The Haunting of Sharon Tate

Books, movies, documentaries, and pop-culture references by the hundred.

What more could possibly come to light or be said now about 1960’s hippie-cult leader Charles Manson and his wicked, wicked ways?

Tales of his evil influence and antics have pretty much contorted into a money-spinning cottage industry over the last five decades. 2019 was the 50th anniversary of the crimes the world would come to know as the Tate/LA Bianca murders. That year there was an outpouring of material offering various perspectives on Manson and the crazed, macabre events of August 1969.

The film THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE was part of that outpouring.

This movie poses the question “What if Sharon Tate and the other victims present at 10050 Cielo Drive on the night of August 9, 1969 had of fought back?” Not just fought back, but been completely able to turn the tables on their drug-crazed home-invaders. Completely. Unhesitatingly. Mercilessly. And kill them.

It’s a daring revisionist-history take on an already exhaustively told and re-told series of tragic, true events. The film’s director, Daniel Farrands (writer for HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS) has gone on record as saying –

Another premise contained in the movie is the idea of Sharon Tate having a premonition of her own death. This was based on an interview Sharon gave to columnist Dick Kleiner (1921 -2002) a year before her murder. The interview was published in the May 1970 issue of FATE magazine – a publication that centered around psychic phenomena and the paranormal and which still exists today.

When Kleiner asked whether she’d ever experienced any psychic phenomena – a question he routinely asked to hundreds of celebrities for the syndicated column – Tate related details of a violent dream she’d had a year before. The nightmare contained specifics uncannily similar to the eventual terrible fate that would befall her.

Critics back in 2019 were particularly contemptuous and… dare it be said, cold-blooded, in their appraisal of the film.

Many of the barbs were directed at the supposed questionable judgement shown by the filmmakers; to dare to concoct a fictionalized story – intended to supply a form of ‘entertainment’ to audiences – from the ashes of a true-life horrific crime that destroyed REAL people’s lives and represented a new-low-point in senseless depravity for 20th century American society.

Here’s a sampling of some of those critics misgivings hostilities –

Plus a few more…

And since we’re on a roll, may as well throw these not-so-humble opinions into the ring as well…

But what do critics know? It’s the average punter’s opinion that really counts, right?

When the female character walking next to Sharon Tate (Hilary Duff) in this scene from the film says “IT’S PRETTY EXTREME” (at the 52 second mark), she could just have easily been talking about the degree of outrage and disdain this movie has sparked.

Haters gonna hate. And haters in this case also quite obviously gonna take the moral high ground as well. What does SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK think? As a film, THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE has got its flaws. But it’s nowhere near as bad as this type of internet vitriol would have you believe.

For the acid-tongued opinion-pushers quoted above, the movie was a swing and a huge miss. SWS, on the other hand, would rather think of it as simply a huge swing; one that didn’t completely come off but, gosh darn… a huge, brave, creative and yes… respectful – swing nonetheless.

As to the the cries of exploitation, that all comes down to how you want to see it. Because it’s based on real events, any type of ‘re-imagining’, in the minds of some people, is simply not allowed. However, SCENIC tends to align with the thoughts of the director when he says the intention of the film was a positive history re-write granting the victims the ability to take back their power and turn the tables on their attackers.

Of course turning the tables on your attackers in real life is an against-the-odds proposition at the best of times. A group of civilized society people relaxing at home coming suddenly face to face with a cutthroat gang of drug-fueled, brain-washed murder-bots dispatched on a mission by the master they worship, are never going to be able to instantly flick a switch and transform into the raw-animal version of themselves needed to mount any form of genuine resistance against that degree of fanatical, overwhelming force.

On the subject of ‘re-imaginings’, the speculative what-if I’d be curious to see in a movie based on these tragic events would center around the well-known story of what very nearly happened with Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980) on August 9th, 1969.

