Cherry Delight #2: Tong in Cheek – Blog #018 of the 156 “Pretty Faces” book cover challenge and book review.

This is book #085 on the list of 156 books that Gardner Francis Fox wrote from 1953 to 1986. This is the twenty-fifth book I scratched out a cover for.

Genre: Vintage Sleaze / Sex espionage / Sexpliotation
(Good old fashion men’s action-adventure stories)

The Library categorizes Cherry Delight, Lady from L.U.S.T. and some of the historical fiction that centers around naughty women of history as Bad Girls.

The Cherry Delight series of books are also referred to as the Sexecutioner series.

Where the Mafia goes the world’s sexiest crime fighter follows—even China! And when Cherry shoots, they die happy.

Cherry Delight Tong in Cheek book cover design by Kurt Brugel

The Sexecutioner series called Cherry Delight started in 1972. This is the second of twenty-four novels written by Mr. Fox. He wrote under the pseudonym Glen Chase, a house-name for Leisure Books. There was a second series of five books that came out in 1977, but these books were not written solely by Mr. Fox. They were written with Leonard Levinson and Rochelle Larkin.

A complete uptodate Checklist of both series of the Cherry Delight novels can be found at Mr. Fox’s official website.

Are the Cherry Delight books like the Mack Bolan Executioner series?

I have not read any of the Mack Bolan Executioner books. But I read Rambo, First Blood! That’s right, I read Rambo before I saw the movie. Not only did I have strict parents, but I had an even stricter movie theater manager. There was only a two projector room theater in the town I grew up in and the lady running it was militant about little boys not seeing Rated-R movies until they were 18.

The reason I was reading Rambo, First Blood, was that I was a war-boy; a kid that grew up playing “war” with friends in the neighborhood. None of my friends had seen Rambo, but one of my friend’s older brother did and he told us all about it. It drove us crazy! I just had to know more about this Vietnam Vet and how he fought his “war”. This would make playing out in the woods a greater experience.

Now John Rambo wasn’t a knock-off of Mack Bolan, Mr. Bolan’s Executioner series did start a string of copy-cats. Cherry Delight was one of many copy-cat super-spy/crime-fighters that were being popularly published throughout the 1970s. Other such copy-cats were: The Destroyer, The Death Merchant, The Avenger, The Revenger, The Marksman, The Sharpshooter, The Terminator, The Eliminator, The Expeditor. And on and on they came and went. The genre starts to die out in 1977.

John Rambo First Blood and Mack Bolan The Executioner book covers

Mr. Fox, probably with a request from his literary agent, created his own knock-off super soldier character and it was Cherry Delight who would singlehandedly take on the globalizing Mafia organization.

This is how she describes herself in the back cover description of Tong in Cheek:

ONE FROM COLUMN A!
ONE FROM COLUMN B!
Cherry Delight, the girl from N.Y.M.P.H.O. (N.Y. Mafia Prosecution And Harassment Organization) concocts a Chinese menu uniquely her own: mix a lovely, red-headed sexpot with an arsenal of deadly weapons. Stir with three members of the Mafia who try to hide in China. And like any good Chinese meal, you’ll be hungry for more right after you’ve finished.
I’m Cherry Delight and I’m good at what I do. No boast, just fact. With revolver or automatic, I can put six out of six in a bullseye, or a body. My hair is naturally red—hence the Cherry—and a Delight is what I am for people I like or those I want to destroy. Mostly I want to destroy the Mafia, and that’s why I’m top agent for N.Y.M.P.H.O. (otherwise known as the NEW YORK MAFIA PROSECUTION AND HARASSMENT ORGANIZATION). I love sex and I hate the Mob. I break the old guys backs and the young guy’s hearts—usually with a bullet. I can speak six languages and kill without saying a word.

I don’t know “ONE FROM COLUMN A – ONE FROM COLUMN B” is referring to. I think it might have to do with the times and the genre. Maybe it was a coded language that only voracious super-spy/crime-fighter readers would know what it meant.

Mack Bolan’s character was written in the first person, so Mr. Fox has Cherry talk out her adventures.

Mr. Bolan was also considered a super-soldier by the government, so is Cherry.

Mack Bolan was not born to kill, as many of his comrades and superiors secretly believed. He was not a mechanically functioning killer-robot, as his sniper-team partners openly proclaimed. He was not even a cold-blooded and ruthless exterminator, as one leftist news correspondent tagged him. Mack was simply a man who could command himself.

The one-man army was the concept everyone else was stealing from Mack Bolan. The idea of one person being so self resourceful was directly from the American Cowboy.

By the time the 60s were coming to a close so were the American Westerns. The Vietnam War was running alongside the Cold War and American Entertainment wanted something new. Well, they didn’t actually get something new, they got the old dressed up to look like something new.

