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Publisher's Summary

Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of two iconic decades...if you dare. Hear shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby. Complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles, this unforgettable volume dishes on familiar authors like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, plus many more who've faded into obscurity. Also included are recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your listening time and which should stay buried.

©2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Paperbacks from Hell

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Entertaining and funny history of vintage horror

Really entertaining and enjoyable. Almost constantly funny and occasionally wildly distasteful. Easy to recommend.

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A Good Way To Find Some Cool Old Horror Books

I found this book be quite good, Through listening, I was able to create a list of books I'm interested in reading. This was my reason for listening to this audio book in the first place, so it performs a service. I appreciate the descriptions of various sub genre of horror books (vampires, satanic, zombies, and animal horror etc.), and learning about which books were which sub genre. Various writers were mentioned. A few artists were also mentioned for their contributions in creating the fantastic cover art of horror books of this period (such as George Zeal), and I would have liked to have heard even more of them, I also appreciated learning the history of when horror books really started to take off, and hearing about what was going on in America at the time, and how what was happening over the following years shaped what sub genre horror types people were interested in reading. Pro tip: Conveniently, there happens to be a Paperbacks From Hell book list on Good Reads, if like me, you get tired of stopping listening and making a note of the books and authors.

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entertainingly informative and binge worthy

Love Hendrix and his descriptions. this narrator truly does him justice. very glad I chose to listen to this book instead of read it myself. reads so smoothly like a podcast !

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  • R. Squyres
  • 2018-02-26

A Lot Of Fun

Paperbacks from hell is a book about books. Simply put, it's a funfilled wild ride through the world of horror paperbacks.

You'll come away with a reading list -- and another list of books they couldn't pay you to read.

The authors keep the book moving. It's lighthearted, never taking itself or its subject too serious; after all, these are mostly books people have forgotten. But want to know about some of the craziest stuff put in print, this is the book that gives you that tour.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Stefan Filipovits
  • 2020-08-26

The Rosetta Stone of horror schlock

I think this is one of the more interesting finds I’ve come across on audible. For quite some time I had been on a horror jag but had little luck in finding anything sufficiently creepy to hold my attention. Miss after miss, disappointment after disappointment, wasted credit after wasted credit, I had despaired of finding anything that was well-written and unsettling at the same time. Then I found Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix and contributor Will Erickson.
When I call this book the Rosetta Stone of horror schlock that’s precisely what it is. It will open up an entire world for you of interesting and original horror. With a pinch of wit and humor the author exhaustively catalogues the biggest names and titles of the paperback horror boom that began in the latter half of the 20th century. The authors guide us from obscure authors with absurd and undeniably creative premises to titans of horror like Blatty, Levin, and Harris and always with insight, admiration, humor, and respect. As a connoisseur of horror, even I was impressed by the authors knowledge and found myself writing down title after title that I hadn’t heard of but sounded interesting. This book opened up new avenues to me as a horror fan and I found the authors own love of horror rather contagious. There’s history, humor, and horror here and I can honestly say I recommend it to any book-lover or horror junkie. Give it a listen!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick
  • 2020-05-31

Enjoyed it, but wanted a supplemental download.

Bottom line? I enjoyed it and added a few titles to my reading list. Because I opted for the audio version, however, I missed out on seeing the artwork that is presumably included in the print version. I wish there was a supplemental download somewhere so I could see the covers discussed.

9 people found this helpful

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  • S. Winchester
  • 2018-01-17

A look back at some classics

As a child of the seventies, I really enjoyed this. Grady Hendrix did a wonderful job discussing an era when horror books were at their peak craziness.

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  • Love2Listen
  • 2020-09-13

mmmhh

It was interesting, but without a booklet to accompany it and show the listener the covers it is talking about, it seems incomplete.

3 people found this helpful

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  • R. MCRACKAN
  • 2020-08-31

An encyclopedia of trash

Listening to this made me feel like Oscar the Grouch singing "I love trash". Hendrix's deep knowledge, research, and passion are infectious as he deconstructs one trend after another in pulp horror and its surrounding industry. His admiration is infectious. You'll never mistake this for the best book you'll listen to this year, but if you're into the subject matter it's a fun ride into the best of the worst.

3 people found this helpful

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  • squishy
  • 2021-05-06

The winner

I’ve read, or tried to, many books on the history of horror in movies and books. This is the absolute best. The authors include how society was influenced by these books. The narrator adds to the enjoyment, putting just right emphasis on the humorous parts. It’s a great trip down memory lane. Highly recommend!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Flavius Krakdaddius
  • 2020-05-26

Rediscovering Lost Horrors

Paperbacks from Hell was a fun book—a loving exploration of paperback horror from the 70s-80s. The book highlights a number of authors and their novels, as well as the artists who created the compelling artwork which graced the books’ covers. The author’s unabashed enthusiasm for the subject gives the book a “fannish” feel, while still being well-researched and informative.
I enjoyed hearing about so many books that I’d not only never read, but many of which I hadn’t heard of at all. After hearing some of the wild and incredibly creative (not to mention often bizarre and disturbing) plot synopses, I wanted to go out and search for some of these forgotten treasures.
The narrator is very pleasant, and I think does a good job. He mispronounces several words and names, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the work.
Lastly, I don’t want to discourage anybody from downloading this book, because as I said, it was enjoyable and informative, but I almost wish I’d gotten the print version instead so that I would have an easy reference for some of the authors and titles mentioned. Also, I think that some of the cover illustrations are included in the print edition. Having said that, I’m glad I purchased this audiobook.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • mruth72
  • 2021-06-10

Hilarious and Informative

I just loved this book. I enjoyed the author's wit and humor as he took me down memory lane. I grew up with cheap paper backs, and he's inspired me to reread them again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Josh O.G.
  • 2022-04-26

I think I may have discovered my new guilty pleasure

I really enjoyed this book. Even though I have spent most of my life reading contemporary horror, I never got into these sort of pulp fiction horrors. Some of it is because most of these titles were released before I was born up through an age where CPS would’ve been called on my parents if anyone saw that I was reading the titles highlighted. Some of it is that I didn’t want to waste my precious recreational reading time on books being pumped out at a machine gun pace that would disappear from shelves almost as quickly as they appeared, rarely to be reprinted. I always assumed that meant they were essentially literary garbage, which isn’t too far from the truth in most cases but hearing the the plot synopses of these books being hilariously recapped made me realize that this is my kind of literary garbage. You just don’t see this level of insane premises in mass market books these days & that’s kind of a shame. Thanks to Grady Hendrix & Will Errickson for bringing them to my attention.

As for the narration, overall, I thought it was really well done except for one detail that really irks me. The surname Gein, in the case of Ed Gein, is pronounced “GEEN”. I’m not looking to spark a big debate about this. I know there a lot of people out there with the surname Gein where it is pronounced as it is in this book (like “GYN”) but in the cultural context of Ed Gein’s name, it’s widely accepted as being pronounced “GEEN” in that locale & in greater popular culture. I know that is a nitpicky thing but when I hear how it is pronounced in this audiobook, I went from feeling like I was immersed in the writer’s dialogue to feeling like I was just listening to someone read a book to me that didn’t know much about the material.