I’ve wanted to integrate some coverage of books into the site for a while; it just seems like an obvious extension of what we already cover, and I think there’s room on a site like CHUD for coverage of books that aren’t part of an epic fantasy series or written by Stephen King.

That’s why I was excited when we got the opportunity to premiere the cover of the new book from Scott Smith, whose novel A Simple Plan became a great Sam Raimi film. This one, The Ruins, is on its way to becoming a movie already – the finer-than-you-can-imagine folks at Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films have optioned it. Smith himself is writing the screenplay as we speak. Literally this instant. Those Red Hour guys are total slavemasters.

Here’s the synopsis:

Eerie; terrifying; unputdownable-Scott Smith’s first novel since his best-selling A Simple Plan ("Simply the best suspense novel of this year-hell, of the 1990s"-Stephen King). The Ruins follows two couples enjoying a pleasant, lazy holiday together on the beach in Mexico with new found friends as, impulsively, they go off in search of one of their group who has headed for the Mayan ruins. This is what happens from the moment when they begin to suspect that there is an insidious, and horrific, "other" among them . . .

The book hits your local stores and Amazon.com on July 18th. Here’s the first ever look at what you’ll see peeking at you from the best seller shelves in just a few months: