I do dearly love this series of Avon horror paperbacks from 1968 and '69 - such vintage-y and creepy goodness! The only one I own is the Matheson; I'd seen a couple here and there over the years and dug 'em, but it wasn't till today that I actually looked at the Stir of Echoes copyright page to find out the artist: Hector Garrido. He was quite prolific too. Great stuff, sir, and thank you. I hope you guys find the off-kilter red-and-black design as horrifically delightful as I do!
As for new horror fiction reviews, I'm halfway through a pretty good '70s novel right now and plan to have my post up later this week...
Will, Good for you my good friend.
Once again, I'm happy to see that we have SUCH similar tastes in all things Terror-ific!
I too, have VERY fond memories of this particular line of paperbacks. In particular, the final one seen here, Raymond Giles' NIGHT OF THE VAMPIRE. Which was offered & advertised for sale by good ol' Captain Company in the back pages of what seemed like every single issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND that I had as a kid ( which was a LOT as I was a serious "Monster Kid" of the era who bought, read & collected every issue that I could get my hands on ) & which, subsequently became the very first adult horror novel that I ever read when I actually FINALLY got around to ordering it when I was about 12 in 1973.
And, OH, how I loved it!
I greedily devoured & yet, savored every single word on each page of it. Especially since it not only featured vampires, a werewolf & a cult of evil witches, but also was chock full of liberal doses of descriptions of sex & nudity too! LOL
Somehow, that poor battered, dog eared thing disappeared after a year or two though ( I probably allowed some school chum borrow it & then never got it back... ) & I never saw another copy of it, though I spent years & years searching through countless used paperback shops, flea markets & yard sales for it in vain.
I was never able to replace it until finding a copy of it available ( where else? ) online about 10 years ago.
Which, I ( of course ) reread almost immediately. And... almost wished I hadn't.
Because, all those wonderfully vivid memories of just how exciting & scary & bloody & sexy the book was, were just the overactive imagination & rampant hormones of my near-teen self.
But still, I had my copy of the novel back in my clutches again among my most prized books in my collection, that's the important part. Right?
And now, tonight, it's SO cool to see it back lined up with it's sister publications with such similar artwork & such. AWESOME!
Hi Will, me again! I loved this series as a kid too! I've only read 2 of the books here: the Matheson ,of course, and The Pedestal. Which is the only one I actually own. And you'd be surprised how interesting it is! Of course it's been awhile since I've read it but it left a lasting impression on me. I remember it being a quiet, slowly paced, and subtly nuanced novel about a young couple who inheirate/buy a big old house and then find the entitled artifact either at a flea market or in the house already and it's -guess what? tall ,dark, and creepy-and up to no good! Moving around at night scraping the floors with it's little clawed feet! Check it out. I just might have to pick it up again myself-
BTW: I just finished re-reading David Martin' masterpiece; "TapTap"...you owe it to yourself to read that one! Probably one of the scariest things I've ever read!
Hey, highway, I've got to absolutely agree with you regarding TAP TAP. Martin's genre output in the earlly to mid '90s was terrific stuff, with TAP TAP being the best of the lot.
Now Willl, I know that it's a couple of years beyond your cutoff date, but if you were ever to make an exception, TAP TAP is one of those books that I'd DEFINITELY recommend you do it for. Seriously.
It's a guaranteed spinechiller & one of those novels that will have you checking your closets & under your bed before turning out your lights at night. This, you know, coming from a very thick skinned, jaded lifelong aficionado of horror fiction.
I love the way all these covers slant to the upper right...artistic consistency like that without overt duplication makes for a great-looking series.
Agree about TAP, TAP, btw...a terrific, chilling read.
Ah yes, Ron.
Such good taste. You're a scholar & a gentleman indeed... Just like highwayknees & myself. LOL
Now maybe, just maybe, we can convince our fine host here to expand his horizons just a WEE little bit enough to give TAP TAP a shot. 'Cause, even though it was published a few years beyond what his parameters are, Martin's woefully overlooked horror gem would have definitely fit in nicely with the very best of the '70s & '80s genre classics.
Don't you think?
bluerose and highwayknees, welcome back. Glad to hear you have some great horrorific memories of this little "series." These covers just had to have made an impression on somebody, I thought when I posted this. Maybe one day I will own them all...
As for TAP TAP, I recognize the cover but had no idea it had any kind of reputation at all. But this is high praise indeed! I will be on the lookout for it on my next bookstore trip. Right now I'm trying to find a copy of LET'S GO PLAY AT THE ADAMS'.
Will, I'm so glad to hear that you're going to keep an eye out for TAP TAP now. By all means, do your best to obtain a copy, 'cause YEAH, it IS that good. I know you'll enjoy it.
Martin is actually ( from what I gather ) a somewhat celebrated "literary author" under his David Lozell Martin moniker. But, for a period of a few years there he wrote four or five ridiculously good thriller/chillers, LIE TO ME, BRING ME CHILDREN, CUL DE SAC & TAP TAP. All of which are really fine, edge-of-your-seaters.
