I read recently that bestselling '80s horror-fiction scribe Robert R. McCammon refuses to allow his first four novels to be republished today as he feels they're lacking in quality. That may be; I've never read them. It's true! Despite his overwhelming popularity in the late 1980s, I was never much interested in his work, for whatever reason. Every time I mentioned that I liked horror fiction back then, someone would invariably bring him up (or Koontz or John Saul, two other writers I had very little to no time for). I think I read the first few pages of his oft-acclaimed epic Stand-like novel Swan Song (1987) but remained unmoved; then perhaps a short story or two from Blue World (1990) or Book of the Dead (1989). Ah well.
These first four novels, Avon paperback originals all, are varying in terms of cover art quality; I think we can agree that Night Boat (1980), above, is the coolest of the lot. I've heard it's a pretty decent Nazi-zombie read.
They Thirst (1981) Pretty pedestrian but there's at least a kindertrauma associated with it.
Bethany's Sin (1980) Ladies and wild stallions. 'Nuff said.
Baal (1978) Wow, did they give the design job to the night janitor, or the new artist on their first day? Terrible.
McCammon's next two novels, Usher's Passing (1983) and Mystery Walk (1984), were published in hardcover by Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, while the first paperback editions were from Ballantine. The pumpkin house-mouth is kinda interesting.
These older paperback covers aren't nearly as well-known as the Pocket Books reprints of later years, after Swan Song became a NYT bestseller in '87. They all followed the template that book set with the creepy same font, half circle moon, and vanishing point perspective, thanks to artist Rowena Morrill. All out of print today, these later editions were staples of many a horror fiction bookshelf. Just not mine, however.