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Jacket copy:

Don't you dare play with Simon's mommy. Cross your heart and hope to die.

The boys at Talbot Academy called him Simple Simon. The weird little kid on the tricycle. The faculty brat with the strange eyes.

But they liked Simon's mother. She taunted them, seduced them, amused herself with their taut young bodies. Such beautiful boys. Three of them killed in such freak, tragic accidents.

Little Simon hated them. Just like he hated the new teacher. Handsome, brilliant blind Christopher. He'd better leave Mommy alone. Or he would have to be punished. Punished in a sightless nightmare. Punished by a vengeful demon. Punished by the last sound his dying brain would know - the squeak, squeak, squeak of a TRICYCLE.

For some reason, I am obsessed with this novel. I have a vague memory of reading it, along a tall stack of similar diversionary fare, while recuperating from mononucleosis after my freshman year of college. The book, as I recall, isn't half-bad; it's more suspense than horror, and as a boarding-school graduate, I have a particular fondness for the sub-subgenre than might be called Prep School Gothic.

But the cover ... maaaaaan. I'm trying to imagine a publisher's marketing department in 1982 (when this book was published) deliberating this book's commercial prospects ... and trying to imagine the same thing being done in 2010. And I can't quite make the leap ... but I'm not sure how to articulate what has changed between then and now.

Sorry, I can't stop laughing.
I know! It's like the bad comedian's saw: "Who are the advertising geniuses who came up with THIS???"
There's a scene in one of the Omen movies where Damien knocks mommy over a railing with his tricycle. Maybe this was an homage? Or perhaps a ripoff.

Next in our publishing cycle: "Big Wheel of DEATH!"
You know, I bet that was indeed the inspiration. I'm just old enough to remember when "bad seed" made-for-TV movies were in vogue during the 1970s. (Anybody remember "Bad Ronald" or "Satan's School For Girls"?)
It’s an unfortunate reality in this mega-media world we live in that people often do judge a book by the cover, but Oh My God. What was marketing thinking there? I share in minervaK sentiment. My thought is if you’re going to go for campy and cheesy look for the cover you should go all the way. I think that the skeleton boy on the tricycle should have Freddy Krueger claws with fire and blood spewing from the skull.
Well, ok, but the content of the novel is really not much different. Sounds like the plot dictated the cover. Not something I would pick up. In fact, the opposite.
Hell, your description scared the hell out of me.

And the cover? Scary as well.
The problem here, it seems to me, is that somebody ruined a perfectly good porn novel by trying to make it scary. And yes, it would definitely sell with a better title and and even worse cover.
porn novel? Funny! Actually that reminds me of what I'm reading at the moment. A mystery novel that wants to be a porn novel. Easy enough to do. Just scatter beautiful naked bodies of dead prostitutes about every few pages and describe the results of the autopsy in detail. Then toss in a few horrid-looking clients eyeing the next girl.
I may give up, though the writing is good. Strange, that.
I'm going to order a copy and refresh my memory, but really, as I said, my recollection is that the writing isn't bad at all.

I can't find much on the author, other than his other titles are just as giggle-worthy: "The Herod Conspiracy" and "The Styx Complex." (My guess is that his career ended after he was unable to sell his next book, "Night Of The Iscariot.")
I think you should go with this idea, I.J. You might be on to something. I'm reminded of that one writer that I can't remember the name of. He said something to the effect of "There are no such thing as bad Ideas - only bad ways to writing a novel."


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