Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Paperback 956: The Big Gold Dream / Chester Himes (Avon T-384)

Paperback 956: Avon T-384 (PBO, 1960)

Title: The Big Gold Dream
Author: Chester Himes
Cover artist: [George Ziel]

Estimated value: $50-60
Condition: (9+/10)

Best things about this cover:
  • She has that face I get when I look at the internet for too long. But she has better lips. And better hair. In that she actually has hair.
  • Love the Big Gold Font
  • I'm not usually a big fan of the multi-scene cover, largely because it makes all the visual elements too small to have the kind of dramatic impact I like, but this particular iteration is nicely handled. Captures the darkness and brightness (and architectural elements) of the city really nicely.
  • This book is in indescribably great condition. Shiny. Square. Unfaded. Tiny bit of wear to spine and very faint warp toward the tippy top of the book are the only things keeping this from 10/10 condition rating.
  • Chester Himes is a really important writer—possibly the most important black crime fiction writer in US history. The fact that I own a first-edition Himes in *this* condition is one of the crowning glories of my 20-year collecting addiction odyssey.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Those numbers slips are Fantastic. The rest, blargh.
  • Does have a compelling opening line, though. I want to dream about pies exploding with 100 dollar bills!
  • "The smell of fresh violence filled the air" is one of the more haunting lines I've read on a back cover.
  • Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones remain the best-named detectives in crime fiction history. Hercule shmercule.

Page 123~

Slick turned his stare back to Susie. "You're not very bright, rockhead," he said. "He wants to cut himself a slice of our pie."
"He's going to get more slices than he's looking for," Susie threatened.

Ooh, double entendre. Good one, Susie.


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Anonymous said...

Just FYI -- the artist is George Ziel. He did quite a few of the Avon Himes first editions -- "The Crazy Kill" , "Real Cool Killers" etc. Lynn Munroe has an excellent article / gallery on his site, if you're so inclined. I especially love his later Gothics and Horror covers.

Rex Parker said...



Edo Bosnar said...

Just happened to read this about a week and a half ago; I have the first two volumes of Himes' Harlem cycle (three novels per volume), plus a 70s-vintage Penguin edition of Cotton Comes to Harlem, which are one of my summer reading projects. I'm really envious of this copy you have, as I just love the old paperback covers from the '50s and '60s.
Himes, by the way, is indeed and important and top-notch writer, and his Gravedigger and Coffin Ed crime novels have been a fascinating read so far.