Rarely do I see such a disgraceful book cover. See photos below. Pretty self explanatory. Pardon the quality of the photos as I took them surreptitiously on my phone camera.
For those still confused, the real author’s name is Simon Kernick, and the name of book is Deadline (both down at the bottom). I’ve seen ‘if you enjoyed X’ type recommendations for new novels before, but this took it to a whole new level. You can even get the book for free if you pre-order Dan Brown’s forthcoming The Lost Symbol! The writing on the back cover is not very clear, but the top half is dedicated to why you should read Dan Brown – only the bottom half is about Deadline.
There is no right of publicity in the UK, but I’m sure both Brown and Kernick would be spewing if they knew about this cover (and at least a prima facie case of passing off could be made). It’s designed to mislead and deceive the careless book buyer, or at the very least cause what is commonly referred to as ‘initial interest confusion’. The danger is exacerbated when this book is placed right next to Dan Brown’s books, which it was when I found it in WH Smith (a UK bookstore chain).
The thing is, Kernick is not some crappy first time author who can’t sell a copy. His previous novel, Relentless, was the 8th best-selling paperback, and the best-selling thriller in the UK in 2007.
[Update: seems this book cover controversy has really taken off, with several blogs and newspapers reporting it. Turns out Kernick knew about it from the start and is quite relaxed about it - because the book was only supposed to be given for free when pre-ordering Brown's new book, and not to be sold individually. But what do you expect when the book is placed amongst the other Dan Brown books on the shelves? Sure, Kernick's sales have gone up since this promotion (good for him) but as a writer I thought he would have been against it, or at least the way in which it was placed in stores.]