the area on his own. A lone member of the nefarious gang captures and binds him, and later sets fire to the hideout, with the intention of burning the constable. He escapes, with severe burns.

Meanwhile, our wonderful author abandons any pretext of surprising the reader about who the strangler is. A somewhat well-to-do businessman has lost his daughter to drugs, and has lost his grip on reality. He and some reliable professionals systematically hunt down the seven top members of the gang and strangle them to death.

His secretary learns the truth, so, he kidnaps her.

The constable continues to track the s.o.b.s who tried to snuff him. In the traditional climax he attempts to arrest both the businessman and leader of the outfit, (the former operates under the name of “Optimus One”). “Optimus,” who bizarrely has a sac of poison attached to one of his teeth, bites the businessman and dies a paralyzing death before the constable’s eyes. The businessman announces that there are notes in his office that will clear up the entire case, and then, he too promptly dies.

2015 August 31: “The Case of the Strangled Seven” by Preston Yorke

2015 August 28: “It’s Only Saps That Die” by Buck Toler

Having recently finished reading Buck Toler’s “Killer on the Run,” I was less than thrilled with myself for having decided to chug through yet another Buck Toler title.

TOLER It's Only Saps That Die

And, so, we trudge along to the next thriller, “It’s Only Saps that Die.”

This was published by Everybody’s Books (1944) and features a wonderfully gruesome illustrated cover by Jeff Cook, showcasing a woman being ground to death between two large gears, and, while her blood spews out and her body is broken and twisted in half, a man is seen reaching down (too late) to try and save her life.

Let me spare you the details by stating that no such scene occurs inside….
Disappointed? Don’t be.

Unlike the prior read, which delved exclusively into the mind of a “killer on the run,”this novel is pure gangster-stuff with a Federal Agent thrown into the mix.

The investigation: how is it that while the war is going on, that, in America, with the huge beef rations, that certain companies appear to be functioning well above federal guidelines?

With the newspapers carrying stories of old-fashioned frontier cattle rustling, and beef companies filing cases that their refrigerated trucks are being hijacked by killers, special agent Captain Delane of the FBI is sent by Hoover to investigate, infiltrate, and smash the crooks.

He assumes the fictitious identity of Tex Radnor, a hoodlum looking for employment in Chicago. While there he crosses paths violently with a vicious ex-drug smuggler. He is caught and beaten mercilessly and left for dead; he is rescued by one of the hoodlum’s molls. Instead of fleeing, he waits in the smuggler’s office and beats two thugs [gleefully] into unconsciousness and delivers and impromptu beating onto the lead thug, until he gets the answers he wants.

Now set up to work with a big-time beef distributor, he starts small by driving their rigs. After weeks of inactivity goes by, Delane approaches the lower-level managerial thug-in-charge and presents himself as a thug-for-hire. The guy moves him up to thievery and thus begins the real action, as Delane (Tex Radnor) aids in the hijacking of beef trucks.

But when the head honcho himself learns of Tex, he is immediately suspicious of this young man, and has his boys bring Tex to his office. They torture him, attempting to beat the truth out of him. The boss, Rimmer, is keenly aware that Tex is an alias, and likely a Fed. They beat him near to death, toss him into river-boat sort of structure full of filth and hundreds of hungry rats, and leave him to his fate.

Will Captain Delane live? How will he escape? Will the rats nibble hungrily on all 21 of his digits? Will Delane be able to save face? Is there any sexual interest between he and the moll that saved him? How in hell will you get the answers to these questions unless you read the book?

This is Harold Ernest Kelly (aka: Buck Toler, aka Darcy Glinto, etc) at his very best.

“It’s Only Saps that Die” is gruesome, brutal, unforgiving, and harsh in Kelly’s visual depictions of America in the grips of gangsters willing to die for what they believe in: CASH.

2015 August 28: “It’s Only Saps That Die” by Buck Toler

2015 August 25: “Killer on the Run” by Buck Toler

I’ve been both dreaming and dreading reading this book, after years of experience reading other stories by him, under other aliases….

