My wonderful parents are ardent antique collectors, and one of their finds scared the liver out of me when I was a child. The cover of Edgar Wallace’s THE CRIME BOOK OF J.G. REEDER became one of my first obsessions. I was frightened to look at it, yet I could not look away. Even now, when I visit my parents from across the country, I sneak upstairs and pull it off the shelf just to recapture that sick thrill.
The second book, a hardcover anthology titled simply GHOST STORIES, was a present I received for my ninth birthday. And it was one I specifically requested; I’d seen it at a bookstore a few months previously and could not get that cover out of my mind. The stories inside were a disappointment (with the exception of an excellent little number called “The Sybarite” which featured a terminally ill man being surgically reduced to a brain in a jar), but thirty years later, the cover is still one of my favorites.