However I first heard of the line, either through Fangoria magazine or the wonderful catalogs from the Overlook Connection, I had The Cipher in my hands by spring '91 (although I believe I read it over the summer, after I'd read the second book published, Brian Hodge's "Miami Vice"-meets-Mr. Hyde mashup Nightlife). Revisiting those days is a delight. I really get such a horror fan thrill at peeking behind the curtain, seeing inside the publishing world and the marketing research that went into launching a new line of paperbacks. Book displays, postcards, bound book samples, publicity releases, and newsletters: this stuff speaks deeply to my archivist nature.
Who can resist these Xeroxed pix of horror writers hanging out and signing books, giving background and insight on their novels, little personals deets and info nuggets and cut-out art and upcoming releases, all crammed in like a classic punk zine. I would have killed to have had access to this stuff back then.
In 1992 I went with my bookstore boss to a huge booksellers convention in Atlantic City, held in one of the casinos (I found the zombie-like hordes on the gambling floors disturbing). I was a little intimidated by the "business" of it, but I recall scoring some great swag, in particular a hardcover copy of Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls. I recall the person working the Dell table came over to me as I picked the book up, giving me the hard sell like "She's one of the hottest horror writers around right now, this is her first novel, and we're super excited about it!" I was like, "Man, I totally know who that is, I've been waiting for this!" Of course the person promptly insisted I take the book and tell my friends about it. I'm sure I did and I'm sure they didn't give a shit which is why I'm writing this blog for you lo these three decades later. So thank you and enjoy!