Friday Face-Off: Scary

Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy! Each Friday, we will pit cover against cover while also taking the opportunity to showcase gorgeous artwork and feature some of our favorite book covers. If you want to join the fun, simply choose a book each Friday that fits that week’s predetermined theme, post and compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme is:

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”
~ a SCARY cover

Mogsy’s Pick:

Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

Between 1888 and 1891 there were a series of murders in or around the Whitechapel area, and the modus operandi of some of these were different enough that investigators theorized that they could have been committed by another person other than Jack the Ripper. The idea of a separate “Torso Killer” in these “Thames Mysteries” is what forms the basis of Mayhem, and in Sarah Pinborough’s version of the events, this new mysterious killer likes to take his victims’ heads as trophies.

But while this story isn’t really about Jack the Ripper, his name and crimes are still referred to frequently, and his terrifying hold over East London is part and parcel to the creation of the setting. Establishing that there’s the possibility of not just one but two murderous psychopaths stalking the streets creates this sense of dread that is pervasive throughout the novel. The supernatural aspect also helps in this regard, adding a whole new dimension to the story beyond just another straight-up hunt for an ordinary mundane killer. Small wonder that the covers for this book are all so atmospheric. Let’s take a look at them now:

From left to right:
Jo Fletcher UK (2013) – Jo Fletcher US (2014)


Spanish Edition (2013) – French Edition (2014)



I like my scary covers like I do my horror: dark, chilling and disturbing, without being overblown or excessive. This describes all our contenders this week, so it was a very tough choice. In the end though, I’m going to have to go with the original Jo Fletcher UK edition. Probably the least menacing of the bunch, it nonetheless radiates a sense of “wrongness”, as what appears to be the cover to a quaint and cozy Victorian-era historical is instead marred by blood-red text and blood drops. I just love the layout, art style, color choice, and overall aesthetic for this cover, and having the actual hardcover version of it on my shelf, I can assure you it looks even better in person.

But what do you think? Which one is your favorite?

26 Comments on “Friday Face-Off: Scary”

  1. I keep meaning to read this book. I’ve been wanting to pick up more by this author since I read The Secret Language of Dying. I’m with you on your pick. It may not be the creepiest but it speaks to me the loudest and is the one I’d pick up.


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