On the night of the murders, the Hollywood actor was due to dine at Cielo Drive, having accepted an invitation from Sharon Tate to join her and her small gathering of friends. The tough-guy action star was actually en-route to the residence on his motorcycle when, as fate would have it, he stopped to offer a ride to a female hitchhiker.

McQueen, being the notorious ladies man he was, altered his plans in that moment and spent the remainder of the night back at his newly found female companion’s place. For years after, that unplanned decision was known around Hollywood circles as Steve McQueen’s ‘GREAT ESCAPE’.

It is tempting to ponder how the course of events may have taken a possibly altered course that night with the addition of an extra potent, fighting-fit male at the residence.

For a COMPLETE change of pace, click HERE.

200 Big Ones!

Holy champagne corks and party streamers! Amazing you is reading SCENIC WRITER SHACK‘S 200th post!

Five and a bit years is how long it’s taken to notch up that double century. Time flies when you’re having pun.

The Queen, Prince Charles, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are among the dignitaries who have joined in congratulating Scenic Writer’s Shack in the past on various mini-milestones.

This time, it was the turn of no less a dignitary than Gene Simmons, the soon-to-be-Brisbane-bound bass guitarist of legendary rock group KISS.

The following bro-hug email from him landed in SWS‘s inbox early yesterday morning –

Dear Glen,

Forgive me but I am not my usual foul mood self this morning. The current tour is blasting with both barrels, our latest song ANYTHING WITH A PULSE isn’t for a change being totally ignored by radio land, partner-in-crime Paul Stanley has just decided on a new choice of lip gloss – so he’s happy – and I’ve just gotten wind of the news our good friends at SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK have notched their own bit of history.

200 big ones eh! Our first year as a band was 1974 – I know I don’t have to tell you that – so KISS knows a thing or two about longevity as well. Kudos to you, royal cousin, for holding stage for that long and in the spiffy way you’ve pulled it off. Guess you’ll be staging one of those masked ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ parties to celebrate, right? Well, that’s what me and the boys would have done – at least, back in the day… like, before we were married and all…).

Here’s to you and your continued success in the future.

Rock on, fare thee well and see you in ‘Brizzy’ (is that how you say it?) in September.

P.s. If you open the attachment, big fella, there’s a nice little surprise courtesy of the rock Gods’ waiting for you.

OH – MY – GOSH! Not just a super nice email from friendly, fire-breathing Gene but then going one step further and throwing in a couple of those backstage passes to boot! What can I say other than “It’s nice to have friends in high places”. SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK is so grateful.

Before we bring the curtain down on this whole joy-fest milestone, it’s customary, on occasions such as this, to look back and reflect; ‘smelling the roses’ as it were. Yay! I get to be my own historian.

Here’s a re-heated serving of a glorious blast-from-the-past post from each of the last five years –

The feel great story of that year. Want fries with that? We got a whole lot more. (HERE)

Ok, so this attempted prank on the upstanding folk at Oxley Golf Club didn’t go exactly according to plan. But that didn’t stop some right ‘ol shenanigans going down on the 13th hole anyway. (HERE)

Yep, him and I go way back. Like, waaaaay back. So why not write a blog post about it? (HERE)

How sweet it was! We’ve all had one. It was finally time to bring mine back to life. Thanks to author Stacey Bryan for giving this post numerous airings, including HERE.

I am fist pumping strenuously for the fact that the latest Maccas ad on Australian television features the song I WAS MADE FOR LOVIN’ YOU by my, what I can now confidently refer to as, ‘good mates’ from the one and only KISS. Here’s another ad that uses the same song…

Click HERE to get happy.

Mental Shenanigans

At the end of 2021 I nominated MY FRIEND FOX as the best book I’d read that year.

Part parable and part memoir, this book, written by Melbourne-based author and stand-up comedian Heidi Everett, documents her mental health battles – what she refers to as ‘mental shenanigans’ – and specifically her time spent in a psychiatric ward.

The words made an impression on me chiefly I think for the manner in which they’ve been written. Wise, deeply moving and utterly poetic are three descriptions that come close to capturing their essence. The experience of looking deep into the abyss is conveyed in a style equal parts soul-nourishing and heart-breaking.

