Iliad Bookshop I happened upon a copy of Smoke (Zebra, Jan 1988) that was in acceptable condition, for $1.50.
I should have paid less. They should have paid me to take it off their shelves.
If you read Smoke on the sly as a curious pre-teen you might have fond memories of it, but for a 45-year-old adult man with some experience reading horror, the novel offers about as much substance as its title. While not unutterably wretched as that other Zebra perennial William W. Johnstone, nothing in Smoke offered any surprise or delight, nor even any tacky thrills. Jensen's prose is workmanlike, serviceable, obvious; if you were a creative writing teacher you wouldn't fail her, because the grammar and punctuation seem to be mostly correct and there are neither sentence fragments nor run-ons. However metaphor, analogy, insight, wit, humor: such tools seem to be missing from Ms. Jensen's creative toolbox. My god it's all dull dull dull and dry as mummy dust. But maybe not to a 12-year-old, or a person who was not really a reader, as the story is told in a straightforward manner and the characters seem to have motivation, I guess. It was an enormous uphill trudge for me to even skim through the book.
Though I still think some of her covers are fun.