“Killer on the Run” was published under the alias ‘Buck Toler’ by Everybody’s Books (1944).
Cover art is attributed to what appears to read “Church.” However, glancing through the FreeBMD website shows nobody born, married, or died with such a surname.
Thus, an illustrator I know zilch about…. (Do you?)

TOLER Killer On The Run

The alias was utilized by Harold Ernest Kelly, one of two brothers operating the outfit.
Kelly had paid severely a couple years earlier for writing obscene books, under the alias of Darcy Glinto. The name failed to reappear until after World War Two ended. In the meantime, Kelly created several new aliases in which to freely operate.

Only three other books were published under the Buck Toler pseudonym:

  • The Bronsville Massacre (Mitre Press, 1943)
  • It’s Only Saps That Die (Everybody’s Books, 1944)
  • Tough on the Wops (Everybody’s Books, 1944-1945)

The hideout of Rudolph Max Kling, otherwise referred throughout the novel as Killer Kling,
is raided by the police and his entire outfit is busted. Kling escaped and is at a roadhouse
listening to the news over the radio, when his moll, Varia Rader, struts in, and informs Kling that they need to scram. The Feds are outside set to raid the joint, which, they do. Chaos ensues as they seek to escape the clutches of the law. By the third page Kling has already snapped a bullet into the belly of one agent and pistol-whips another two pages later.

They escape by jumping in the backseat of a customer’s car. Giving the innocent bystanders the OK to leave, the owner of the car clambers in and receives the cold steel welcome of a hollow barrel kissing his nape hungrily clamoring for blood. The feller doesn’t argue and taking instructions like a sap, drives the pair of hoodlums to safety. His reward? Yeah, page 9, read it, ya mug! His Colt revolver pumps a slug into the man’s gut. They make merry with his set of wheels until the auto becomes too hot to handle. They skip across the country, attempting numerous escape routes along the way: other autos, a train, a plane, etc. You get the idea.

Kling is mostly led (or, rather, influenced) by the intelligent and gorgeously stunning Varia Rader. She boasts more than just looks. She is pure evil, going so far as to coldly walking up to a cop and punching a hole through his skull in a hotel room to save Kling. Remorse? Nah. She flits throughout the book with a psychotically sinister smile and knows how to turn on the sensual juices when necessary.

If you pervs wants some sex, this isn’t the book for you. It’s pure, hardcore, unadulterated blood-and-thunder killer shit for you. What’s more, there are no page breaks, no chapter, nothing to give you relief. Kelly pounds Kling and Rader mercilessly upon you, until the very end, when they finally meet their match near the Mexican border in a Federal agent that uses his brain more than any other agent or back-town wayward law-preaching hick had thus far.

But boy, do they get their man (and woman) ???

I’m not tellin’!!!

2015 August 25: “Killer on the Run” by Buck Toler

2015 July 19: Preston Yorke “Gamma Ray Murders”

“Gamma Ray Murders” by Preston Yorke, was published 1943 (UK: Everybody’s Books), with cover art by Jeff Cook. The digest paperback is 128-pages, and a gangster / scientific thriller novel.

YORKE Gamma Ray Murders

The Plot: a scientist is murdered and the plans for his secret “gamma ray” are stolen and turned on London. Inspector Bevis is on the trail and with the aid of a girl, they thwart the heinous plans of “X,” the Master Menace!

Preston Yorke was just one of several pseudonyms utilized by Harold Ernest Kelly.
From the 1940s-1950s, he wrote as Buck Toler (gangsters), Preston Yorke (science-fiction and detection), Eugene Ascher (supernatural and detection), John Parsons (non-fictional social comment), and, marginally, himself. Subsequently he also appeared as Gordon Holt (racing, crime, detection), Lance Carson (westerns), Duke Linton (gangsters), etc. Between 1961 and 1964, he wrote several Hank Janson gangster novels, after the name was farmed out, due to the original writer being sued. Kelly and some other authors then began writing the hard-hitting gangster novels before this fad expired.

2015 July 19: Preston Yorke “Gamma Ray Murders”