I can’t think of any better way to convey a sense of the magic of this text than hand over some extracts.

Brace yourself. Here we go

“Socially, our family was an island on an island surrounded by moats of jagged rocks and raised drawbridges. Traps that were loaded and set in childhood went off with the slightest nudge in my adulthood because the psychological hunters knew their quarry was a long-term project and were prepared to wait.”

“My eyes splutter open with the energy of a rusty old tractor. My body has been stuck in an unsolved Rubik’s cube for so long. I’m lying on the floor of my unit, where I folded up some weeks ago. The blue carpet surrounds me like the giant Pacific Ocean. Desiccated tear-soaked tissues fleck the surface like frozen whitecaps.

My island is a pillow, beached on a shoreline of awkward blankets. The tv gurgles noise, no particular channel giving any hint of any particular climate in this godforsaken latitude. I can see the numbers on the wall clock so it must be daytime. A blackened banana sits on the coffee table.

“My only meaningful human interaction is with my mental health caseworkers. ‘How are you.’ Is the medication working.’ ‘Do you need a new script.’ Never with a question mark. ‘Okay’ I say to each not-question. I came into this place with all the energy of a meteor. I leave a diluted shadow.”

I decide there’s something about human faces that takes all my energy to process. It’s like looking directly into the sun and working out why you can’t see afterwards.

I’m scared of every thought, every idea, every internal commentary I have. I constantly assess if it’s a good thought, or a bad thought. Is this helpful? Or is this not helpful? But as time passes I start to lose my vigilance. My thoughts have become my enemies. I must not think.

Confronting, tender and beautiful, this is a book for anyone who would like to connect with a life lived deeply; and for anyone that has ever battled for peace themselves.

Dark shades? Check. Funny lines? Check. This is the author performing stand-up –

Click HERE to get happy.

3, 2, 1… Launch!

Glitz – glamour – ‘A’ list celebs – and the all important ‘goodie’ bag.

The gala launch YOU’RE invited to has none of these things.

Unless of course you count the ‘A’ in ‘A lister’ as meaning ‘ageing’. Then yes, this partay will be attended by more than a few genuine ‘A’ listers.

Back in 2018 I started a site dedicated to reliving my second most favorite tv series from childhood, LOST IN SPACE. After covering all 83 episodes and reaching the end of that journey, another nostalgia train is busily steaming it’s engines and getting ready to depart the platform.

What’s better than your second favorite show of all time? There’s only one answer to that question and in my case the answer is HAPPY DAYS.

The phenomena that was HAPPY DAYS originally ran for eleven seasons,. It kicked off in 1974 and finally drew to a close in 1984. The series presented an idealized vision of teenage and family life in the 1950s in Midwestern United States. By the time it’s amazing run ended it had amassed a total of 255 episodes.

And now the time has come to relive all the joy, sheer delight and laughs the series gave through the brand spanking new site HAPPY DAYS: THE FIRST FIVE SEASONS.

Why only the first five seasons? Those who remember the program won’t need to spend a lot of time figuring out the answer to that small mystery. For those new to HAPPY DAYS, lets just say quality-wise, anything after Season Five and you may as well be talking about a different show.

The HAPPY DAYS episode, infamous as it now is, that coined the term ‘Jump the Shark’ (meaning the point at which a tv series can be regarded creatively as a spent force and is considered from then on to be on a downward slide) – where Fonzie jumps over an actual shark while on waterskies – was, afterall, in Season Five.

Here now is the official call to action

This site needs followers. If I was was some kind of marketing type I would flip that like a (word) burger and offer up – followers need this site But that might be stretching things just a tad. So instead I’ll say I would love it – actually ‘love‘ is too weak a word in these launch-mode circumstances so how ’bout if I substitute ‘ache for’ instead – you to follow this new site.

