OK, so I’m behind in getting together The Rap Sheet’s contest to select the Best Crime Fiction Cover of 2015. Blame it on the fact that I accepted too many daunting editorial projects during this last holiday season. Or that I followed the pattern established in 2014, and invited readers to submit some of their own favorite book fronts—which lengthened the nominating process. Or that there was simply a profusion of handsomely designed choices this year, and winnowing them down to a manageable number was onerous, indeed. In the end, I culled just 20 finalists from a longlist of some 50 contenders, knowing that any of the castoffs might have done as well in this competition as those that remain. The shortlist represents not only a wide variety of authors, but also a good span of large and small publishers.
This marks the eighth year we’ve asked readers to weigh in on the subject of which crime, mystery, or thriller novel, published on either side of the Atlantic during the preceding dozen months, best demonstrated a blend of creativity, cleverness, drama (or humor), and typographical elegance. Last year’s victor, the jacket belonging to the UK edition of Benjamin Black’s The Black-Eyed Blonde, seemed like an obvious choice from the outset. But previous races, including 2013’s (which wound up favoring Death Was in the Blood, by Linda L. Richards), have been far harder to call early. I suspect 2015’s rivalry will be equally unpredictable. Which should make it fun.
Below you will find this year’s 20 nominees, followed by a ballot that you can use to register your opinions. Please feel free to select as many or as few covers as you think deserve praise. We’ll keep the voting open for the next two weeks, until midnight on Friday, January 22, after which the results will be announced.
Click on any of the jackets here to open an enlargement.
(Above: Half of a front-and-back spread.)
ONE THING MORE: If you think we have neglected to mention some other crime-fiction cover from 2015 that is also deserving of widespread praise, please post a comment about it at the end of this piece. Just be sure to include a link to where on the Web other Rap Sheet readers can see that additional cover for themselves.