And, now that you may be on your way to obtaining & ( hopefully ) enjoying one of my favs, I wanted to let you know that I've ordered one of yours based on your praise of it here.
I've ordered a copy of Kim Newman's ANNO DRACULA & I'm quite looking forward to receiving it & delving into it.
Gee I'm glad I hit a nerve with my TAP,TAP rec! I was sure I couldn't be alone in my admiration for that novel!! It was just as good the second time around! I'd forgotten some of the twists and turns.And yes bluerose, the rest of Martin's output is also recommended . His thrillers anyway. Especially after TT,- CUL De SAC and LIE TO ME. They are more straight thriller mode than TT is , but still heart-poundingly violent.
Actually I've since investigated some of Martin' other output -going forwards and backwards hoping to unearth another gem. And he is a wonderful writer all around. There is a tear-jerker about animals that "talk" to a main character called, CRAZY LOVE that I swear will have you choked -up at the end! I even read one of his most recent books -a memoir called LOSING EVERYTHING. Which is a horror story of a different kind! But i know fictional thrillers and horror are what we're here for so I'll shut up now.
Ah, LET'S PLAY AT THE ADAMS'...now there's a soul scorcher. I've never quite determined which delivers the hardest hit to the psyche: Mendal's LET'S PLAY... or Ketchum's THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. Both play to the same horrific theme, but each does so in a unique way that makes both well worth reading.
Jim, to make it more palatable to our good host, I wonder if TAP, TAP was ever released in mass paperback? I have the hardcover 1st (even inscribed to me by Martin!), complete with the money-back guarantee sticker on the front. It'd be interesting to see what was done with the paperback...
Ron, Yes it was released in paperback. In fact, that's how I bought & read all my Martin novels, in mass market paperback.Which, since we're on the subject, I'll get on my soabox here for a bit & decry the apparent near death of the format.
not that i have anything against the hardcover or trade paperbacks. Both definitely have their place & I buy both.
Hardcovers for a select few "special" authors like Stephen King, John Connolly & Joe Lansdale. And, plenty of trade paperbacks. But, while I enjoy getting trades, I absolutely HATE that for far too many books these days, it's the trade or nothing. we'll never see it as an actual paperback book.
In fact, it appears that for at least half the hardcover books published now, we'll only see them as trade paperbacks rather than the "real thing".
For whatever reasons, the publishing industry has apparently decided to phase out the good, old fashioned, pocket sized paperback in favor of the larger, more expensive trade version.
Which, to me is a crime.
It eliminates a lot of the impulse buys & the trying out of new authors IMO because instead of spending $6.99 or $7.99 for a pocket book, consumers are now being required to spend twice that on a trade. And it just sucks if you ask me. Big time!
I'm sure there must be some sort of twisted, greedy rational for the book industry to be doing this, but I just hate it...
At this rate, it seems to me that the standard paperback is a definite endangered species & might just be a thing of the past in five years or less.
A real tragedy IMO to book lovers like me.
I haven't bought a new paperback book since 1998, I think it was a Walter Moseley SF novel for a bus ride. Never read it, either. Suck on that, publishing industry!
You're preaching to the choir, Jim...not only do I lament the gradual and progressive death of the mass-market paperback for the same reasons as you, but my passion in books that's second only to horror material are the old noir vintage paperback-originals from the '50s and early '60s (Gold Medal, et al). Paperbacks hold a special place in my heart (and library) and I'm saddened to see their slow, unfortunate, and (from what I've read) greed-driven decline.
Oh, bluerose, this is a perfect place for your soapbox! Have you seen the oddly-shaped "mass market" paperbacks that have just started showing up on racks? Weird. Gimme gimme vintage paperbacks!
Oh, do you mean those skinnier, taller ones that they began releasing a couple of years ago? Yeah, I hated them at first sight & wanted nothing to do with them.
But, I wound up having to buy a couple of them because two of my favorite author's work was published in that form. And you know what?
Oddly enough, they do fit in the hands better.
If thae new shape was the big change in the industry, I'd have been fine with it. Unfortunately, the greedy bastards couldn't leave well enough alone & now they're looking to make the poor paperback go the way of the dodo.
I wonder if it's just an American thing or if it's going on across the pond as well?
Just bought a used copy of TAP, TAP today - 3 chapters in, so far so good! Thanks folks.
So did I miss it? Or didn't you ever post a review of your take on TAP TAP? I know a lot of my compadres here would be interested in hearing your impressions on one of our favorite chillers...
Of Course looks like Im going back four years now in this post- so maybe you'd forgotten most of what you read y now? If you did write something on the subject of TT can you send me the link please?
No I didn't write a review of TAP TAP here or anywhere else. I quite enjoyed it, yep, a real chiller w some disturbing stuff (a line about people "whose methods stand somewhere beyond horror" really struck me!) but never really thought of writing it up for the blog; didn't seem to quite fit. And somewhere along the line my copy disappeared.
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