Long Midnight Cover Suggestions 1-4

Added on 07 October 2008

This weekend I received the artwork for the reprint of The Long Barney Thomson. Four covers to choose from. I never gave the designer any direction, and she hasn’t read the book. (Since she doesn’t read English, and the Polish translation of the Barney Thomson series is still several years away, she was never going to be able to read it.) So, as usual, she just began the process with the vague notion that there was a lot of blood involved and took it from there.

So far, I’m going for number three. The first two have the face in the background, which I don’t like. There’s something about a book cover with a face on it. A nameless face. Like those old-fashioned Jackie Collins or a Lynda La Plante type cover, where you get some over-made up plastic-attractive woman, who bears no relation to the story. The person on these two covers is neither over made up nor plastic, and probably not a woman - although it’s hard to tell - but it’s still a face. I don’t want Barney Thomson to have a face - at least, not until Brendan Gleeson plays him in the movie - and if it’s not Barney, then who is it and what are they doing on the front of the book?

Brendan Gleeson would be wrong, wouldn’t he?  Too hard. Still, he’d carry off the accidental murders with some mad-eyed panache.

So, that rules out numbers one and two for me. With number four, the predominantly black cover, there might just be a little too much blood. It looks more like the poster for a slasher movie. And while the undercard of The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson features brutal murder, butchering, slashing, implied cannibalism and gallons of blood, the book itself is much fluffier than that. It’s kind of Ealing comedy meets Hannibal rather than Saw IV meets Hannibal.

Still, I haven’t ruled it out. I like the fact that no matter how closely you look at it, it’s hard to make out what exactly is going on.

Nevertheless, so far my favourite is number three, although there is something generic crime novel about it. The author’s name is written larger than the title of the book, which obviously satisfies my huge writer’s ego. Of course, the fact that the author’s name is slashed in half by a bloody razor, means that my ego is being cleaved in two, sending shock waves of existential agony through my id.

That’s probably not a great use of the word existential.

I was probably never going to get a cover which captured everything that the book was about, and was completely to my satisfaction. And obviously not when the designer hadn’t read it. Actually, I doubt cover designers ever read the book they're designing, much more likely that they just go with the general expectation. Somebody = blood, Somebody Else = pouty tart with glam clothes etc.

The cover remains a work in progress, albeit one that will have to be completed in the next week.