If you’re feeling it, go clickety click HERE and get a little piece of HAPPY DAYS in your email inbox twice a month.

Overexplaining is something the Fonze would never approve of but…just to make it clear and easy, if you click on that link labelled HERE, at the bottom of the page it takes you to the magic Halloween-orange bar (pictured below) that is your sign-up ticket. Happy days!

Some Bright Spark

Sweet tea amazing!

Some bright spark – with time on their hands (I am so buoyantly glad, as it turns out, that whoever this dead-set creative genius is, HAD the time on their hands) has gone and created an Alfred Hitchcock mash-up video that truly must be seen to be believed.

Murder/death scenes from 36 of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies have been spliced together and synchronized to climax in unison. A little on the grisly side perhaps but full points for the breath-taking creativity and technical smarts it took to pull off a trick of these proportions.

LightsCamera Action – Mayhem!

For the film buffs, here’s the breakdown of the individual movies these scenes were taken from –

You mean, that’s all? A blog post devoted to just one three-minute video?

Almost doesn’t seem right, does it? And for that reason, here’s one more video to end things off on. Completely unrelated topic but huge in the creativity department as well. Hope you like it.

King of the Mountain

FOREST LAKE. It’s the place SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK calls home.

True to name, this suburb does feature a lake. And, if you can call collections of trees grouped together in grassy open areas a ‘forest’, then I guess, at a stretch, FOREST LAKE has one or two of those as well. What it definitely does not have is a mountain. Surrounding suburbs are likewise as flat as your hand.

Cyclists – an athletic-sounding term I’ve recently grown fond of attaching to myself in the company of folk who have maybe never met a legitimate one – crave mountains like a dentist longs for an open mouth (I experienced the adrenalin-rush of a prolonged wisdom tooth extraction recently so at a stab, I’d say that’s where that analogy sprang from). So what’s a two-wheeled ‘roadie’ to do?

If the mountain won’t come to Glen, then Glen must go to the mountain.

And that’s exactly what I do… early every Sunday morning, if by ‘every’ we can agree to mean the last nine Sundays in a row. Bike goes in the back of the car the night before and then in time for the hues of a new day, it’s a 22 km drive to the foot of Mt Cootha – elevation: 302 metres above sea level and the highest peak in the city of Brisbane.

Pedaling up is a hard slog form of torture that gives fresh meaning to the expression ‘breathtaking views’ (easy breaths being in pretty short supply on the merciless incline). Once you reach the summit however, a whole new feeling takes over. Cue old mate Rocky

Sidenote: That little bit of snow-capped inspiration came from the movie ROCKY 4,, which any one old enough to remember, would know came out in 1985. That just happens to be the same year when I last rode up Mt Cootha on a pushbike. Just sayin’!

Hurtling down the mountain, on the other hand, at bobsled-like speeds on impossibly thin racing bike tyres is a white-knuckle ride par almost none that has been known, on some occasions, to spontaneously flash into my mind the following cartoon –

Cheese-factor wise, I can confirm the rumours claiming that some weeks I play the song KING OF THE MOUNTAIN by Australian group Midnight Oil prior to my Sunday morning mountain treks, for a little bit of, you know…vibe and motivation… are completely, 100% true!

Wouldn’t say I’m a great fan of this video – although I note it has had in excess of 4 million views and attracted over a thousand comments – but the song? It’s a winner for me, and so very, very Australian.

Sidenote: KING OF THE MOUNTAIN was released in 1990 but this band is still together and about to embark on a four month national tour of Australia and New Zealand to promote a brand new album..

For anyone unfamiliar, the bald-headed larrikin you see doing his lead singer cavorting thing in this video used to be a member of the Australian Parliament for 10 years and a Government Minister (Environment: 2007 – 2010 & Education: 2010 – 2013) for seven. Interesting, huh?

Back on the topic of cycling, as important as safety should be to a cyclist, as they are rocketing down a steep slope or snailing up it, is what I’ll call the ‘look’. Cyclists know what I mean.

