Some Like It Tough, by Jack Karney (Monarch, 1959).
Illustration by Lou Marchetti.
There’s no shortage of vintage juvenile-delinquent novels, but this cover of Some Like It Tough is among my favorites. You look at those two young dockside habitués, and you just know their future will bring a whirlwind of tangled bedsheets and proliferating troubles. The artwork was done by Lou Marchetti, about whom I’ve written before on this page. And the plot description on the back reads:
In the dark streets of New York’s Lower East Side hot-tempered Mike Kinder and voluptuous Susan Warren had been lovers from their early teens—until Mike’s father was beaten to death on the waterfront.See what I mean about dangers in the offing?
Setting out to avenge the killing, Mike met blonde, free-loving Lori Maston, daughter of a big-time labor leader.
Swiftly he was drawn into a personal war with union mobsters—and in passionate pursuit of both girls who used the wanton methods and morals of the waterfront to win his love and caresses.
I can’t tell you much about author Karney, but a Facebook page called Vintage Paperback and Book Covers provides this information: “Jack Karney was an American writer who plumbed the depths of our favorite gutters and alleyways. The tough New York streets replete with tough broads, hard-boiled P.I.s, punch-drunk palookas, and cops who are ruled by bad decisions give his work that patina of grit we so love. It’s all buried beneath suitably rough covers.” Among the other novels credited to him are Tough Town (1952, aka The Ragged Edge); Cop (1952), which features alovely cover painted by Stanley Zuckerberg; Halo for a Heel (1952), which he published under the pseudonym “Mike Skelly); There Goes Shorty Higgins (1953); Knock ’Em Dead (1955); Work of Darkness (1955); Cry, Brother, Cry (1959); Cut Me In (1959); The Knave of Diamonds (1959); Layout for Murder (1960); and Yield to the Night (1960). A New Yorker by the name of David Balella, who for years wrote a blog called Knickerbocker Village, posted this video showcasing many of Karney’s book fronts.