I’m finally done being sick but my head is full of book covers as I try to finish mine off as quickly as possible. When I say my head is full of book covers, I mean it. Not just the elements to pull together to make my book cover but also what makes a book cover really stand out and stick with you. That makes me think of my all time favorite book cover.
My favorite book cover design of all time is Stephen King’s “Everything’s Eventual,” designed by Mark Stutzman.
On the front is a bight scene. Tableware is laid out neatly on crisp, white linens and in the background there’s just the hint of another table, letting us know that this idealistic place setting is probably in a restaurant. Slightly off center in the foreground is a water glass full of clear water in which swirls one drop of red color.
It is bright. It is beautiful. It is idealistic – and there’s something very wrong here.
When you turn “Everything’s Eventual” over to read the back cover, you see it. A note, scribbled in the same red as that drop in the glass, short, simple and full of desperation: “Oh God please help us.” By the time you see the back of the book, the splatters of red on the wall, the drenched and disarrayed tablecloth, the tortured hand prints – you’re locked tight into the grip of dumb horror.
It takes a moment for it all to register, for your mind to add two plus two and come up with murder. You stare, mouth just slightly ajar, stomach just a little offset, before you finally blink and glance around yourself.
Just to make sure the world around you is still in it’s proper order.
In a way that cover perfectly encapsulates absolutely everything I’ve ever loved about Stephen King’s work. The way King can craft an perfect, poignant and present scene – with just a hint of something horrible beneath the surface. It’s that touch of perfect peace that makes the nightmare all the more visceral, more cutting and keeps you jumping at every shadow for days. Because if such an ideal setting could be shattered so easily, if something so horrid was always waiting, just out of sight, then it could happen anywhere – to any one.
Including you, dear reader.