Our annual judging panel comprises four people with at least some background in design: novelist Linda L. Richards, who’s also the editor of January Magazine; graphic artist, illustrator, and photographer David Middleton, who serves as the art and culture editor of January; Kevin Burton Smith, the editor and creator of The Thrilling Detective Web Site; and yours truly, J. Kingston Pierce, editor of The Rap Sheet. Over the last few months, we’ve all pitched in our nominations for “great covers.” Linda’s assessment of the panelists’ nominations strikes me as correct: “Kevin’s choices all seem starkly graphic, Jeff seems pulled by great images, I am moved by really terrific typography, and I know from David’s comments that he’s big on how all the pieces fit together. (Um ... not surprising, considering he’s a working designer!)”
From a longlist of more than two dozen outstanding examples, published on both sides of the Atlantic, the four of us voted for our favorites, narrowing the list down further to just 10 jackets, each of which offers intriguing atmosphere, interesting and appropriate typography, and creativity that exceeds the norm. Now we’re asking Rap Sheet readers to help us pick the best crime novel cover of 2010.
After you’ve looked closely over the nominees featured below (arranged in alphabetical order by title), scroll down to the end of this post, where you will find a box in which to vote for what you think are the best choices among this final bunch. Feel free to choose as many jackets as you think deserve praise. We will leave this cover contest open for the next week and a half, until midnight on Wednesday, January 5. After which we’ll announce the results.
By the way, if you think we’ve neglected to mention some particularly handsome specimen of crime-fiction front published during 2010, please let us know about it in the Comments section of this post. With your alternative suggestion, try to include a Web address where we can all go to study your nominee ourselves.
Click on any of these covers for an enlargement.