Title: Guilty Bystander
Author: Wade Miller
Cover artist: jonas
Yours for: $10
Best things about this cover:
- It's like someone threw a vase painted with a decorative seascape right into this dude's eye. That, or his right eye is a kind of dream projector. And he dreams of ... a boat.
- Was Jesus crucified on that boat? There are three crosses. And blood.
- I love jonas's work. More surreal and abstract than the representational style that would come to predominate in the '50s (James Avati covers would come to define the Signet aesthetic once Signet was no longer in this weird hybrid phase with Penguin)
Best things about this back cover:
- Wacky photo!
- Ugh, early pb designers really did flounder—picture should be at least three times its current size and the absurdly long bio + extensive summary of critical history should be cut to ... virtually nothing. This was back when publishers imagined that paperback consumers cared about things like "critics." I mean, can you imagine someone using the word "encomiums" on a crime fiction (or romance or thriller or western) cover today?
- When did people start using the phrase "Hammett-Chandler school" and can we go back in time and unstart using it?
- Boucher was essentially the only critic taking all this crime stuff seriously, so you see him quoted A Lot. He was a big fan of "unexaggerated hardness." But who isn't!?
Ham and eggs and two cups of coffee cost sixty-two cents. Max Thursday put them away at an all-night joint on Market Street and strode in to the Bridgway, jingling three pennies in his pocket. Despite the beating, he felt fairly good.~RP
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