I posted a comment last week
about the phenomenon of different books with sometimes startlingly similar covers. This week Belinda Mountain of MIRA Books, whose cover for Paul Johnston's novel The Soul Collector
sparked the discussion, weighs in. She offers a short comment on my post, then holds forth at greater length on her own blog
Her comments will speak for themselves, but they did put me in mind of something obvious that I had nonetheless not thought of before: Books with similar themes may well lead to similar covers. Johnston's book, she writes, "features a character named The White Devil, and a killer who draws pentagrams near his unfortunate victims, so the pentagram/star icon was incredibly well suited to this book."
Pentagrams and the fear of Satanism figure prominently in Jo Nesbø's The Devil's Star
, which helps explain the similarity between its cover and that of Johnston's novel. But then, Nesbø's book itself is just one of several Scandinavian novels translated in recent years in which Satanism plays a prominent part. Helene Tursten's The Glass Devil
and Åsa Larsson's Sun Storm
(The Savage Altar
in the U.K.) also come to mind.
Belinda offers some sensible reasons for publishers' decisions, so thank her for weighing in. And the next time you think about "copycat" covers, think about "copycat" books, too.© Peter Rozovsky 2008