BEN HAAS CHECKLIST

Writing as Ben Elliott

WEEKEND WIFE – Beacon B423Y, 1961 PBO.

Mona’s husband Jeff travels as a salesman around Charleston . He 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.

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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.

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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.

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BROTHER BADMAN - Ace Double M126, 1965 PBO. With VALLEY OF SAVAGE MEN by Harry Whittington.

One of Billy The Kid’s pals from Lincoln County , New Mexico , 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.

2nd PB: Ace Charter 08221-1, nd (1980)

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Writing as Sam Webster

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.

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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 Charlotte , North Carolina , and before launching himself into a writing career, he worked as a shipping clerk and a salesman.”

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CANCEL THESE VOWS – Monarch 245, 1962 PBO. Cover by Ray Johnson. 

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…

THE WIVES OF FRIENDS – Monarch 268, 1962 PBO. Cover by Stanley Borack.

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!”

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MY NEIGHBOR’S WIFE – Monarch 385, 1963 PBO. Cover by Tom Miller.

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.

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SOCIETY DOCTOR – Monarch 404, 1964 PBO. Cover by Harry Schaare. 

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.

Writing as Ken Barry

THE GOLDEN GIRLS – Beacon B474F, 1962 PBO.

There are three promiscuous women in the new development called Haven Heights . 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. 

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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?”

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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. When Nancy ’s rich mother sets her sights on Dallas , the fireworks begin.

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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 disappeared.

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.

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