Saturday, July 28, 2007
Some of you will be aware of the fact that recently, book covers have become a contentious issue... many books are starting to bear some, well, striking simmilarities to each other... John Rickards has one of the more talked about cases in the blogosphere, with one of his novels bearing the same cover as someone from the same publishing house and the most recent bearing an unfortunate image simmilarity to John Saul.
The thing is, a lot of crime covers are starting to look the same. Insert image of corpse/landscape/object, add text, go to print. Its becoming harder to get a real sense of the books they're wanting us to pick and read. But every so often, something comes along that grabs your attention.
I love these new covers. Yes, they're using a kind of standard generic photo, but they're still having fun and they're marking Pelecanos out in a unique fashion. Each book is branded to say: this is Pelecanos.
Of course, Pelecanos was lucky with covers in his Serpent's Tail days, too. I absolutely adored the cover to King Suckerman, which was what prompted me to pick up the book in the first place.
In both cases, you have something that stands right out from the moody, standardised covers that are gracing a great deal of modern crime novels here in the UK. There is an energy and an instant identifiable nature about them.
In a way they remind me of the covers that Leonard had when I first started reading (okay, okay, stealing them from my Dad's bookshelves) his novels. The two-tone approach (black and one other colour) combined with a striking image made a real impression. Although Orion has created a style for the new jackets (white background, pencil-sketch images) it doesn't, for me, have the same striking effect as those earlier covers (like Maximum Bob, pictured here).
The thing with books is that the package as a whole is sometimes as important to the buyer as the words inside. That's why, decades later, some fools collect pulp paperbacks and why certain shoppers are careful to check their books for dunts and shelf-wear.