If this was the central character from a film, it would be John Cusack in High Fidelity.
In a post-war England that is bleak and crime ridden, murder is par for the course. Can Detective Inspector Cooper solve this commonplace killing, this murder of one woman amongst many?
From a distance, it's not too bad. The shadowed, hooded figure is suitably mysterious - there's no indication of a hero or villain, and he appears to be bleeding from the eyes. The foiled copper text is appropriately twiddly, but at least avoids cheesy medievalisation. Likewise, the image, though not surprising, lacks the standard "tiny-figures-'gainst-an-epic-panorama" that makes every fantasy book published since 1981 look exactly the same. Bring back the nude chicks with swords, I say, just before they throw me out of the pub. Pricks. Regardless, close inspection is a bit less favourable. The image is simply a crude collage - you could knock it up in Photoshop in an afternoon. The foliage framing the central image appears in different resolutions simultaneously, there's only one leaf repeated a dozen times, and, as we learn in the first 2 pages of the text, the blood is supposed to be hair. Red hair, yes, but accidentally making the cover look like more Stephen King than Tolkein is really not something an "artist" should do. Goodkind's last books were a bit like this, too. What's going on? Doesn't anyone want to pay painters for beautiful, ornate wrap-arounds any more? Curse you, Photoshop! How many lives must you ruin!!!!!?!!!?
What makes a writer? Is it living the tortured life of an artist, or is it actually getting your shit together and... you know... writing?
If this was any less erotic, grandparents would be involved. (The fact that the author failed to include any was most likely an accident.)
Fun and Games is like coming of age in a hall of mirrors. Welcome to everything weird.
If this was as good as it could potentially have been, plus featured a giant walking robot, then Pinol would be my new favourite author.
Ah, Paris. City of love. Until a meticulous psychopath strikes, mutilating a beautiful and successful Parisian resident. And his murderous intentions have just begun...
If this was a bar, it would be one you stopped in out of desperation in a town you've never been to and to which you'll never return, that just happens to have the best fucking jukebox you've ever seen, frighteningly cheap drinks, and provides a blurry night you'll be retelling for years.
In the cut-throat world of publishers, literary agents, and authors, sometimes people get hurt. It's usually bruised egos, but for Jo Donovan, it's more... and it's quickly becoming murder. Can she figure out who's out to get her before she loses the plot?
Cover - A lot of white background, some slender sans, and a hint of stock-photo lobster. Inoffensive.
In the tiny seaside town of Whitmouth, girls are being strangled. There's a stalker on the loose, and there are two women on the outskirts of the investigation who have a big secret to keep.
If this was a stand-up comedian, it would be that transfixingly terrible lounge singer Andy Kaufman used to inhabit. Only better.
Modern Shanghai is a city that chews you up and spits you out. A city where starry-eyed hopefuls gather to make it, where sad people run to escape for anonymity. But when you think you're getting somewhere, Shanghai will take everything from you. Five Star Billionaire is a story about the intersections of several lives in a city teeming with people, and their successes.
If this was an alcoholic drink, it would be a sweet and surprisingly potent plum wine, brewed to an old family recipe.
A haunting and beautiful weave of stories, tying two generations over twenty years to the tragic city of Tehran.
If this was fractionally less unpleasant and more visually stylised, it would be Body Bags, my previous titleholder for the Combined Best Art Plus Writing Which Makes You Need Several Showers Afterwards award.
A story about a woman having everything she took for granted pulled out from under her, taking a big hit, and finding a way to get her life back in a way that works.
If this was the final episode of a TV show, it would definitely be Friends - wrinkled characters, an apathetic audience departing mid-show, and plotting you'd have seen already even if you hadn't seen it already.
Radar Hoverlander is back in a fast paced, hilarious tale of double-triple-crosses, big cons, and just trying to get along with as much money as possible.