The old saying goes that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, which is a nice sentiment and all, but doesn’t usually hold water as far as actual books. Yes, occasionally a great book is hiding behind a terrible illustration, but more often, as my first born Darian says, “it turns out that no.” A bad cover might mean the publisher either didn’t have their act together or didn’t believe enough in the product to bother hiring a good artist.
Or it might mean that the novel isn’t marketed for you… or that it was marketed in another time.
A case in point is this great adventure novel from the 1950s by the writing team of Wade & Miller. They’re one of my favorites from Chris Hocking’s pulp list, and I hope to go into detail about them later this year. But judging from that cover, which suggests some kind of romance with a hot dame and a brooding lunk, I’d never have picked it up.