Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I've Got Ann Cleeves Covered!

I hope you're having as much fun with this as I am. I won't say that I've become a cover junkie (yet), but I've certainly been gaining a greater appreciation of what makes a good book cover-- at least in my eyes. 

It's also fun tracking down covers, although once in a while I'm disappointed to find that one of my favorite authors isn't published on one side of the pond or the other.

Anyway, this week's covers grace the books of one of my auto-buy authors, Ann Cleeves. She and I both seem to share a love of nature, of wild places, of life in less populated areas. Her Shetland Island series and her Vera Stanhope series are two of my very favorites.

This week, let's take a look at the US and UK covers of her latest Shetland Island mystery Thin Air...

Let's just say right now that I love both covers. For some reason I tend to like "landscape" covers more than I do abstract ones or ones with people on them. When someone's on a cover, she (and it's almost always a she) is usually blocking my view. I sound like a grouchy old hermit, don't I? Let's just say it's part of my charm. Now let's get down to business!

The UK cover's red sky is striking. I want to take advantage of low tide to walk down that beach to the house in the distance. Will I be welcome? Or should I stay away? And who pulled those two boats up on the beach? Should I worry about where they are? And why are the boats so far away from the house?

As you can tell, I've been drawn right into that cover. I've already stumbled over one of those rocks. I can tell right off the bat that this is the UK cover. Why? Because Ann Cleeves' name is at the top in huge letters. She's one of the best writers in the UK. She won a Gold Dagger in 2006, and she's up for the Crime Writers' Association's Dagger in the Library Award at the end of June. The folks in the UK know who she is. All that's needed-- and in much smaller letters-- is the title of the book, the fact that it's a Shetland novel, and a little tease to make sure we buy the book.

And then there's the US cover. The blue of the sky and the pinks of the clouds give the cover a slightly hopeful air that is belied by the steep black cliffs and the pounding surf on the rocks below. That sturdy stone house at the top of the cliff seems to be hiding from us. Why? What secrets does it have? Or is it just trying to take shelter from an incoming storm? I've seen a house much like this one in Elgol on the Isle of Skye. This house and its setting speak to me.

What else is there to see on the US cover? The title is much more prominent, with Cleeves' name far below it-- but just in case any of us Americans have seen the "Vera Stanhope" television series or read the Shetland novels, those facts are mentioned. Since many readers gravitate toward award-winning books, that gold foil seal catches our eye to tell us that yes, this author has won awards.

Now... which one do I prefer? Both covers drew me right in. I wanted to explore both of them. As I said at the beginning, I like them both, but one does make me want to pick it up faster than the other. Which one? The US cover. It has hope and foreboding, the sky and the sea, and a house with a view. There is a feeling of reserve in the UK cover that kept me from warming up to it as much as I did the US version.

Now it's your turn. What about you, friends? Which cover do you prefer? US? UK? Neither one? Inquiring minds would love to know-- and don't forget that if you have trouble leaving comments here on the blog, you're more than welcome to email me your response (kittlingbooks(at)gmail(dot) com) or to leave a comment on Kittling's Facebook page!


  1. I like the US cover better, just for the color palette alone. I agree that they both are appealing though. And, no, I confess I haven't read a single Ann Cleeves book yet. Mean to. LOL

    1. I think I mean to read about as many authors as you do, Kay. There's just no way to get to all of them, is there? LOL

  2. Oh, both of these covers are lovely, Cathy! I can see what you mean about the reserve in the UK cover, but I still have to say I think I prefer it. Perhaps it's the shading, or the boat. Can't really say, but I like it just a little better.

    1. That boat really draws the eye, doesn't it? Like I said, I think it's difficult to choose between the two.

  3. I like the US cover, 'a house with a view', but really it doesn't have a view of the beach. And the house looks forbidding, should we make our way along the rocks, we can't see an entrance, what should we expect? Who lives there?

    1. Appearances can be very deceptive, Betty. Just because the house doesn't seem to have a view from our perspective doesn't mean it doesn't have one. I think this is a cover that has a very personal appeal to me. I love those stone crofter's cottages. I've been in one while winds of over 100 MPH were hammering at the walls, and I still felt snug and safe-- but I've seen more than a few that looked as though they were keeping more than their share of secrets! LOL

      Your talk about how we get up to the place makes me wonder-- did smugglers used to live there? Do they live there still? Bet there's a cave nearby! You've got my imagination off and running again, so I'm glad you stopped by!


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