I used to mock those lycra-clad bicycle riders kitted out to look more like high-wire circus acrobats. That was back in the eighties. Now I’ve become one of them. Kind of.

An ex-mate of mine donated a couple of his used jerseys as well as a pair of padded bicycle pants a few years back; to get me up and on the road, so to speak. That kit’s been working well. But like a lot of things, once you’ve got your confidence up, next level comes calling soon enough.

Meet the next level

Looking at the price tag, I think you can see why I’m not in charge of finances at my place.

In the fair dinkum department, as attractive as that cycling jersey is, the posh-stink, gourmet price tag makes the decision not to buy an easy one. I don’t want it THAT badly.

So how bout something a quarter of that price and… funnier?

Cyclists can tend to take themselves a tad too seriously at times, but while wearing these designs, that might be made a little more difficult...

If I had to choose just one of those whacked out designs above, it could just as well be the WORLD’S OKAYEST CYCLIST ’cause, well… THAT IS ME!

And if none of those designs grabbed you, well I guess you can always just throw a good old fashioned hissy fit…

Before this topic cycles off into the sunset completely and before the guy above us gets any frothier, I will mention these –

Reads delivered to your email inbox twice a month.

LOST IN SPACE FOREVER… but not much longer!

Confession time: for the last three and a bit years I’ve been moonlighting with a second blog I named LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE. It’s been a passion project dedicated to reliving memories of one of my very favourite shows from childhood, LOST IN SPACE.

Inspiration came from a transgender blogger based in the U.S – KNIGHT OF ANGELS, who is no longer with us, internet speaking-wise. She/he created an on-line, episode by episode monument to a television show close to her/his heart, STAR TREK. I admired the intellect and enthusiasm this writer brought to their subject and wondered if I could do the same.

STAR TREK (1966 – 1969) ran for 79 episodes. LOST IN SPACE (1965 – 1968) for 83 episodes. Length-wise, they were in the same ballpark. This person had done it. I wondered if I could likewise go the distance and re-watch and review all those episodes, sustaining the energy and passion needed along the way.

LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE‘s debut post, profiling the very first episode of the classic 1960’s tv series was published on October 27th, 2018. Last week, the curtain came down on three years of work when episode # 83 finally took its place under the FIRESIDE microscope. Cliché alert: it’s been quite the journey! Quite the electrifying journey.

Along the way I got to connect with a whole lot of Facebook groups and fans dedicated to the show, personally ‘met’ on-line Angela Cartwright, the actress who played ‘Penny’, and accumulated a bunch of nerdish collectibles (see photo below) that to any non-fan would be considered a scandalous waste of money.

Would you believe me if I said this wall was chosen as the backdrop of this photo because the aesthetically-challenged wallpaper resembles space-themed planets and or meteorites? And you thought the wallpaper was handpicked from the Covid-19 inspired range!!

Most rewarding of all I got to 2nd-life cherished perfect memories from a more innocent age and a more innocent me. Inevitably, some things from childhood holdup better than others when glimpsed again in our adult world. Sometimes, in-fact maybe a lot of the time, we wonder “What did I see in that?”. Thankfully, my experience this time around was “I know exactly what I saw in that… because I can still see it.”

Summing up this great re-watch project of the last three years, as if somehow on cue, the opening words of the film WW84 (2020) descend magically into view –

“Some days my childhood feels so very far away. And others? I can almost see it; a magical land of my youth, like a beautiful dream of when the whole world felt like a promise and the lessons that lay ahead yet unseen. Looking back, I wish I’d listened. I wish I’d watched more closely… and understood. But sometimes you can’t see what you’re learning until you come out the other side.”

So there you have it. Another literary life chapter done and dusted. LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE will now officially be… I can’t bring myself to say the word ‘mothballed’, so instead I’ll use the term grandfathered – ’cause you know… a little more leather-elbow-patch-wearing school of dignified and all.

