It's Not Schwab's Drugstore
Every month I get the new Hard Case Crime book in the mail. The town bookstore doesn't carry them and even if they did, so many of their books are stored crookedly on the shelves that I wouldn't them anyway. But for $3.99 per book plus shipping, I spend about the same as I would at the bookstore and the books arrive in a protective cardboard box. Which gets recycled.
The book for March is John Lange's Zero Cool. Lange is the pseudonym of Michael Crichton who apparently put himself through medical school by writing these Gold Medal-type thrillers. Hard Case published one a year ago which was pretty good, as is the new one. I prefer the Hard Case Lange's to the Crichton's I've actually read. For instance I thought Jurassic Park was better as a movie because the T-Rex wasn't obsessed with bypassing geography and the convenience of more readily available food in order to mercilessly track humans in a jeep. And the movie makes the kids much less annoying than the book. The last one I read was Rising Sun and I've been mostly successful in blotting that one out of my mind.
But I digress. The new cover of Zero Cool pictures a woman who looks strikingly like my wife. The face is not quite right but everything else is. I sent a letter to the artist, Gregory Manchess, which he'll probably assume is from a crackpot but what the hey. Here's the letter:
Dear Mr. Manchess:
As a fan of all the Hard Case Crime titles, I've appreciated your cover work very much. I just recently received "Zero Cool" in the mail and was especially struck by the cover painting. I know this is odd but I thought I'd drop you a line and see if you'd be willing to share your inspiration or the genesis of the cover.
You see, the image of the woman on the cover is almost the spitting image of my wife. The face is a bit different, but not a lot. The hair, bikini, glasses and physical proportions are all spot on (at least prior to delivering our two children). We lived in Florida for over a dozen years and I couldn't go off for a coke or a hot dog without people (okay, men) wandering over to her, some asking if they could take her picture.
I've been sending the link to the cover from Hard Case Crime's site to people we know and they're all floored. It may be completely illogical to think you and her may have crossed paths, but it would make a coincidence into a great story.