My top-notch cover designer Christopher Lucania has created four options for my book, three smelling of the book’s content, and one an atrocity cooked up with our friend Dan.

Tony has a gun as part of his job description. Dizzy doesn’t want to use a gun, it’s not his style. Rod and Matt want one, almost as a phallic symbol, but cannot get access.

The first and the one I think I will definitely go with is the above. Love the red splash – blood is all over the book – and the gun lets you know that the main characters need one, or want one. Owning a gun forces choices that may not otherwise be made.

Frederick, who insists on the use of every syllable in his name, lives on a street like this. His right-hand man Lansky hides in such shadows, keeping an eye on Tony.

The second option, we both agree, is probably an overused image on book covers, but I still love it. Reminds me a little of Karin Fossum’s Black Seconds. Chris’ image needs closer examination: look at the lamp post’s shadow. It’s not quite straight. There might just be someone on the other side. I like a slow reveal, where a picture tells you something a little different on the second view. I was close to using this one, but I don’t think it has the same impact in thumbnail size.

Tony and Diane enjoy a day at Redmires reservoir in Sheffield unaware that someone is watching them.

The third option evokes one of the book’s scenes in a cracking way. The idyllic woods look serene, the shadows coming from sunshine Sheffield all too rarely sees. What a perfect day. Well, almost.

As much as I like it, the setting and the man’s shadow make it look too much like a horror book.

And so the first option will be the book cover for Over the Shoulder (released on Kindle in August, and other formats later in the year).

I may have made the wrong choice. The fourth option:

I can’t stand cinnamon, I’m a bit of a salad dodger, and the American version of football should always be prefixed with “American”. I like Jeremy Clarkson though.
Overall, Death to Ming (or Chris and Dan).

What do you think of the covers? What do readers look for in a book cover, and does it matter?