The Executioner series, starting in 1969 by the author Don Pendleton. Pendleton initially wrote the first thirty-seven Mack Bolan’s, but there would be 453 stories written by the end of the character’s journey in December 2017.

Mack’s first adventure was to take on the Mafia in The Executioner #1: War Against The Mafia. So Ms. Delight also takes on the same filth that is a plague to American society and its strict moral fabric.

Who would be better than a one-man army to rid America of a disease than a guy or a girl with the appearances of being superhumans could accomplish and without breaking a sweat?

I would love to read at least a couple of The Executioner novels, but The Library still has 79 more books to be transcribed. There are still 24 Cherry Delights to be transcribed and I’m dying to see how it all ends. Though I don’t believe there is a retirement party for Ms. Delight in Roman Candle (Book #24 of the first series) and the second series has her coming back as a paranormal investigator.

What a concept! Writing one more Cherry Delight were she retires from the Sexecutioner position. How would that go down? If you have any suggestions, please contact me.

The first chapter of Tong in Cheek Cherry is filled in on her next assignment. She was going to have to stop the New York Mafia from making a deal with the Chinese Tong in China.

The doorbell rang.

I took one last peek at myself, nodded approvingly and ran for the door, holding the negligee around my mostly bare curves. I opened the door. Mack Condon was in the hall with a scowl on his face.

The scowl should have warned me, but I was so happy to see him I forgot for the nonce that he and I worked together. “Come on in,” I caroled, and swung the door wide.

He got a good look at my bare breasts under black nylon and my indented bellybutton with all my bare legs showing. His eyes got wide, he whistled soundlessly.

“Hey, wow,” he breathed.

“Don’t just stand there, come on in.”

“It’s all wasted, Cherry,” he muttered, doing what I asked.

“What’s all wasted?” I wanted to know, closing the door behind him.

His hand made a motion in the air. “The girlish goodies are wasted—for now. We have a job to do. The Mafia just got Bill Tomkins.”

“Ohhhh, no!”

The entire chapter one of Tong in Cheek is available on Mr. Fox’s official website.

I am curious to know if Mr. Fox came up with the titles of his books. I have a suspicion that Mr. Fox would get requests from his literary agent, August Lenniger, who was in direct contact with the publishers who were looking for “hot” books to print and sell. I’m sure he would have had a working title for his manuscripts, but whether or not those titles made it to print would have been decided by the publishers. It must have been a real challenge trying to come up with catchy titles like Tong in Cheek.

Original Glen Chase Cherry Delight #2 Tong in Cheek Gardner F Fox book covers

Originally published in 1973 by Leisure books
The Cover Artist: Uncredited Photographer
I digitally transcribed this book on my own in 2019.

In a second print run the spine actually reads Tongue in Cheek.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter three of Tong in Cheek were Cherry is about to eliminate her first quarry:

I reached down, brought the door with us. I left a little crack so I could peep through. Meanwhile, Derek was still performing with genital gusto, his shaft driving in and out of me, drowning me in diddling delight. My own hips surged to meet his own, we were in a voyeuristic heaven. 

Because we were both watching through that little crack between door and jamb, we saw the girl with her naked body kneeling between his hairy thighs, her brown hair falling loosely, we saw the lift and drop of her head. The man on the bed was groaning, his hips rising, falling. 

The girl was too smart to let him spend too soon. She had to earn her money, she didn’t want the man complaining. She rose up away from him, paused to lick her lips and stare down at her lollipop. It quivered, wet and long, before her stare. 

“Hey,” protested the man. 

“Want to play with me now,” said the girl. 

I figured there was little or no chance of his noticing the partially open door. He had eyes only for her bowl-shaped breasts that dangled and swung as she started her crawl over him. The girl paused to let one breast swing and bump against his erection, using that breast to caress him. I could hear the hiss of his inhaled breath at the touch. 

Then she was crouched above his chest, her thighs splayed wide apart, and Mustache-man was gluing his eyeballs to that red, wet gash spread so enchantingly for his stare. She hunkered down, squatting frog-fashion, right over his face. He could see nothing but those genitals she was showing him. 

It would have been easy to kill him. 

All I would have to do was stand here and fire the Savage .32 which Kim Chow had given me. The only trouble with that was, the girl would hear the sound and see us, and be almost deafened by the noise of the shot, which would reverberate from wall to wall of the whole damn building. 

There had to be a better way. 

I left the door open just a crack as Derek began backing up toward the bed. I wanted on that bed just as badly as he did, but I was afraid that my quarry would give us the slip. I freely admit I wasn’t reasoning too clearly at that moment, Derek was pounding away and I was pounding right back at him, I said the hell with it and let him push me down on the covers. 

We went at it hot and heavy. 

