Exclusive Cover Reveal and Q&A: The Big Reap by Chris F. Holm


Thanks to the kind folks at Angry Robot Books, Shadowhawk and The Founding Fields presents to you an exclusive cover reveal.

“The folks at Amazing15 Design have definitely lived up to their name with this mind-blowing cover!” ~The Founding Fields

It’s not often that we are able to bring you exclusives, but when we do, it is always the cream of the crop stuff. We continue that tradition today with this exclusive cover reveal for the next book in Chris F. Holm’s excellent The Collector series, The Big Reap. Feast your eyes people!

Sam Thornton has had many run-ins with his celestial masters, but he’s always been sure of his own actions.

However, when he’s tasked with dispatching the mythical Brethren – a group of former Collectors who have cast off their ties to Hell – is he still working on the side of right?

Book Info:
The Third Book in the Collector Series

UK Print
Date: 1st August 2013
Format: Medium Paperback
R.R.P.: £8.99

US/CAN Print
Date: 30th July 2013
Format: Regular Paperback
R.R.P.: US$7.99 CAN$8.99

Date: 30th July 2013
Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

Now isn’t that just full of amazing possibilities? I certainly think so. Thanks to Chris’ debut novel, The Dead Harvest, I’ve become an avid urban fantasy reader, and I’m quite enjoying myself with the genre.

Bane of Kings on the cover:

An awesome cover art that lives up to expectations and makes it three out of three for Chris F. Holm.”


Q&A with Chris F. Holm

Shadowhawk: What are your thoughts on the cover for The Big Reap?


Seriously, I can’t stress enough how lucky I am. Between Marc Gascoigne’s expert art direction and Amazing 15’s unerring ability to elevate the subject matter into something both timeless and iconic, I literally couldn’t hope for better.

As for specific thoughts, I love the arch nature of this cover. From the castle to the bats to the stake in Sam’s hand, it’s a classic horror scene, through and through. And I’ve a particular fondness for the green, because the classic Penguin covers mine were designed to reference were color-coded by genre, and green was crime fiction. So three books into my weird, supernatural love-letter to Chandler and Hammett, I’ve finally got a cover that looks just like one of theirs.

Shadowhawk: What do you like most about the covers for all three novels (what are their strengths)?

Chris: Apart from simply being visually arresting, I think my covers do a marvelous job of setting the tone for what lies between them. As I mentioned, the format of the covers riffs on the classic Marber-era Penguin covers of the ’60s and ’70s; that, coupled with the weathering, suggests some lost pulp classic plucked from the dimestore bin. And the images themselves —  a collection in progress; a crowd decked out for the Day of the Dead; and Sam staring up at a castle on a hill, stake and mallet in hand — all hint toward the more supernatural slant of the series.

Also, the fact that they don’t look like anything else on the shelf doesn’t hurt. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who picked up DEAD HARVEST solely on the strength of its cover. Of course, once they do, it’s up to me to hook them, but there’s no question in this crowded fiction market lame covers would result in plenty of would-be readers walking past my books without a glance.

Shadowhawk: In your opinion, what are the benefits of a consistent series cover design?

Chris: For me, there are two considerations. One, you want your series to be identifiable as such, so folks who liked the last one will pick up the next when they see it on the shelf. And two, you don’t want them to look so much alike someone sees your new one and thinks they’ve already read it. By both counts, my covers excel. They’ve got a strong common aesthetic, while having very different cover images and color schemes. Plus, as something of a series completist when buying books myself, they all look nice together on the shelf, which doesn’t hurt.

Shadowhawk: What can we look forward to for Sam Thornton and Co. in The Big Reap?

Chris: I’ve no interest in writing the same book over and over again, so every book in the series, I try to fold in some cool new flavors, like a Cold Stone Creamery of strange-ass crossover fiction. DEAD HARVEST laid down the foundation, combining pulp crime with the fantastic. THE WRONG GOODBYE tossed in some buddy-comedy and Lovecraftian weirdness, amongst other things. THE BIG REAP is my love letter to the classic horror-movie monsters, and to the novels that, in many cases, inspired them — hence the cover. But it also dabbles in some secret history, flashes back to Sam’s first assignment as a Collector, and explores in detail the most complex and enduring relationship of Sam’s afterlife — namely, the one between he and Lilith.

Shadowhawk: Any thoughts to more stories featuring Sam after The Big Reap?

Chris: It’s funny — when I signed a deal to deliver a third book in the series, most folks seemed to assume that I was closing off a trilogy. Reviews started referring to THE WRONG GOODBYE as the middle chapter of Sam’s tale, and wondered how I could possibly wrap up everything in one more book.

The answer’s easy: I couldn’t possibly. And good thing, too, because I have no intention to. Sam’s tale will not end with THE BIG REAP, and provided there’s an audience for them, I hope to write more Collector novels in the future. As for where those new books will lead… well, it’s best I wait until the dust settles on THE BIG REAP before I answer that, so we can all see who’s still standing.

Shadowhawk: What’s been your favourite part about writing these novels?

Chris: The most gratifying thing for me has been the fact that readers, by and large, have really bought into the series. From the get-go, I’ve crammed these books with darn near every nerdy obsession I’ve got — pulp crime, religious conspiracy, Lovecraftian horror, armchair philosophy, cheesy Eighties flicks, Greek myth, creepy folk-tales, winking pop-culture references, punk rock — all the while wondering if I’d be out on that particular fiction limb all by my lonesome. Turns out, my geek-tribe’s way bigger than I’d imagined.


Previous reviews of The Collector series on The Founding Fields:

Bane of Kings on Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye

Djinn24 on Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye

Myself on Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye

If you haven’t already done so, please add the novel to your Goodreads shelf: The Big Reap

You can find the official product page for the novel here.

Shadowhawk is a regular contributor to TFF. A resident of Dubai, Shadowhawk reads, reads and reads. His opinions are always clear and concise. His articles always worth reading.