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Kevin Sampson’s Cover Love

In this digital age the cover of a book has become even more important. Sometimes they are the first thing we see of a book and a valuable component in helping us to choose a book from the thousands out there waiting to be read. And let’s not underestimate how good they all look, lined up either on your bookshelf or on your reader!

We grabbed five minutes with crime writer Kevin Sampson to mull over his favourite book covers.

What are your favourite book covers of all time?

Well my all-time favourite is the Cape Original first edition of Awaydays with the embossed danger sign; not just for nostalgic/personal reasons but I do think it’s a beautiful, instantly classic cover. Other favourites in no particular order, in and out of the crime genre. There was a great jacket for L.A Confidential in the early 90s with a louche dame blowing smoke from her cigarette holder. I was always strangely intrigued by a paperback cover for The Magus, maybe late 70s, with a scary portrait of a Mr. Punch-type figure on the front. I thought all the Payback Press covers were very direct – Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim etc – but the jacket for Nathan Heard’s raw novel of Newark street life, Howard Street is particularly hard-hitting. And our very own Vintage team did a wonderful job of their Cocteau re-issues in the early 2000s. I love the liberated jazz-age feel of the jacket design on Les Enfants Terribles, yet it’s suitably foreboding, too.

What is your scariest book cover – what gave you the creeps as a kid?

Without any doubt, a Hamlyn edition of Hansel and Gretel. The witch had very long fingers and the image gave me nightmares.

Thanks to Kevin for sharing his thoughts with us. We’re big fans of the cover for his latest book The Killing Pool, set to become a classic!

Read more about The launch of The Killing Pool and Kevin’s Dead Good Tunes Playlist.
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