Wednesday, November 02, 2016

I Have James Lee Burke Covered!

I once read the novels of James Lee Burke like they were potato chips. I simply could not get enough of Dave Robicheaux. And then Dave's violence got a bit much for me, and I stopped reading... but when I came across these book covers I was reminded of how beautifully Burke can write. There's a distinct possibility that I'll be picking up one of his books in the future. You never can tell.

Burke has written non-series books, and series featuring Hackberry Holland, Billy Bob Holland, and Weldon Holland who stars in this week's book cover choice. Let's take a look at the US and UK covers for Wayfaring Stranger---


Both covers are very evocative for me, and both have things about them that I don't like. It won't be an easy choice for me this week.

The US Cover

If I had to name my favorite road in the United States, I would have to say Route 66, the Mother Road. When I was two, my grandmother and mother took me on a road trip from Illinois to Arizona, and the road they took was-- you guessed it-- Route 66. I have since traveled other surviving segments of the road. The interstate system tried to kill it, but it refuses to die. As for the rest of the cover, it seems a bit cluttered to me. Perhaps because Burke's name is so huge that the title and blurb have to compete for the Route 66 acreage. Clear. Crisp. I like the colors. Hmm....

The UK Cover

With that flivver making a quick getaway through an oil field, the UK cover talks to me of the Depression. Of get-rich-quick schemes. Of Bonnie and Clyde. The synopsis of the book tells me that I hit the mark a few times with my assumptions.  I like the fact that the cover doesn't feel cluttered, and I'm always a sucker for a cover that's got plenty of sky on it. But... to someone with bad eyesight, the lines and slightly blurred appearance to the graphics makes me feel as though my glasses are dirty (or my eyes out of focus), and that's a feeling that I do not like.

The Verdict

If I saw both of these books sitting side by side on a shelf, which one would I pick up first? I have to be honest and say that the Route 66 insignia would win out every single time. I'm like Pavlov's dog with that sign. If the US cover did not have that road badge on it? Then my vote would go to the UK cover even though the blurring drives me around the twist

Oy. I think I gave myself a headache....

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



  1. Oh, there is something about that Route 66 signage, isn't there, Cathy? It's such an iconic route, and its history is just woven into US history. That fact alone would probably nudge me to the US cover.

    1. I've lost track of the number of people Denis and I have taken on Route 66, and they always want to stop and have their picture taken by one of the road signs!

  2. Well, I don't mind either cover. I think the U.S. cover would grab me first as it's so in-your-face, big and bold.

    But when I look at the British cover more thoughtfully, I like it. It makes me think about what the book is about. It is quaint and does evoke the Depression.

    But I also am turned off by the blurriness. First I thought it was my glasses. Then I realized it was the design and think it might turn off people who are seniors or have visual problems because we/they wonder if it's us or the cover design that is blurry.

    1. Seems as though you and I are in agreement-- especially when it comes to blurry book covers!


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