Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Title spotlight - "Dark Father" by James Cooper

I first stumbled upon James Cooper’s fiction on the excellent Black Static magazine, where “Eight Small Men” opened the 15th issue and went straight to my heart as soon as I started to read its first paragraphs.

“A man returns to the house where he and his brother spent a period with a foster family after the deaths of their parents. The return stirs heavyweight memories. James Cooper builds a powerful story, moving between two points in time that reveal disturbing and shocking images and events. It is an engaging story that creates an eerie atmosphere built on the childhood innocence and the events that might lead to the loss of that innocence. It is an evoking story that leaves an uncomfortable feeling.

Ever since then I wished for more and looked with every chance I’ve got to read James Cooper’s works. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too much since the same issue of Black Static featured an advertising for James Cooper’s collection of short stories, “The Beautiful Red”, published by Atomic Fez. So, I made sure not to miss that opportunity and all the other occasions since then to read James Cooper’s works. Culminating with “The Pig Farm” in the 30th issue of the same Black Static magazine that became one of my favorite short stories I ever read. Of course, as much as I love short fiction I do always wonder how the writers I like for their shorter form of fiction would tackle the length of a novel. For James Cooper I am afraid I’ve missed the first opportunity since his debut novel, “The Midway”, published in 2007, is sold out and I couldn’t find a copy anywhere. However, I don’t have to wait too long for another novel signed James Cooper, on June next year, DarkFuse will release “Dark Father”, the author’s second novel, and by the looks of it I am in for a treat. Therefore “Dark Father” has its place on my list of must read books of 2014, although until then James Cooper has another story, “Night Fishing”, coming in “Crimewave 12: Hurts”.

What drives a violent husband and dysfunctional father to pursue his wife and son across a moonlit English landscape?
What compels a troubled man to rebuild his broken family, constructing a fractured reality of hollow promises and false hope?
What forces an old man suffering from a rare mental disorder to reconcile the terror of the past with the daily torment of being locked in a mental hospital where everyone he sees bears the face of his father?
The answers lie in a disturbing journey of suffering and harrowing self-discovery. 
Evil has many fathers...

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