Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dew Claws by Stephen Gresham (1986): I Just Want to Have Something to Dew

I have no idea what makes "dew claws" scary but this cover is simply nothing but awesome; it must be one of the "greatest" paperback covers of the '80s horror fiction era. It's gotta be, right? Zebra Books really outdid themselves for Mr. Gresham. So many things to unpack: Is the banjo a Deliverance reference? What's up with the baseball cap? "Withered black talons"? Non. And I can't believe that skeleton's phalanges bled all over his banjo head, so it has to be someone else's. Creepy. Found a couple decent reviews of the novel on Amazon and such; anybody read this can give us a little insight?

7 comments:

Aaron Mason said...

God, how in hell did Zebra manage to stay in business? The writing (in most cases) was bad enough, but this...

- Aaron

craig said...

I read this one a while back and it didn't leave an impression on me, but I suddenly think it's time to revisit it. Gresham is actually an ok writer. He also nailed one of Zebra's best-ever covers with RUNAWAY, but conversly got bitch-slapped with one of Zebra's worst covers; ABRACADABRA (not that bad a book, but a lousy cover).

Jenn said...

Excellent cover, terrible title. But I think I would read it based on cover art alone...

Anonymous said...

Actually Aaron, if you can find a source where you can find a good selection of Zebra's stuff for cheap, I'd suggest giving some of it a try. You could do a lot worse IMO.
Despite their all too often over the top cover art, they produced their fair share of decent novels from some much better than you'd suspect authors. Such as Matthew J Costello, Joseph Citro, Rick Hautala, a young Joe Lansdale ( with his lurid shocker ACT OF LOVE ) & the schlocky, but fun pulp fiction of the prolific William W Johnstone. Among others.
Believe me, Zebra's genre output was FAR from ideal. The vast majority of what they published probably well deserves to remain long OOP, but there were, indeed, some gems mixed in amongst the trash.

Jim Allcorn
( aka bluerosekiller )

Aaron Mason said...

Didn't know Lansdale had anything under the Zebra line - I'll have to check that one out.

Honestly most of my experience with Zebra is with the lower rung of their "talent", most recently "Carnivores" by Penelope Banka Kreps, which somehow managed to make prehistoric animals run amok in the Everglades boring and pointless.

- Aaron

.... said...

This beats the jogging skeleton. LOL. Zebra should sell prints of their cover art.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest Thriftbooks.com for whoever's looking for Zebra Horror copies. This is where I buy mine from (yes, thanks to this blog I discovered their mesmerizing coverart) :D