Oakland, CA
+1 (415) 692-1974
ziad@ezzat.com

Category: Books

The Incumbent Coroner

Whodunnit? Well, Paul Austin Ardoin dunnit. Again.

That’s right, Paul’s killed again—he’s written another mystery novel, and I’ve designed the cover.

For you ultra-professional designers like me, here’s the very formal, exhaustive creative brief:

  • As with the first book, the title and author name must be very prominent.
  • It needs to carry on the general look and feel I created for the first book (i.e. big, bright crime-scene tape across a dark, sinister background), but it should look different enough that the two books would not be confused with one another.
  • The victim in this story was found in a seedy motel room (not a spoiler—it says so right on the cover).

So, with that out of the way, here’s a little video I put together showing exactly how I designed it.

The Incumbent Coroner is the second in Paul Austin Ardoin’s Fenway Stevenson Mysteries series, and will be available for purchase as an ebook or paperback on September 25.

 

The Reluctant Coroner

My longtime friend and colleague Paul Austin Ardoin recently released his first novel, a murder mystery called The Reluctant Coroner.

Never mind all those tired old clichés—you can absolutely judge this book by its fantastic cover:

The Reluctant Coroner

(Psst. Yeah. I designed it.)

Less

He finds himself awakening at dawn, when the sea is brightening but the sun still struggles in its bedclothes, and sits down to lash his protagonist a few more times with his authorial whip. And somehow, a bittersweet longing starts to appear in the novel that was never there before. It changes, grows kinder. Less, as with a repentant worshipper, begins again to love his subject, and at last, one morning, after an hour sitting with his chin in his hand, watching birds cross the gray haze of the horizon, our benevolent god grants his character the brief benediction of joy.

—Andrew Sean Greer

Slade House

Sometimes I envy the weeping parents of the definitely dead you see on TV. Grief is an amputation, but hope is incurable hemophilia: you bleed and bleed and bleed.

—David Mitchell

Little Fires Everywhere

Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.

—Celeste Ng

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

My goodness, the hoi polloi do get about these days, and they eat and drink in public with very few inhibitions.

—Gail Honeyman

The Alienist

We revel in men like Beecham, Moore—they are the easy repositories of all that is dark in our very social world. But the things that helped make Beecham what he was? Those, we tolerate. Those, we even enjoy…

—Caleb Carr

The Muse

Life was a series of opportunities to survive, and in order to survive you had to lie, constantly—to each other, and to yourself.

—Jessie Burton

Days Without End

Just a moment of something that didn’t mean nothing. It gave me heart to see. Things that give you heart are rare enough, better note them in your head when you find them and not forget.

—Sebastian Barry

The One-In-A-Million Boy

He said, softly enough that she might not catch it, “I was a rotten father.” Ona nodded, noncommittal. “There are worse things.” “Like what?” He really wanted to know. “Being an adequate mother.” She took a swig from her coffee mug. “Rotten fathers are a dime a dozen, who even notices? Whatever kind you were—and I’m sure you weren’t as bad as you think—you probably did the best you could, and nobody expects much more out of a man.

—Monica Wood

Before the Fall

Life is a series of decisions and reactions. It is the things you do and the things that are done to you. And then it’s over.

—Noah Hawley

News of the World

Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.

—Paulette Jiles

The Summer That Melted Everything

Dad was telling every one of them to get out of our house. I’d never seen my father so angry. Years later, I would find myself dog-earing a page in a book about the ocean. On the page a painting of gray, wild waves. I have since torn that page out of the book and set the painting to frame by the side of my bed. I suppose it is a painting of my father from that night he raged like waves in a storm.

—Tiffany McDaniel

A Gentleman in Moscow

Presumably, the bells of the Church of the Ascension had been reclaimed by the Bolsheviks for the manufacture of artillery, thus returning them to the realm from whence they came. Though for all the Count knew, the cannons that had been salvaged from Napoleon’s retreat to make the Ascension’s bells had been forged by the French from the bells at La Rochelle; which in turn had been forged from British blunderbusses seized in the Thirty Years’ War. From bells to cannons and back again, from now until the end of time. Such is the fate of iron ore.

—Amor Towles

Moonglow

He cut the engine. The clack of sprinklers filled the car. The wide empty lawns were veiled in shifting iridescence. One of the rivulets in the flow of his imaginings that morning had been the sight of my grandmother rising to her feet on the topmost step of the main building, in the belted navy blue dress she had been wearing the last time he’d seen her. She had lifted a tentative hand, then dropped it and come tearing down the steps toward him. He would burst from the Buick, leaving the engine running and the door open, and go to her. She would leap into his arms and scissor her legs around his waist. The contact of their mouths would be the fixed point around which the world, the day, and the state hospital would rotate.

—Michael Chabon

Version Control

…history lives in the gap between the information and the truth. And each of us has no choice but to determine our own history, for ourselves.

—Dexter Palmer

Grief is the Thing With Feathers

Moving on, as a concept, is for stupid people, because any sensible person knows grief is a long-term project. I refuse to rush. The pain that is thrust upon us let no man slow or speed or fix.

—Max Porter

Homegoing

As Sonny passed the projects that filled the distance between his apartment and Willie’s, he tried to remember the last time he’d really spoken to his mother. It was 1964, during the riots, and she had asked him to meet her in front of her church so that she could lend him some money. “I don’t want to see you dead or worse,” she’d said, passing Sonny what little change hadn’t made it into the offering plate. As he took the money, Sonny had wondered, What could be worse than dead? But all around him, the evidence was clear. Only weeks before, the NYPD had shot down a fifteen-year-old black boy, a student, for next to nothing. The shooting had started the riots, pitting young black men and some black women against the police force. The news made it sound like the fault lay with the blacks of Harlem. The violent, the crazy, the monstrous black people who had the gall to demand that their children not be gunned down in the streets. Sonny clutched his mother’s money tight as he walked back that day, hoping he wouldn’t run into any white people looking to prove a point, because he knew in his body, even if he hadn’t yet put it together in his mind, that in America the worst thing you could be was a black man. Worse than dead, you were a dead man walking.

—Yaa Gyasi

Lily and the Octopus

Someone once said give a dog food and shelter and treats and they think you are a god, but give a cat the same and they think they are the god.

—Steven Rowley

The North Water

He finds the lying comes easy enough, of course. Words are just noises in a certain order, and he can use them any way he wishes. Pigs grunt, ducks quack, and men tell lies: that is how it generally goes.

—Ian McGuire