Oooooh it’s so mysterious ooooooooooooooooh
This cover (which is actually the back of the book for me, since I own this gem in ~*hardcover*~) is a pretty straightforward one. There aren’t a ton of characters, but it gets a lot of the general atmosphere of the book into it nicely.
So, in front there, naturally, is our new heroine, Pearl. I don’t necessarily recall an instance in the book where Pearl wears a goldenrod blouse/red skirt combo, but I wouldn’t put it past her. She is blonde and stunned fairly often in this book, so I think that’s a pretty accurate cover portrait. And, okay, upon rereading, I have to concede that I was a LITTLE bit unfair to Pearl. She gets some shit done, that’s for sure. She’s just still so…dull, though.
Behind her on the (our) left there is her (eventual, he doesn’t show up till more than halfway in) love interest Jack Clovis. Jack’s actually a pretty nice character, he’s a little rough around the edges in that “she’s a city girl, he operates the oil rig named after her in the SWAMPS” kind of way, but he’s supportive of Pearl without being too patronizing and into her without being a creeper. It’s refreshing, almost.
On (our) right is our former heroine, Ms. Ruby Landry Dumas Tate Andreas. Ruby LOSES it in this book and paints one of the most kick-ass (if depressing) paintings ever described in these books. It’s amazing. I can only pray to be able to capture it in MS Paint. Ruby’s got some pretty fabulous early ’90s-prime time-soap hair going on, too. All that aside, though, this book makes me miss Ruby-as-she-was. That should tell you something.
Oh, and the setting for this cover is the remains of Cypress Woods, which Gladys has allowed to rot undisturbed. It’s full of cobwebs and broken glass (and priceless works of art?) and is just a big moldering heap in the SWAMPS surrounded by active oil rigs.
Okay, SIGH, it’s time for that guy in the back there. Yeah, that’s Buster Trahaw. We’ve gone all the way back to Buster Trahaw. That’s what happens when you effectively eliminate all possible fourth-book villains in your third book. No Daphne, no Gisselle, hell, even Gladys Tate has been written off as too ill and old to really menace anyone, so we get good ol’ Buster Trahaw. He’s not even worth putting on the cover, really, he’s barely in the book.
Beau, who is a judgmental, horrible wreck of a man in this book
Pierre & Jean, Pearl’s twin brothers
Any of the folks from Pearl’s hospital job
Any of the voodoo-related people from Ruby’s storyline
So there’s our new cast of characters! Excited? Are you excited? GET EXCITED DAMMIT.