Published: October 1st 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Format: ARC, 336 pages
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Cooper Bartholomew's body is found at the foot of a cliff.
That's the official finding, that's what everyone believes. Cooper's girlfriend, Libby, has her doubts. They'd been happy, in love. Why would he take his own life?
As Libby searches for answers, and probes more deeply into what really happened the day Cooper died, she and her friends unravel a web of deception and betrayal. Are those friends – and enemies – what they seem? Who is hiding a dangerous secret? And will the truth set them all free?
Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is the latest thriller written by Aussie author extraordinaire Rebecca James. It’s the first book of hers I have read, and I’m already making plans to read more!
The first thing that struck me about this book were the extremely vivid characters. Libby, Sebastien and Claire practically fly off the pages as they each take turns narrating the story after their friend Cooper dies. Cooper himself gets to take centre stage often as the story jumps between THEN and NOW, showing the times before Cooper’s death and afterwards.
I think the time jumps and the four narrators work perfectly because it allows the author to control how much information Libby (and the reader) has. It makes for a brilliantly suspenseful book that will keep you guessing.
The amount of alcohol in this story surprised me. I’m not usually fussy about this kind of stuff, but there was alcohol in almost every scene in the book. In the THEN sections everyone’s drinking it up at every single party and get-together, and there’s even alcohol involved in casual house visits between friends. And the NOW sections have even more alcohol, as everyone turns to it to literally drown their sorrows at Cooper’s death. Now, alcohol, like violence and sex (also included in this book) is a part of life, but just because someone turns 18 and can legally drink alcohol doesn’t mean that take a glass with them into the bath/shower all the time.
The big reveals, although perfectly plotted, didn’t carry a lot of gravitas. They each felt a little anticlimactic, but I think this was intentional because the author wasn’t trying to write a murder-mystery-thriller as much as she was trying to tell a story of three not-really-friends who have to deal with the sudden loss of Cooper, who plays a major role in all their lives in various ways.
Actually, not in various ways. They are all in love with him, but Claire and Sebastian have genuine love-hate relationships with Cooper while Libby has this perfect and glorious romance.
I don’t really blame them for having crushes on Cooper: even I was wasn’t immune to his charm. He’s thoughtful, quite, good with his hands, kind, caring, and just … perfect.
Cooper Bartholomew is Dead will be enjoyed by readers who like psychological stories and who-done-its. I really enjoyed this book but I don’t think I’ll never get over the fact that sweet, perfect Cooper Bartholomew is dead.Blogging Outside the Box is a feature at Speculating on SpecFic, where books outside the SFF banner are reviewed. It is intended to highlight some of the non speculative fiction titles I am reading and share my thoughts with readers.