We rolled and bounced across that bed and back and forth for I don’t know how long, and we enjoyed every minute of it. I peaked again and again, and I know he did too, at least twice. He was pretty great with the staying powers, was the Englishman. 

All good things must come to an end, and pretty soon I found myself cramped in a ball under him, with him sobbing out his delirium in my ear as his body wept its own special brand of love tears inside me. 

We clung together, shivering. Then I whispered, “Let me hit the john, honey.” 

He drew back. I heard what seemed to be an echo of my own voice from the room next door. The girl was saying, “No more, not now. I gotta go take care of myself. I’ll be back.” 

“I want the whole night, Su Fo. I gotta job to do that’s going to keep me corked up like a bottle in the ocean, I got to get my rocks off in one night.” 

Su Fo giggled. I heard the pad of bare feet, the slither of a dress. Probably there was a house rule about the girls running around the corridors bare-ass. I lay beside Derek and tried to get my strength back. 

Su Fo said, “You take little nap. I be back.” 

“You’d better be. I paid double for the use of this room all night long, and I’m not going to waste a penny of it.” 

Again she giggled. I heard the door open and close. 

My hands pushed Derek back and away. I slid noiselessly across the bed as he watched me dreamily. I put a forefinger to my lips to caution him to silence, and jerked my head at the slightly open door into the next room. 

Derek sat up, alarmed. He mouthed the words, “You can’t just walk in on them. They’ll bring the house down around us.” 

I whispered back, “Leave this to me.” My handbag was within easy reach. I lifted and opened it, drew out the Savage revolver. Then I swung about and walked toward the door.

We all can suspect what will happen next and that’s what these stories are all about, getting just excited enough to want to know what happens next and next and next.

This is escapist fiction. For the time we spend in the story, we are able to not be ourselves. These stories get us to play out a fantasy as a superhuman warrior. Someone who can slay the dragon and get the damsel.

The Mack Bolan Executioner series is written in the first person, which can help a guy get into the role. But the Cherry Delight series is also written in the first person, which makes it a little awkward. Sometimes, it feels like you’re reading your sister’s diary. I’m not a fan of first-person reads. I think they lack the descriptive power of maintaining you in the setting that third-person stories seem to do better at.

I can say with confidence and without reading an Executioner novel that Mr. Fox used Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan series as a template to write the Cherry Delight series. Mr. Fox did have the challenge of writing more about sex than violence in his series, but he had enough training in writing eighteen of the twenty-five Lady from L.U.S.T. books.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that artists, especially paperback writers, copied other popular work of the times to get creative and paid. I’m just surprised that no one tried to copy either the Lady from L.U.S.T. or Cherry Delight series. I wonder why?

original scratchboard art illustration by kurt brugel book cover for Glen Chase Cherry Delight novel Tong in Cheek

I create the cover illustrations to size. I work on 6 x 6 black Ampersand Scratchboard. The book covers are 6 x 9, which leaves 3 inches for text. I want a clean “Penguin Books” look and feel to the covers. I’m using the “Pretty Faces” motif to keep a unified look and feel to the whole library. The back cover has an image of the original cover, the date it was originally printed, and the original story description.

I used this photo reference of a beautiful Asian woman looking all mysterious to inspire the cover illustration I scratched out for Tong in Cheek.

photo reference used for book cover illustration

I really wanted to play on the mystery of what this story was about in one image. I felt like the image was meeting my expectations for the story. I also don’t want to do 29 variations of Cherry Delight’s portrait. Since myself imposed art challenge to do a pretty face for each of Mr. Fox’s books, it will be a lot easier for me to come up with and stay enthusiastic about a different image for each story.

Here’s a short video I put together of me working on the scratchboard process.

I have had many positive comments about the new “Pretty Faces” covers. I feel pretty confident I will be able to do all 156 book covers, that I’ve challenged myself to do, as well as transcribe and review for The Library.

I suggest you join my Newsletter to get notifications of when I’ve posted a new blog entry.

If you’d like to own a digital or a paperback copy of Tong in Cheek, you can order eBooks Here and Reprints Here.

I will not be working on books in the order as Mr. Fox wrote them. I am doing the book cover designs and reviews based on when the transcribers who are assisting me, finish one. As they complete a book, it will be the newest release, so it will get a new book cover design and review.

Thank you for stopping by and finding out more about what I’m doing. You can also see all of the books that have been transcribed so far by visiting The Gardner Francis Fox Library’s official website.

Sincerely,

Kurt Brugel
Custodian & Illustrator

I’d like to thank Paul Bishop for his two websites: Spy, Guys and Gals and Forgotten Books: Sex Espionage! They were both excellent resources for researching the super-soldier/crime-fighter topic.

COMMENTS:

8/13/2019 from Richard

 “One From Column A, One From Column B” is a reference to a style of menu popular in Chinese restaurants of the time. The diner selected one item from each column. 🙂