If you cared to pop over one last time or maybe for the first time, well… that’d be real nice of you. Click HERE to travel. For anyone that doesn’t make it over, here’s a couple of final clips dedicated to two main characters from the show – Major Don West and Professor John Robinson.

National Trivia Day

Little known piece of trivia: today is National Trivia Day. That is, if you’re in the United States. If you’re not, well… here you go anyway.

These bits of investigoogle twaddle crannied up from the nearest wiki bazooka wormhole range from verifiable facts to the more head-scratching ‘How could anyone know or prove that?’

Frankly, some of these trivia claims are on a par of believability with that ol’ chestnut about ALL OF US having a one in 200 chance of being related to blood-spilling 11th century warrior Ghenkis Khan. Considering he was Chinese and I’m most definitely not, I’d venture whoever came up with those ridonkuously generalized odds wasn’t necessarily thinking of me at the time.

Anyway, make of the following what you will. Hopefully there’s a few morsels of geunine power-glove info-tainment thrown in along the way.

And now, can I guess your reaction to any and all of that?

Entertaining word whack delivered free twice a month.

2021 – That’s a Wrap!

2021 saw SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK publish some of its most personal posts ever. It was that kind of year. Here’s a broad strokes look-back…

National Trivia Day (January)

Pro Chess Gender Gap (January)

Reasons I’ll Never Write A Novel (February)

First Love – Endless Love (February)

Top Ten Favorite Films of the 1960’s (March)

The Last Lighthouse Keeper (March)

Fruitless Frappe (April)

Brisbane KISS Concert Here I Come! (May)







Favorite Films of the 70’s (September)

National Book Awards (October)

Book Jacket Blurbs (October)

Outwitted. Outplayed & Outdone Your Honor (November)

Reader’s Bookcase Photos (November)

Bank Vault Lock-ins (December)

Best Book Covers of 2021 (December)





NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) (Recorded from Television)

RICHARD JEWELL (2019) Seen on ‘Movies on Demand’ in a Cairns Hotel Room

Mottos used by SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK during 2021 –

** “I Do this for the Money, Prestige and Power” Said No Writer Ever.

** It takes an Awful Lot of Time NOT to Write a Book.

** Good Things Are Coming

** Entertain Yourself

** Three Scoops of Word Whack

** Antidote to the Novel

** Arts Talk That Will Not Be Tamed

Broadcaster Larry King (January)

Actor Hal Holbrook (January)

Captain Sir Tom Moore – aged 100 (February)

Actor Christopher Plummer (February)

Australian Music Promotor Michael Gudinski (March)

Former Australian Rugby League Captain Tommy Raudonikis (April)

Australian TV Host Bert Newton (October)

For eighteen days back in October/early November, the country held it’s breath as we waited for news of the disappearance/abduction of four-year-old Cleo Smith who vanished from a family campsite near Carnarvon in Western Australia. Incredibly, this story had a happy ending that sent headlines around the world and resulted in this triumphant and all-round heart-fluttering picture…

Merriam Webster Dictionary Word of the Year – ‘Vaccine’

Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year – ‘Strollout’

Dictionary.Com Word of the Year – ‘Allyship’

Oxford Languages Word of the Year‘Vax’

Collins Word of the Year ‘NFT’ (Non Fungible Token)

Collins Word of the Year Runner Up‘Pingdemic’

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Scenic Writer’s Shack Word of the Year ‘Metox’ (to take a break from self-absoption)

Best book read by SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK in 2021 – MY FRIEND FOX (published September 2021) by Heidi Everett. Read a personal recommendation HERE.

If there’s a better, more poetically written book out there on the subject of mental health – from the ‘patient’s’ point of view – I’ve not read it.

Marched through 37 of ’em this year. Best time? You’re looking at it in blue. Best location? That’s an easy one. Cairns Esplanade. Hands down.

This salute to the need for recognition appeared in the October 22, 2021 edition of NEW YORKER Magazine.

