Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Darkest Room - cover opinions

Continuing my series of cover opinions about the 2010 International Dagger shortlist, this time it's the turn of The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin.

The Darkest Room is currently available in one US edition and two UK editions.

So what are you thoughts on the US (LHS) and UK (RHSx2) covers? Which would entice you to pick the book up if you were not familiar with Johan Theorin?

My thoughts:

I don't particularly like the US cover as it doesn't resemble the setting of the book though it does (perhaps) convey the cold weather. I do like the fact that the translator's name, Marlaine Delargy, is on the front cover.

I like the UK trade paperback edition cover with its light-house (though the story revolves around twin light-houses) and at least gives the idea that the story is set by the sea.

But I absolutely loathe the UK paperback edition cover as it is in the current style of 'generic crime novel' cover ie distressed furniture (bath, chair, staircase) in a disgusting room. It makes it look like an urban setting which is far from the truth and worse it has an incorrect statement about the plot.

If you haven't read this book, I recommend not reading the blurb on the back cover which gives away more than I at least would like to know. Maxine's review of The Darkest Room, of course, does not give too much away.

I also don't like the title as it doesn't seem to fit the story that well.

Finally, the third part of the quartet, A Place of Blood, will be published in March.


Bernadette said...

I can remember thinking when my copy arrived that it was a good job I knew who Theorin was because nothing about the cover would have enticed me - and yes I got the UK paperback version.

Of them all I think the UK trade paperback is the best but none of them are particularly standout really. Good thing his writing doesn't need covers to sell it :)

Anonymous said...

Karen - I agree; the UK cover with the lighthouse is the best one. Funny you'd mention covers that have nothing to do with the story. They're really misleading, some of them...

Donna said...

I've not read Theorin so I'm coming at this completely afresh. Of the 3 covers, the one you don't like would probably be the one that attracts me to the book (although I might be a bit confused if the book has nothing to do with the cover!) The lighthouse one is good. The US one does nothing for me and I definitely wouldn't pick it up because of that.

Maxine Clarke said...

I like the Lighthouse cover too, though like you I deplore the fact that the translator's name is not mandatory on front covers! The US cover is not to my taste. The UK paperback cover - it has nasty echoes to me -- I don't think I hate it as much as you do (my pet hate is crime novels that have gory, bloody covers with dead bodies, skulls etc) -- but I don't think it has a great deal to do with the book! I also agree that blurbs are getting more and more annoying about giving away the main plot points of almost all the book - my policy decision is not to read any of them. Can lead to reading a few horrors, though!

Mediations said...

I prefer the Swedish cover which you can see at along with a video interview with Theorin, filmed on Ă–land.

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

I do like the Swedish cover.

Nan said...

I'm really not wild for any of them. In this time of beautiful book covers (which so often are better than the words inside) it is surprising there aren't better ones on the Icelandic and Scandinavian books. And I think the translator's name should be right below the author's on the front. If it weren't for their work, we English speakers would never be able to read them. The best covers I've seen are those by Helene Tursten. They have a continuity from one book to the other and are just the right colors, too. You may see them here:


The Wallander books by Henning Mankell also have wonderful covers and look so beautiful lined up on my shelf!

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

The Indridasons are getting new covers: which are quite striking and no grungy buildings in sight!

Anonymous said...

I confess I read the book partly on recommendation from your blog, as far as I remember. I think the UK cover conveys the setting, the title is rather vague. I associate Scandinavian novels with the colour blue and white. Since I ordered the book from the library in the UK I accepted it as I wanted to read it, but I agree that the cover has a great influence on what I pick up,accept or reject, either in a book shop or library.
Anything gory is not for me.

Keishon said...

I agree, the US cover is very boring. I didn't use it for my review. I like the UK cover and the other one, the Swedish cover? I loved the story and am looking forward to the next book in this planned quartet.

Barbara said...

I wish I knew what was going through the designer's head when he did the US covers. There must be a reason, but I think they're just awful. (The first is much, much worse.)

And I wish they'd kept something of the Swedish titles because I can never remember the English ones. Too generic.

kathy d. said...

I don't like any of them too well.

I do like most of the new Indridason covers.

I like clean lines, clear, not blurry, and somewhat big or interesting fonts and colors. I like the blue/greens for covers and pictures for the Nordic books, that convey the climate.