TFG Book Review: Meat, by Lambert Wilhelm

Yes, yet another gay pulp book review.  But let me just say that this book was different, and a surprisingly good read.

Photo Aug 31, 7 35 31 AM

So as before, this book was purchased way back when I visited Kayo Books in San Fransisco.   While all the covers were fantastic, with the exception of Locker Room Lovers, many of the books were rather disappointing in terms of content.  This one, though, was also to become one of the exceptions.

First off, while I don’t want to give much away, I can actually say that the cover image is a crucial scene in the book.  So often with older gay pulp, the cover may or may not have anything to do with the actual plot or occurrences with the book.  But the artist did their homework with this one.  Which should give many of you promise right there.

Secondly, this is not just a porn opus.  There is an actual plot here.  And believe it or not, but it involves real meat inspectors, and corruption in said business.  Sure, that caught me off guard… I mean, I wasn’t exactly taking the title of the book that literally.  At the same time, I thought it was pretty clever and amusing.  Even more incredibly, gay sex and kink are intricately woven into the plot, and never quite feel over the top (though it gets close).

A couple of points.  The main character in the book is, at the outset (wink, wink), straight.  He does find himself getting hit on by a lot of gay men during the course of the book, and he spends a lot of the book questioning why he’s getting hard at all the attention in all caps and italics. To me, it got a bit tiresome, but the passages are short, and for guys who have a fantasy of “turning” a straight man, then it’ll be up your alley.

The second point is more disturbing, but not played off as badly as it was in Adventures of a High School Hunk.  The boss of the meat packing plant has his lover helps him out, as does his son.  And it’s stated that all three have had threesomes together.  Ugh.  Really?  What is it with these pulp books and their incest themes?  I don’t understand it at all, but this is the second of four gay pulp books I chose at random that turned out to have incest themes.  Was this a thing back then, or am I just unlucky?  At least this time, that part is played down, and the father and son stay pretty separate until the end of the book, and even then, other parties are involved and they never touch each other (plus, at least the son is of age)… so it’s a bit easier to deal with this time.

Back to the good stuff, there is actually even a surprise twist given to the main character towards the end of the book that I honestly never saw coming, and there’s quite a bit of non-sexual intrigue and double (and triple!) crossing with the meat inspection deals and corruptions that, despite myself, I found myself getting pretty into.  Believe me, I’ve never had any interest whatsoever in the meat inspection business before, but if it were all like this, I think I’d start watching.

Upon a bit more research, it turns out that the true author of this book is William Maltese, who wrote a lot of gay pulp fiction for years (under various names) in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and seems to be writing it even now.  I think I may have to seek out another one of his books I discovered called Teacher in Chains, written under the pseudonym Kyle Reich.  Looks pretty fabulous.  If anyone happens to have it, or know where I can get it, contact me!



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