Thursday, April 20, 2006

Misleading cover photo?

This example of the "headless woman" style cover (okay, she's not gowned...) intrigues me, but not in a good way. Unlike most other books with this type of cover, John MacLachlan Gray's The Fiend in Human does not feature a strong female protagonist. Rather, it's a Victorian-era thriller about a tabloid reporter determined to unmask a serial killer... who has been going around strangling prostitutes with a white silk scarf. Hence the cover photo.

What I ask is: does this cover play fair? Do you think it's horribly inappropriate, or do you find it diabolically clever?


  1. Well, it's clever in the sense that the cover would have gotten me to pick it up and leaf through it. (I would have guessed that it was a novel like The Crimson Petal and the White, just from looking at the cover.) But once a flip-through alerted me to its true subject matter, it would have been back on the bookshelf for it.

    Seems to be that it's a cover that will fail to attract male readers, though.

  2. Maybe the artist was going for the antithesis of covers like the one for The Birth of Venus. Instead, we have The Death of Venus.

  3. I'd find it misleading. It doesn't suggest 'thriller' or 'crime novel' to me, I'd be expecting a book about a courtesan or some aristocrat's mistress.