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The Assassin’s Brink [resubmit]

The author says:

Reworked cover for my in-progress story. I’ve used better images that I think better convey the story’s title “The Assassin’s Brink.” I’ve changed a few things after a bit of time away from the project (gotta love writer’s block and hectic schedules). The two biggest differences to the story are the two main characters; Alexandra Granger is now Alexander Granger and Marcus Kane is now Amanda Kane. Other than that the story will remain roughly the same.

The Assassin’s Brink: An Alex Granger Thriller

Drummed out of the US Army after a dispute with his superiors, former Delta Force operator Alexander “Alex” Granger is recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency for an off-the-books mission in the Middle East to assassinate terrorist leader Abdul bin al Kamal—formerly Lt. Cdr. Kenneth Monroe, a Naval Intelligence officer. But nothing is what it seems when Alex is ambushed and nearly killed by a CIA strike team. Wounded and on the run from his own country, Alex calls upon the one person he can actually trust: Marine Force Recon sniper Gunnery Sergeant Amanda Kane. Off the reservation and hunted by the country they’ve faithfully served, the duo faces off against a shadowy cabal—who will stop at nothing to keep their existence secret—plotting a devastating attack against the United States.

The-Assassin's-Brink

The-Assassin's-Brink

[original submission and comments here]

Nathan says:

I like this very much more.  (That sounds wonky, but the grammar’s correct. Honest.)  The fonts are strong, the color scheme adds a bit of tension to the red/white/blue, and there’s more detail for readers to discover at full size.

My only suggestion would be for the figure himself; rather than a man with a mission, he looks like a man abandoning his mission and walking away.  If you squared up his shoulders and put a gun in his hands, he’d appear much more resolute and driven.

Other than that, I’m happy.  Anybody else?

Comments

  1. I kinda want to push the tagline more up, right under the byline, but that’s just me. And what Nathan said. Otherwise, it’s a great cover.

  2. I didn’t comment on the original submission, but it left me feeling “meh”. This one is definitely far more interesting. And I agree with Nathan that the figure seems to be walking away. A gun in one of his hands would suggest that his work isn’t finished.

  3. I think this is a very strong cover.

    A couple of thoughts…

    I agree with Nathan about the figure, who does look defeated.

    I also have a few doubts about the typography. The inner shadow (and what appears to be a slight outer shadow as well) makes the type murky looking at best and difficult to read at worst. It’s just tolerable when the type is fairly bold and of even strokes, such as in the title, but when the type is either smaller or has thick and thin strokes—as in your name—it makes it very difficult to read. In fact, the overall effect is that the type is out of focus. I would certainly at least abandon the shading on everything but the title itself.

  4. It’s good. Keep it.

    Yes, maybe it could be tweaked a bit here and there, but that sort of twiddling could be done indefinitely: there is nothing wrong, as such, so you might as well say Print! and get to do something else.

    If on the other hand you just loooove tweaking, I think the man could be larger, abd the horizon looks a bit like a fold in the flag.

  5. Hmmm… I have my doubts about layering covers this way, but as long as the other critics here don’t mind, that layered background must not be working against you. The only element that really doesn’t sit right with me is, as the others have mentioned, how distant and defeated that guy on the pier looks.

    One of the elements I rather liked on your first cover (before you swapped the male and female protagonists) is how the gal’s pose had that “Alexandra Granger is about to shoot you” feel to it. That’s a standard pose for all kinds of cloak-and-dagger action movie posters and novel covers and it worked well enough despite making the cover a bit overly generic. Alexander Granger’s pose on this cover is more reminiscent of the way some political thrillers end with the protagonist walking off in a snit after concluding the organization employing him is corrupt.

    As I recall from each cover’s description, this particular novel starts with the protagonist turning against the CIA, right? I also got the impression that this shifting of allegiances was rather sudden and violent, not quiet and serene as the character’s pose here makes it look. If anything, he really ought to be marching toward us with his gun drawn, and maybe even firing it. Can’t we have a little excitement on this cover?

    Also, as I pointed out for your first submission, aren’t we technically dealing with two protagonists here? The man and woman having switched roles doesn’t change the way that if they’re both going to have a lot of face time in this story, we’d like to see both of them on the cover as well. Whether their relationship is personal or strictly professional, everybody tends to appreciate a cover showing a man and a woman charging into battle together. Another popular pose is to have one carrying the other out of battle on the shoulder after being wounded; maybe Amanda could be carrying Alexander after that CIA strike team ambushed him?

    Anyway, can we see some more action? One of my favorite spy story covers is neither a novel nor a movie, but the box art for the old unlicensed 8-bit NES game Rolling Thunder. Obviously, your cover should be live action and your characters won’t dress in such bright primary colors, but I think the pose the characters on it are striking is much more the kind your cover needs in order to get your prospective readers’ attention.

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