Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I've Got Peter Lovesey Covered!

Here I am, back like one of those bad pennies, with two more book covers for us to compare.

Lovers of British and American crime fiction soon discover that they have to pay close attention to the books on their wish lists. If some of those titles are published on both sides of the Atlantic, those books could have completely different covers-- and completely different titles for that matter. This means buying a book you've already read is a distinct possibility. If you're like me, I'm sure you've got your own strategies in place to prevent this.

What's fun is to seek out these different covers and to compare them. This week we're going to take out our magnifying glasses for a good long look at Peter Lovesey's latest book, Down Among the Dead Men.... 

Couldn't get more different, could they? 

The American edition is clean and simple. The Rorschach inkblot-like skull stands out, as does the title of the book. Peter Lovesey's name is at the bottom in a dark charcoal grey. He's not as well known over here. There is a blurb by Louise Penny at the top. Now Louise Penny most of us have heard of, and her endorsement will undoubtedly convince some folks to take a chance on the book.

To the right of the title, we're told that this is "A Peter Diamond Investigation," and at the very bottom beneath the author's name for the awards-conscious amongst us is "Recipient of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for Lifetime Achievement in Crime Writing." In other words, this guy is good.

Now let's take a look at the British edition....

You can tell Lovesey is better known across the pond-- can't you-- just by the placement of his name. There's a small blurb from one of the big UK newspapers to tell us that the author is "A master storyteller." Lovesey really doesn't need much of an introduction over there.

The title in red stands out well against the sky, and then there's this sprawling old stately home whose roofline is reflected in the water at the bottom. In its way, the UK cover is just as simple as the cover on the US edition.

Now... which one do I prefer? Hmmm....

The US cover appeals to me because of the colors and because that skull reminds me of Dia de los Muertos-- Day of the Dead-- which is celebrated wherever there is a large Hispanic population. I've made no secret of the fact that I love the art surrounding the celebrations. Easy to see why that skull appeals to me, isn't it? But that's the main reason why I won't choose this cover. Dia de los Muertos says Spanish to me, and Down Among the Dead Men is far from being Spanish. This book and its characters are as British as you can get. Besides, I have a thing for rambling old stately homes, and I doubt that any other country can do them as well as the UK.

So... of the two, I would choose the UK cover. Not only do I find it appealing, I find it most representative of the book itself.

What about you? Which cover do you prefer? US? UK? Neither one? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Oh, I can completely understand your choice, Cathy. I like the UK cover better for the same reason. And Peter Lovesey's work really is quintessentially British (at least to me).

  2. I like the UK one better. Not because of any association having to do with the skull, but just because the UK one appeals to me while the other doesn't. A British setting for a British novel.

    1. Hmm... seems as though I'm the only one (so far) who does like the US cover. It just doesn't fit the book.

  3. The UK cover, for all the reasons you stated. If I didn't already know the author I might pass over the US version because it doesn't

    1. It certainly doesn't say "Lovesey" or "British," does it? :-)


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