There was universal agreement that spelling-out the title was the way to go, but we still hadn’t solved the genre identification problem. It was time to abandon the original “slasher” cover and go with something that really signaled “political-military thriller.”
Nothing indicates politics like the Washington, D.C. skyline, and adding the line “A Thriller” left no mistake as to the genre. We were getting very close but, as we learn in the military, attention to detail is everything. The skyline looked a bit out of line, visually, so we asked them to move the Capitol dome closer to the center.
We also went back to the weapon concept and, as you can see, the figure on the cover was holding a Sig Sauer P226 9mm handgun, the standard issue sidearm for the SEAL Teams. The bad news? James Reece, the hero of The Terminal List, carries a Glock 19, not a Sig. Easy fix they said. But wait, his finger is on the trigger—a huge “no go”.
This is it, the final version. I think that it really captures the essential elements of the book: abuse of power and unrestrained vengeance. The shining D.C. skyline is juxtaposed with a bloodied figure who has killed and is poised to kill again. And if you notice, his trigger finger is right where it is supposed to be. Authenticity to the end.
I’d like to personally thank Albert Tang, the talented art director and everyone else at Emily Bestler Books/Atria who was so patient during this process!