Thrillhouettes – deconstructing 4 recent thriller book covers

August 13, 2014, Article by Ben Willis in Books

A book cover – in most cases – tells you everything you need to know about a book.

And the sky-heavy, silhouette-adorning action thriller is no exception.

In our new feature ‘Thrillhouettes’ we’ve focused in on – and deconstructed – the silhouettes of heroes on 4 recently published action thriller book covers – and we want you to tell us which is your favourite.

Please vote for your favourite using the form at the bottom of the article. We’ll pick one lucky winner, who’ll bag a special gift (books, mostly…).


1. Jack Reacher

Book: ‘Personal’ by Lee Child

Tagline: As if Reacher needs a tagline, you fool.

Our thrillhouette breakdown: He’s standing in the middle of the road, for God’s sake! But Reacher doesn’t care – even his shadow is cowering below him, look. He’s glancing to the left, but I don’t think it’s to check for oncoming traffic; it’s because he’s seen a threat, and after a swift ocular pat-down he’s ready to move in for the kill, I’d imagine. What a nice building that is though, I hope it doesn’t get damaged. Be careful please, Reacher.

Verdict: A classic in high-contrast black and white.
Personal Lee Child

2. James Bishop 

Book: The Hunter’s Oath by Jason Dean

Tagline: ‘They targeted his family. Now he will target them.’

Our thrillhouette breakdown: Bishop’s family has been targeted and, having decided to target his family’s targeters, Bishop is walking here with real purpose. He’s looking over his shoulder as if to say ‘where are you?’, but with a hint of ‘I will find you’. He’s cautious but clever. The jacket and scarf combo really accentuates his already bulky frame, which truly makes him a portrait of intimidation and determination – and a man to be feared.

Verdict: Badass, even before heavy rain.
The Hunter's Oath Jason Dean

3. Cormoran Strike

Book: ‘The Silkworm’ by Robert Galbraith

Tagline: ‘By the author of the international Number One bestseller Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Our thrillhouette breakdown: Cormoran (who presumably borrows his name from an unused Deatheater) is arguably more thoughtful than our other heroes, and this is reflected in the downward tilt of his head (either that or he’s watching his step on those pesky cobbled London streets). Unusually, he’s also adopting the casual hands-in-pockets, which indicates a brooding confidence and quiet swagger.

Verdict: Cool, calm, collected, careful, cobbles.
The Silkworm jk rowling

4. Joe Hunter

Book: ‘The Lawless Kind’ by Matt Hilton

Tagline: ‘Has Joe Hunter finally met his match?’

Our thrillhouette breakdown: If Jack reaches and Cormoran strikes, then presumably Joe… hunts? That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case here. What brings you to the desert, Joe, save for this barefooted lady you’re following? Is she going to be your girlfriend, Joe? Who’s going to save the world while you’re on Tinder, Joe?

Verdict: Lady’s man, desert style.
the lawless kind matt hilton

Vote for your favourite and win!

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