Friday Faceoff – Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone…


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week the theme is phones, so I’ve chosen Stephen Booth’s police procedural crime series Scared to Live – Book 7 of the Cooper and Fry series – see my review here.


This cover, produced by Harper in Feburary 2009, is really effective. I love this one – the classic telephone box silhouetted against the reddish clouds in the open Derbyshire countryside. I think the fonts have also been very well handled on this cover.


This Kindle edition, produced by April 2014 by Witness Impulse, is another very effective cover. The red-hued lane featuring the stone cottages that are popular Derbyshire give this cover a solid sense of place and menace.


Published by Bantam in May 2009, this cover is also eye-catching with a particularly arresting title font glowing out of the dark car park facing the inevitable village pub. However, I think it is ruined by that clunky blue block along the bottom that intrudes with information more appropriate on the back.


This is the cover that features on the book I own – and was published by Harper Collins in June 2011. Perhaps this is unduly influencing me, but this is my favourite. I love the bleakness and the quirky font. Which one do you like best?

27 responses »

  1. I like the first and second b best, but the other two aren’t shabby either. I love the vibrant blue, but I think, like you, there are too many words on the cover.

    • I take your point, Rae, and agree – all the covers pass muster as effectively letting the reader know this is a crime thriller. Good to see a book with such effective artwork across the board.

  2. Ooooh, that second cover is chilling! The color palette combined with the title screams “crime thriller” to me, and I’m assuming that’s reflective of the book’s genre…? Either way, I pick that one.

    • And I agree – it’s a cracking cover. The artwork is beautifully detailed and really subtle, while giving what is normally the lovely village period atmosphere a very creepy cast by clever use of colour. I’m delighted this book is so well represented:)

  3. I have the first book in this series and am really looking forward to it. I’ve heard these are such great reads! I think my favorite is either the first or the last. There’s something so ominous about the scene! I’m not sure if the red or the white is creepier!

  4. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: Don’t Use The Phone – Books by Proxy

    • It’s really effective, isn’t it? I have a hunch if the last cover hadn’t been the one on my own copy, this is probably the one I would have chosen…

      • Yes… I suspect it’s the fact it brings back a raft of very happy/satisfying memories when you look at the cover of a book you loved reading. I know I also find it a struggle to overcome my bias towards those books.

  5. wow , all covers look fantastic , i also like the final cover , really though every single one looks beautiful

  6. What is with those color blocks? It seems there’s always one publisher who insists on separating the author from the rest of the cover and therefore breaking the effectiveness of the cover as a whole. I can’t help but wonder what has kept them as a mainstay in cover design these past several decades. I mean, were they EVER popular?

    • Clearly there must be people who do like them, or perhaps they simply don’t register them – because if EVERYONE hated them as much as you and I, then no one would dream of defacing their book covers with them!

  7. I agree that the last one is the best, but I’m not a target for messy covers with too many elemements (unless we’re talking about epic fantasy/sci-fi paintings 😉 ).

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