Thursday, February 08, 2024


One of The Rap Sheet’s first blog posts, back in May 2006, focused on the all-too-frequent proliferation of copycat book fronts, those “that feature strikingly similar, if not exactly the same artwork on their covers.” We’ve cited many additional examples in the almost 18 years since, though not as frequently as we did early on.

Sadly, the habit of publishers using stock artwork, rather than original images, on their new fiction and non-fiction releases has hardly decreased. Just to prove that at least some of us are still monitoring this penny-pinching trend, here are two examples from the mystery and thriller shelves that recently caught our attention.

Left: The Missing American, by Kwei Quartey (Allison & Busby UK, 2020), the first entry in his series starring Ghanaian private investigator Emma Djan. Right: All Her Little Secrets, by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow U.S., 2021), the author’s debut novel.

Left: The Crime Writer, by Jill Dawson (Sceptre UK, 2016), which enlisted “eccentric American novelist Patricia Highsmith” as its protagonist. Right: Our Woman in Moscow, by Beatriz Williams (Morrow U.S., 2021), called “a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion.”

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