Around this time of year, every man and their neapolitan mastiff is telling you what their favorite reads have been, over the previous twelve months. These guys included –







That’s it. There are no more words for 2021. SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK will return in 2022 – bigger, better and bolder, with some truly nut-cracking surprises in store. Until then…

I did say “No more words” didn’t I? I meant after this. ‘Cause there’s one more thing I need to tell you. And it happened at my place just this morning. I put up a world map on a wall in our kitchen, handed my wife a dart and said “Throw this and wherever it lands—that’s where I’m taking you when this pandemic ends.” Turns out, we’re spending two weeks behind the fridge.

Best Book Covers of 2021

LAST YEAR they were magnificent.

The YEAR BEFORE THAT set the standard.

And now it’s time to go edgy, free-spirited and giga-awesome all over again.

In what can sometimes resemble a sea of tin-plate dinghies, these book covers are all daringly different cruise ships.

Cue the eye candy…

(A) Approaching headlights through a rainbow-tinged fog? Throw in the title and the reader’s got a genuine mystery on their hands.

(B) The torn paper / speech bubbles effect looks raw – kind of like how ‘To be honest’ feels.

(A) Bad-paint-job dripping clouds over a standard suburbia scene? Something’s up in this neighborhood.

(B) It’s a package wrapped in brown paper for a novel titled THE DELIVERY. Get it?

(A) Given the title, I guess the publishers would have been well in their rights to feature some breed of grass-chewing goat on the cover. A crucifix-stealing black crow on the other hand is way more intriguing.

(B) A book whose pages reach out to grab the reader – or at least point at them – while not holding but balancing a gun. Clever weird that.

(A) Icons. Icons. Icons. Bonus points for sneaking in a pair of breasts.

(B) Scores big in the insanity department this one.

(A) Love everything about this ‘big reveal’ concept – including the small title.

(B) The story of the Three Little Pigs? No, naturally enough it’s the story of family, feminism and treason – and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard those three words mentioned in the same sentence before (though they probably have somewhere).

(A) A few simple, hand-drawn lines can indeed be so evocative.

(B) Green tears get me every time.

(A) Look up ‘visually popping book cover’ in the dictionary and there’s a good chance you’ll come across this image. I bags the top floor penthouse.

(B) Look at those teeth! So white. So straight. So… letterish. As covers go it’s a weirdy but a goody.

(A) Redder than red. With 1950’s housewife hands thrown in for extra whack.

(B) Reminds me of the old joke about a zebra crossing. The U.S flag stands atop of a yellow cone hat. I wish I knew what the other flag was.

(A) And a cheeky touch it is.

(B) Positively dripping with creativity. Sorry.

(A) Take a happy pill they said. While you’re at it take a few. In fact, down a whole face full. Then put it on a book cover. Top it off by humorously titleling it ALL’S WELL. That’s what they did.

(B) A rip-snorter of a cover with cutting-edge originality to burn? Tick.

(A) A book cover in the form of a scratch-off card? Novel indeed.

(B) It looks like a screen protector for an iPhone. But the real question? Is that an exhausted stick figure or a dead stick figure lying on the table?

(A) Facebook with hyper-realistic water droplets! What a mood.

(B) Take one simple image — a pattern of poppies on black— and make it disquieting by slicing it into sections and misaligning the edges.

(A) When do letters become old-skool string marionettes? When they look like this. The real genius though, is the inclusion of the shadow created by the words “a novel” (and no other shadows).

(B) When something that looks like its from granddaddy’s old back shed makes it onto the cover of a newly-published novel, well… I think in some parts they call that ‘rustic charm’.

 (A) The tri-color text against black? Tacky. The cocktail girl? Tacky. The ’70s food ad font? Tacky. The whole thing? Iconoclastically brilliant.

(B) That falling eye gets me every time I look at it.

(A) Nice profile. But which is her better side?

(B) The genie is out of the bottle. And so are the fireflies. Whoever left the cap off has got some splainin’ to do. Or did the super ‘bright’ insects somehow jimmy it themselves?