Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I Have Robert Crais Covered!

Lately I've been luxuriating in sitting by the fireplace, within sight and touch of many of my favorite Christmas decorations, and reading whatever strikes my fancy. A thoroughly decadent and completely enjoyable way to spend the days leading up to Christmas.

That's just the afternoons, though. In the evenings I can be found in the family room with my knitting needles clacking away at full speed. But I can knit, solve a mystery on television, and think about the blog all at the same time. (Now... I'm not a spinster, and I don't live in St. Mary Mead, so don't think I spend my off hours in an Agatha Christie novel!)

This week while working on a scarf, I decided to compare the US and UK covers of the book I'd just finished reading: Robert Crais's The Promise. Let's take a look, shall we?

The US Cover

The words are what jump out at you from this one, and I'm told that this is the future of book covers. With so many books being purchased online, bold colors and more geometric shapes are what show up better on computer screens of all shapes and sizes. If this is indeed true, I'm going to miss the more "graphic rich" covers. 

The author's name and the book title are the two most important things on the US cover. In the small print you can see that Crais is the "#1 New York Times-Bestselling Author of Suspect," and that this is "An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel." 

There's lots of scary, shady things going on in The Promise, and that's indicated in the darkness of the graphic. Beyond the hills are the bright lights of Los Angeles, and there's the silhouette of a dog on the street. It's the dog that encouraged me to read this book. Crais's Suspect featuring LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his partner, a German Shepherd former war dog named Maggie, made that book one of my best reads this year. Knowing that they are also in The Promise sealed the deal. I'm glad that Maggie is on the cover.

I have to admit that there isn't a lot to this cover. I think the publisher believes all Robert Crais's fans need are his name and the title. Sometimes this really works for me. Sometimes there's just something about a simple cover that says, "All you need is the author's name and the title. This book is good. It doesn't need fancy pictures to sell it."  

The UK Cover

By comparison, the UK cover is almost flowery. But you can tell that Crais is a big deal on the other side of the pond, too. The stand-out parts of the cover are his name and the book title. You also see that he's "The Sunday Times Bestseller," that this is "An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel," and a little teaser that says, "He said he'd find her. Now he'll stop at nothing."

But take a look at how much more of the graphic is allowed to show on the UK cover. The palm trees, mountains, and distant lights of Los Angeles. And there's Maggie. I can't tell what she's sitting at the side of. A road? A beach? Whatever it is, this graphic doesn't really work for me. For one thing, Maggie needs to be a bit bigger. (Does the UK publisher believe a bigger Maggie would scare off all the cat-loving readers?)

The Verdict

I actually prefer the US cover this time. The font used for the author's name and the book title are bolder and stand out much better compared to the one used on the UK cover.  And although I can't see much of it, I prefer the graphic on the US cover as well. The darkness highlights the very real danger in the book, while the graphic on the UK cover looks a bit bland. Maggie could just be sitting there waiting to play a game of fetch with Scott for all I can tell.

What Say You?

Which cover do you prefer? US? UK? Neither one? Too close to call? Inquiring minds would love to know!




  1. I like the British cover because I like to see more of the graphic, although I agree it could be a bit more menacing and more of Maggie should be seen.

    Also, since I proofread, I notice when letters go too close to the edge of a page or a photo cuts into the credit. So I like to see some margins and space around letters.

    And I like graphics, not big, bold letters. Alas, it does seem to be the way things are going. Publishers like one word titles that are dramatic like "Toxin" or "Coma" or "Mercy," and no graphics. Maybe they think those words and an author's name will catch readers quickly. But I'm not motivated by these styles.

    1. Like you, that "no margins" style tends to annoy me.

  2. I like the US cover better, Cathy. It has more of a sense of urgency about it, which I like in that sort of novel.


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