Wednesday, February 17, 2016
I've Got Val McDermid Covered!
Sometimes it's just not fair. Wildflowers are blooming. So are trees and shrubs. Birds have already refurbished their nests, and I've heard the peeping of their newly hatched young. Spring is almost full-blown here in the Sonoran Desert, while some of you are living in icebox conditions elsewhere. I guess it evens out when summer rolls around though!
I've been making plans for Left Coast Crime, for people who are coming to visit, and for a vacation to be taken later on in the year, but that didn't keep me from scouting around for the US and UK book covers of a crime fiction novel for us to compare.
Let's get to work!
As you can see, I chose Val McDermid's latest book, Splinter the Silence, and-- once again-- the US and UK publishers have given us two very different covers.
There are two things that I notice almost immediately about the US cover. The first is that the fonts and bold, simple graphics that are used remind me of covers I've seen lately for books written by male authors. Robert Crais's The Promise springs to mind immediately. For once I happen to like the simple-yet-bold approach here. It grabs my attention, and there's something about that handprint on the blood red background that gives me a frisson of danger.
The second thing that I noticed about the US cover is that it could almost be accused of trying too hard. It does tell us that this is a Tony Hill and Carol Jordan book, which is good, but then there's the "Internationally Bestselling Author" and "Over Twelve Million Books Sold Worldwide." It's as though the marketing department is screaming at the men-who-only-read-successful-male-authors demographic. After all, remember actor Val Kilmer? Val can be a man's name.
On the other hand, we have a scene of Mother Nature throwing a fit on the UK cover. An old stone bridge spanning an ice cold stream. Mountains. A sky on fire with a blast of light and a bolt of lightning. Yikes!
The UK cover tells is that McDermid is "The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller" and "McDermid remains unrivalled... Brilliant" (that from the Observer). I thought it a bit strange that no mention is made of Tony Hill or Carol Jordan, but McDermid is probably such a big name in the UK that readers grab her books regardless if they're standalones or part of a series. The only other thing that gets my notice is that the fonts used for the author's name and the title aren't as "stand out" as the US cover.
Now for the one I prefer. Yes, that sky does catch my eye, but I'm sitting here with both covers up on one of my three screens, and it's the US cover that my eye keeps going back to. The font, that blood red background, that handprint, and the way McDermid's name jumps out at me means that this is the cover that would grab my attention and make me take it off the shelf.
How about you? Which cover do you prefer? UK? US? Neither one? Inquiring minds would love to know!