Jan 19, 2010

Covering Covers: Lesser Demons by Norman Partridge

Artist: Vincent Chong

Day job crushed me today so I didn't have time to read or write too much. I did have this gem of a cover in my back pocket though. When I saw that Subterranean Press was coming out with a new Norman Partridge collection, I immediately preordered it. Now Subterranean doesn't publish cheap books but that doesn't mean their editions aren't worth every cent. They really go all out to create beautiful books. And not just the covers but the fonts and the bindings and everything else. It's a guilty pleasure but a pleasure nonetheless.

SubPress does at lot of work with Vincent Chong and it's easy to see why. I love the contrast present in this cover. The bright orange in the title font really stands out against the fade-to-black border that surrounds this curiously lonely farmhouse. It especially emphasizes the "demons" portion of the title which is tied ever so subtlely to the mysterious house by a dusty path.

I'm also a sucker for implied texture and the look of an ancient tattered photograph suggests memories long discarded but not yet faded. Something you keep in your back pocket in a life too unstable to support a frame. It just adds a extra dimension to the cover that I support wholeheartedly. It also makes me think of Paranormal Activity, particularly the especially creepy attic scene. If this cover doesn't sell you, have a look at SubPress's summary:

Tales of hardboiled horror and Twilight Zone noir. Cross-genre blowtorches with bad guys and worse guys. Love stories both dark and bittersweet. A brand new novella and extensive story notes. You’ll find this and more in the fifth collection from three-time Bram Stoker award-winner Norman Partridge, an author Locus calls “one of the most dependable, exciting, and entertaining practitioners of dark suspense and dark fantasy... emphasis on the dark.”

In Lesser Demons, Partridge explores the kind of fiction that made him both a horror fan and a writer. Using the shotgun prose of a crime novel, the title story draws a deadly bead on H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. “The Iron Dead” introduces Chaney, a monster-hunting pulp hero with a mechanical hand built in hell. “Carrion” cuts a mean swath through Robert E. Howard territory, while “The Big Man” explores dark shadows of American life never imagined in the atom-age horror movies of the fifties.
I just recently discovered Partridge (my review of Dark Harvest) but his prose style is so impressive that I'm very excited at the opportunity for more. Additionally, with this collection, I can work toward two of my reading goals this year: consuming more short fiction and exploring the dark catacombs of the horror genre. I don't hit the trifecta (I'm also trying to read more female authors) but two out of three ain't bad. (As a side note, I never did post my reading goals article did I?). Anyway, if you are looking to expand your horizons into something a little more sinister than your typical fantasy, I would definitely give Partridge a chance.


  1. Patridge epitomizes the best kind of edgy American horror, a fusion of the 1980s and the contemporary. Good, violent stuff that's smoother and smarter than the majority of horror genre fare.

    I agree regarding the cover.


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