“They were out to hook the whole world with the filthy stuff – Ryan had to stop them even if it meant losing the most luscious play-mate in the Orient.”
There’s pulp covers and then there’s pulp covers and I reckon this one is a beauty.
It perfectly combines two of my main obsessions, sixties pulp paperback art and crime fiction set in Asia, in this case Laos.
Opium Flower was published by Bantam Books in 1963. Author, Dan Cushman, was a regular pulp writer for US outfits such as Bantam and Gold Medal, where he penned tough guy pulp stories. Many of them, including Jewel of the Java Sea (1951) and Port Orient (1955) were set in Asia.
The back cover blurb for Opium Flower is great:
“Opium. Somehow it was getting back to the State. From Harlem to Venice City, the hopheads were practically floating in it. Ryan was the only man who could stop the flow at its deadly source – Laos.
All he had to do was become the second son to the biggest opium dealer in the world, endure the most insidious tortures ever devised by man and fight his way out of the dirtiest double-cross ever invented.
If he survived, it was worth every excruciating minute. In addition to $50,000 and a passport home, the prize was a voluptuous honeymoon that would make even Casanova green with envy.”