BEN HAAS CHECKLIST
Writing as Ben
WEEKEND WIFE – Beacon B423Y, 1961 PBO.
Mona’s husband Jeff travels as
a salesman around
is only home on weekends, so during those long lonely weekdays she has an affair
with Vern. Ben Haas learned by doing with his first pseudonymous book. He
tackles the problem of using euphemisms to avoid forbidden words (“She sucked
his savagery dry”). And he has the common novice writer’s problem of trying
to describe Topic A so often it gets unintentionally funny (“His after-quivers
receded into her depths.”) It was a tough racket, and Ben would get better and
better at it.
This is the first of his six
books for Beacon, the first contract he had to write paperbacks.
3rd printing: Softcover Library B931X, 1966.
But finally, ultimately,
WEEKEND WIFE is a terrible book (like too many Beacons) with embarrassing sex
scenes: “She was a steamy slush in the pasture he stomped in with his great
male boot. All of her was open to him, mouth and thigh. And when at last the
woman called Mona received the most brilliant burst the man called Vern could
explode, she gibbered meaningless syllables, her brain gone utterly, all her
sense shattered in that climactic imbecility of pure passion…” Imbecility
indeed. But the editors loved this; they hired him to write five more.
Ben wisely retired Ben Elliott
at Beacon after this, changing his pen name there to Ken Barry. Ben Elliott
would only write Westerns from now on, damned good Westerns.
CONTRACT IN CARTRIDGES – Ace Double F-264, 1964 PBO. With
DON’T CROSS MY LINE by Tom West.
Hard luck cowboy Clell Yates
rides into town. There’s a cattle war on between the big baron, Bart Roman,
and a one-armed rancher named Josh Carter. Clell falls hard for Josh’s lovely
sister Nancy, and so chooses sides. But not everything is as it seems, and
somebody is rustling cattle.
BROTHER BADMAN - Ace Double
M126, 1965 PBO. With
MEN by Harry Whittington.
One of Billy The Kid’s pals
gunman Rae Marsh comes home to the Circle M ranch to find his father dead and
the ranch in the hands of his half-brother.
I prefer Ben’s original title
for this: BROTHER WITH A GUN.
18-year-old Ben Haas also used his Ben Elliott pen name for his first short story sale:
'Who'd Die For Poverty Range' in .44 WESTERN, July 1945.
Writing as Sam
2nd PB: Ace Charter 08221-1, nd (1980)
STOLEN WOMAN – Beacon B453F, 1961 PBO. Cover by Darcy.
Scan courtesy of bookscans.com
His second Beacon STOLEN WOMAN
from 1961 was probably the first indication that Ben Haas would be a writer
to watch. Apparently not getting the memo that all Beacons are plotless and
stupid (Charles Willeford and a few others must have missed that memo too);
this one is set at a Southern cotton mill during a bitter strike.
Some of the no-class local
moonshiners kidnap the boss’s high-class wife. Real
characters that evolve as the story unwinds; and lots of sex, but none of it
gratuitous. Ben would return to this
setting much more intensely with his later novel THE CHANDLER HERITAGE.
THE EXECUTIVE SUITE GIRLS – Monarch 234, 1962 PBO. Cover
by Harry Schaare.
I love the editors at Monarch
Books because they always credited their cover artists, and they always have
a brief biography of their author: “Sam Webster is the pseudonym of a
well-known writer with a current fiction hit published by a prominent hard
cover publisher. He was born in
, and before launching himself into a
writing career, he worked as a shipping clerk and a salesman.”
CANCEL THESE VOWS – Monarch 245, 1962 PBO. Cover by Ray
Brant Marlowe lives an idyllic
life with his wife and kids in suburban Trianon Downs. But when his old
friend Leif Gordon moves in, Brant begins an affair with Leif’s hot wife
Kathy. So Brant’s wife takes up with a neighbor, freeing up that neighbor’s
wife to move in on the now-lonely Leif. Adultery in suburbia runs rampant,
but they won’t all live to the end of this story…
Writing as Ken Barry
THE WIVES OF FRIENDS – Monarch 268, 1962 PBO. Cover by
Tony gets a telegram from his
old pal Pete Salem. Pete is bringing home a bride, but when Tony sees Donna
Salem it is lust at first sight. In fact, everybody wants Donna, including a
mobster named Leo Manta who comes to town to take Donna back. “That’s not a
wife Pete has brought home”, Tony’s wife tells him. “It’s a loaded pistol,
just waiting for someone to pull the trigger!”
MY NEIGHBOR’S WIFE – Monarch 385, 1963 PBO. Cover by Tom
Curt McCray, sales manager at
Walther Steel, has an empty life since his wife died. He develops an interest
in Kelly Marsh, the wife of his neighbor and employee Ted Marsh. So, reminded
of the Bible story of King David sending Bathsheba’s husband off to battle,
he gets Ted a traveling job to keep him out of town.
Tom Miller was a fine cover
artist, but I’ve never talked to anybody who knows anything at all about him.
SOCIETY DOCTOR – Monarch 404, 1964 PBO. Cover by Harry
Ben Haas wrote three “doctor
novels” during the Ben Casey – Dr Kildare craze of the early 60s. Two of them
appeared under his pen name Richard Meade. This is the third and last.
THE GOLDEN GIRLS – Beacon B474F, 1962 PBO.
There are three promiscuous
women in the new development called
. Joe Maddox marries one
of them, takes the second as his mistress and keeps an eye on the third in
this 60s potboiler that mixes sex with real estate development.
EXECUTIVE BOUDOIR – Beacon B488F, 1962 PBO.
Long-legged and large-breasted
Lisa Canady takes over the company when her father dies unexpectedly, much to
the shock of Jim Sloane, the man being groomed to take over. But Lisa doesn’t
just want the company. She wants Jim Sloane too. “Can sex and business mix?”
THE LOVE ITCH – Beacon B536F, 1962 PBO. Cover by Brule.
Washed-up Broadway actor Dallas
Terry needs money. He retreats to his hometown, a Southern town called
Fieldcroft, where he gets involved with curvy but virginal young Nancy Craig.
’s rich mother sets her
, the fireworks
THE BIGAMIST – Beacon B597F, 1963 PBO. Cover by Darcy.
Julie Kane marries virile young
Todd Amhurst, who is shipped off to the Pacific. When Todd returns, Julie has
The police have decided a
faceless dead woman found in a canal must be Julie. As the years go by he figures she must
really be dead, so he marries Jenny and is about to be nominated for Governor
when Julie shows up. Julie has the ideal extortion set-up, but she doesn’t
seem to want money. She just wants Todd. And so Todd becomes The Bigamist.