This week I'm happy to present the next new cover in the new trade paperback editions of the Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries, A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH. Once again, this cover comes care of Jess Danna Photography.
Of all the original covers we had, this was the one I was least happy with, partly because it was the least organic. There are so many themes in this book that combining them all in the cover lead to an image that looked artificially constructed, at least to my eye (news flash - I'm a scientist and a writer, not an art director, so I may have this all wrong). So in designing the cover, I wanted to simplify things. We have both the themes of firefighting as well as witchcraft, so I chose to go with the theme of fire because in many ways, fire fulfills the role of one of the books antagonists.
There are three major fires in the book - an antique store, a church, and a residential home. Of the three, I felt the second fire at the church had the greatest visual potential. The church we used while writing the book was based on Holy Trinity (German) Catholic Church in Boston (though our fictional church was located in Salem) which closed in 2008. In it's heyday, this was what Holy Trinity looked like:
There was no way I'd be able make a quick trip down to Boston to get an actual shot of the church, but Jess had the perfect answer - a smaller church of similar architecture not far from her apartment. So we waited until it finally stopped snowing (January in Canada, what can I say?) and trekked downtown so Jess could shoot the church. She took a bunch of shots, but this ended up being the perfect one:
This was a great place to start, but there was still a lot that needed to change. The fire takes place at night, in October, just a few days before Halloween (so, no snow...), and the church needed to be a raging inferno complete with flames, smoke, and a glowing skyline. Jess managed all that through Photoshop.
From a late afternoon, sunny winter scene, she gave us this:
And the full cover for the trade paperback print version:
I love the mood of this cover and I feel it really embodies how this case got away from Matt and Leigh for while. This fire is the low point of the book for everyone involved, so it's right that it's the focal point of the cover.
One more Abbott and Lowell cover to go next week as we reveal the new face of TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER!