Norman Partridge is an American author of mystery and horror who got his start in the small press magazines of the late 1980s. Partridge had been working in a library and wrote a children’s novel that was rejected several times. He decided in 1987 to polish up a few horror stories he wrote in college and try his luck with those. Partridge cast an eye toward markets late in the 1980s horror season: Twilight Zone Magazine closed its doors before he could submit, and The Horror Show published its last issue before he could crack the market.
Despite withering death that swept like a plague through the horror marketplace in the mid-1990s, Partridge did remarkably well, due in large part to accolades from some heavy hitters and a solid dose of talent. His first horror sales were to Noctulpa and a freshly-born Cemetery Dance magazine, where his story won the lead spot in issue number two. He earned his chops in many small press magazines, then gained momentum, landing stories in Charles Grant’s Final Shadows, anthologies edited by Joe Lansdale and Martin Greenberg, and an issue of Amazing Stories. His tales were selected for inclusion in a couple of “year’s best” anthologies in the early 1990s. He garnered praise from Stephen King and Peter Straub for his debut novel Slippin’ Into Darkness, which was the first original Cemetery Dance hardcover novel in 1994, later released in mass market paperback by Kensington.
Further success came in the form of two original mass market mysteries for Berkley, a DAW anthology co-edited with Martin Greenberg called It Came from the Drive-In, and a milestone short story collection The Man With the Barbed Wire Fists in 2001. Partridge also did some work in the comics business and wrote a Crow novel, Wicked Prayer, which was loosely adapted to screen in 2005. One of my favorite Norman Partridge books is a signed, limited hardcover edition from Subterranean Press, Mr. Fox and Other Feral Tales, an extensively expanded edition of his 1992 short story collection. It is one of my favorites by him for two primary reasons: it contains a reprint of his short story “Velvet Fangs” which, while not his best work, was nonetheless my introduction to him back in 1993; my first semi-pro fiction sale was to Joseph K. Cherkes, and my story “Last Respects” appeared in the Haunts #25 Summer 1993 issue alongside “Velvet Fangs.” My second reason for enjoying Mr. Fox so much is that it serves as a semi-autobiographical journey of a writer, a text that is both entertaining and instructive for aspiring scribes.
Partridge’s Halloween themed short novel Dark Harvest is required reading for the hardboiled horror fan. Dark Harvest was published by Cemetery Dance in 2006, then picked up by TOR in 2007. The book got some nice recognition from Publisher’s Weekly, won a Bram Stoker award, and was nominated for both the World Fantasy and International Horror Guild awards.
To browse the list of Norman Partridge titles currently available on Amazon, click here.
These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright.