By Timothy Jay Smith
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 5 stars
For an action thriller to capture this reviewer, it must contain certain essential elements.
First, and foremost, the protagonist must be someone one wants to know. If readers are not drawn to Cooper Chance, the story, no matter how action packed, will fall flat. Cooper Chance pulls in readers immediately, and as readers gradually learn more of him, the attraction increases.
Cooper is an Army sharpshooter who deserted when his conscience conflicted with his commands. As a claustrophobic, this man who does not normally frighten easily is terrified at the idea of going home to a U.S. jail. Yet his dream of being back home subtly permeates the novel.
Oh, and by the way, he is gay. In a literary world that tends far too often to fall into some sort of stereotype to present a gay character, this reviewer found it so refreshing that Cooper’s sexual persuasion is just that, one more part of him, not a platform.
Next, this reviewer looks for a meaningful story, not a shoot them up, car chasing or violence solely for the sake of effect. Human trafficking and blood diamonds, a very sad reality in our time, is a story that cannot be told enough until the day a better world exists to eliminate both travesties. Cooper’s Promise brings readers directly into the human consequences of both.
Finally, this reviewer looks for an intelligent, literate rendering of the story that assumes the intelligence of readers in understanding the depth of the story without the author feeling the need to explain condescendingly each nuance along the way.
Timothy Jay Smith achieved excellence in each of these criteria, earning Cooper’s Promise the highest five star rating from this reviewer.