The PopCult Bookshelf

Nympho Lodge
A Tokey Wedge Swinger
by Jack Lynn
published by Grizzly Pulp

Grizzly Pulp has resurrected one of the stars of the sleazy adventure pulps, Tokey Wedge. I have to be honest with you, I’d never heard of the character before now, and it took quite a bit of research to convince myself that this book was not a very cleverly-concocted modern day hoax/parody.

But it’s real. Tokey Wedge was the star of about 20 cheap pulp novels that were originally published back in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Cranked out by proflic “Men’s Adventure” writer Max van derVeer under his “Jack Lynn” psuedonym, these were originally put out by Novel Books of Chicago, reportedly a mob-connected publisher of sleazy pulp fiction who distributed them not through traditional bookstores and newsstands, but through an underground network of bars and establishments that kept them behind the counter.

Essentially, these books were “grindhouse” for folks with no access to a grindhouse theater.

The first book in the series, the subtly-titled Nympho Lodge, is loaded with gunplay, detective-novel tropes and lots of hilariously non-explicit sex. Let’s go to the publisher’s blurb…

​Tough, short, hard as nails (hard in every way) private detective Tokey Wedge is hired by sex-obsessed Janice Bradley for protection from her husband, who she says is trying to kill her. Straightforward case, sounds like. Turns out Tokey’s place of investigation is in a country resort staffed by nymphomaniacs. Fun situation for Wedge, until it all goes to HELL!

I have to give you a warning here: These books are politically incorrect, to say the least. The overwhelming amount of mysogyny, coupled with no small amount of racism and a boat-load of double-entendre made me have to do a double-Google to make sure I wasn’t reading a parody.

The Tokey Wedge adventures are indeed genuine pulp material of the period, following the adventures of a diminutive private eye (variously 5′ 4″ to 5′ 6″ throughout the series) who has an enormous anatomical advantage over the other dicks on the beat.

Yeah, I went there.

This is a cheesy, soft-core adventure porn story filled with fast-paced action and characters who aren’t exactly as emotionally well-developed as the heaving breasts of the women are. There are a lot of descriptions of women in various stages of uncladenness, but in terms of explicitness, these books are like the “adult” movies of the era, where nobody takes off their underwear and the sex is all implied or happens “off-screen.”

For the first time in PopCult history, I do have to give you a trigger warning: The Tokey Wedge adventures are more than a little rapey, and they’re jokey about it. They do not treat women as much more than sex objects. There is also plenty of racism and homophobia on display. In the spirit of the stories, I would say that Tokey could star in a book called “My Trigger Is Huge.”

They are also a fascinating look at how the patriarchy satisfied its more base urges during a time of sexual repression, right before the sexual revolution started bubbling to the surface. I would imagine that a lot of Tokey’s fans back in the day would not want to be caught dead buying a Playboy Magazine at a respectable newsstand, but they still had a couple, and a stack of these pulp novels buried in a shoebox hidden in the garage.

Warnings aside, Nympho Lodge is a brisk, intentionally and unintentionally funny book that can be enjoyed as it was intended, or as a pretty bizarre and amusing artifact of its time.

Grizzly Pulp has done an amazing job here, recreating the look and feel of a cheap pulp novel, with thin cover stock and grayish pulp paper. The book is in the traditional cheap “pocket book” size around 4″ by 7″.

The original plan was to sell these through a network of hip bars and bookstores, but the pandemic put the kibosh on that idea, so you can only get Nympho Lodge, the first of the Tokey Wedge adventures, from their website.

The slipcover

Aside from the period-accurate size, cover stock and paper, Grizzly Pulp has assembled a pretty fantastic package, with new cover art by cheesecake artist extraordianaire, Jim Silke, and a plain black slipcover (for a paperback!) so you can read it in public without “Nympho Lodge”catching everyone’s eye.

I don’t know if they’re still doing this, but I was able to get free shipping, and when the book arrived it was loaded with extras–a photo of a lovely young woman reading the book; a Grizzly Pulp coaster; a Grizzly Pulp poker chip; a “wearing is caring” sticker and black disposable facemask: and an individually-wrapped peppermint Lifesaver.

Nympho Lodge is not without its charms. It’s crass and crude, without being explicit, and that gives it an air of sleazy innocence, if that makes any sense. There’s a reason Tokey Wedge has a cult following. This one lands squarely in the “guilty pleasure” pile.