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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Do you judge a book by its cover?

How much do covers influence you? There are several books I own after initially noticing their beautiful covers from across the bookshop, and its that has has inspired me to then read the description. I discovered The Book Thief this way; The Night Circus, The Familiars and Meadowland are a handful of other examples of books I might not own if their covers hadn’t caught my eye..

Yesterday the new paperbacks of FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD arrived and I proudly put them on my bookshelf, next to the others – and looking at the three incarnations of Flowers For The Dead got me thinking once again about the influence covers have on us as readers. Each one of the designs seems to encapsulate a different aspect of the story.

The first cover had a black background, with the title in lettering given the texture of a headstone, and flowers growing around them until the words are almost choked. For me, it hints at the gothic fairytales that obsess Adam, the serial killer who is at the heart of the story.

The second cover, top right, is a more traditional psychological thriller cover, creating a claustrophobic sense of the woman, Laura, being watched from afar – just like Adam is always watching.

The latest cover, from Bookouture, is stunning. It takes all the best aspects of both. Laura’s signature red hair, so eye-catching, creates a fabulous sense of movement and tension, while petals fly across the cover as a nod to the key role bouquets play in Adam’s obsessive love. The lettering has cracks running through it, which reminds me of the first cover – and show the cracks in Adam’s mind that open like fissures as he grows from innocent child to an adult who kills because he’s looking for love…

Are you influenced by covers? Which is your favourite of the three here? What books have you been drawn to initially because of the cover?

Flowers For The Dead has been re-edited, and is being published by Bookouture on 16 September. Want to know more about this serial killer thriller with a difference? Here’s the description:

He sees her. The one. The sunglasses don’t fool anyone, she is clearly upset, her nose and lips swollen from crying. They are two lost souls and he knows his love can help her. After all, she is not the first girl he has followed home… 

Adam is the perfect boyfriend. He pays attention, he buys flowers. He knows everything about Laura and looks after her every need. He cooks, he cleans – he even does the dishes without being asked.

But Laura has never met Adam. Still grieving after a devastating car crash that killed her family, she’s forgetful and struggling to pull her life together. She’d be horrified to know the depth of this unsettling fantasy in which she is the star. But there’s no denying the chill she feels every time she finds another elaborate bouquet on her doorstep, or wakes in the night sensing she is not alone.

Adam has been watching her every move, and now it’s time to act. Except, there’s one little detail he’s missed: Laura has been watching him too.

After everything she’s been through, Laura’s ready to fight back and stop being the victim in her own life story. But in Adam’s world, there are no happy endings…

An unputdownable thriller guaranteed to have you sleeping with the light on and questioning everything you think you know about serial-killer thrillers!

It can be pre-ordered here:

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