A FEW KIND WORDS...
Advance Praise for STRANGE FRUIT:
“It is no exaggeration to say that I was bowled over by James Cooper’s Strange Fruit. It reminded me - and I don’t say this lightly – of the early Jim Crace, shot through with the kind of moral ambiguity one finds in the shorter fiction of Steven Millhauser. Spare, lyrical, and peopled with complex, believable characters whose struggles resonate long after the last page is turned, Strange Fruit proves once again that James Cooper is one of those rare hybrids of dark fiction - an accomplished artist who also happens to be a great storyteller. Life is indeed a basket of strange fruit...”
- Andrew Jury, author of DEAR MARILYN
"James Cooper is one of those writers we simply do not hear enough about – which, considering he is producing some of the finest weird fiction in Britain today, is a situation that needs remedying. The stories in The Beautiful Red are dark, frightening and highly original. They are also beautifully written and as well crafted as a Sheraton bureau. Discovering a collection like this is a profound joy and a huge excitement."
- Nina Allan, author of STARDUST
“James Cooper’s Night Fishing is one of the better stories in the issue, principally because it embraces full-on that running subtext of secrets tearing people, and their relationships to each other, apart. What begins as a group of friends heading off for a joint bender and fishing expedition is slowly—through well-executed interspersed flashbacks and revelatory conversations—revealed to be the breaking point as multiple lives crash together head on. The foreshadowing is effective in this piece, so that by the time the much-anticipated crux of the story occurs—the finding of a body in the water—we already realize that it’s these men’s self-destructive tendencies and damaged lives that are most dangerous here, to themselves and those around them. It’s an effective take on just how little we really know about other people, be they friends or not. And how sometimes that’s not because we can’t see the hurts and damages others carry, but because we don’t want to.”
- Michael Matheson, ChiZine.com review of Night Fishing
"Another winner from James...I always enjoy his stories; there's an essential fluency and authenticity to them, a well-disciplined imagination, an acute psychological insight..."
- Nick Gevers, co-editor of POSTSCRIPTS, on FOREVER BOYS
"I think My Secret Children is seriously good. In fact, it's breakthrough good, buy-the-film-rights good. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. Or I was having a minor heart attack...All boils down to the same thing: brilliant."
- Andy Cox, Editor of Black Static
"My Secret Children - a real gem. The father's desperation at the end is searingly palpable. I loved it."
- Andrew Hook
“Cooper’s recent novella Terra Damnata is gritty and lucid, and it’s thus perhaps no surprise that I found it to be a gripping read…Throughout, Cooper’s prose is rich yet precise, creating lasting images…Terra Damnata is seemingly the perfect length, and the perfect style, for Cooper to show his stuff, and he certainly delivers the goods.”
- Robert Morrish, Editor
"I've saved mentioning the best till last as, despite the high quality of the preceding stories, James Cooper's'There's Something Wrong With Pappy' is a cut above. This deliciously creepy tale details a family struggling to come to terms with the death of the mother, and is one of the most disturbing horror stories I've ever read. Full of gothic imagery, with a fog-shrouded lonely moor and a creepy old house into which entry is forbidden, this is rich and unsettling stuff. Duality of both the creepy house (thanks to a model constructed by the family daughter) and the characters themselves lead to an unnerving slippage between reality and fantasy, with the climax allowing the story to both keep its secrets intact whilst seeming complete and satisfying. Somewhere between a nightmare and a metaphor for coping with bereavement, this is highly recommended."
- Lawrence Conquest's Review of Black Static 8
"James Cooper's 'There’s Something Wrong With Pappy' was my personal favourite this issue and, though I've enjoyed all the stories in Black Static so far, Cooper's was the first in a while that made me feel - well - a bit squirmy and weird inside, quite uncomfortable. It was that damn house. Brilliant."
- TTA Press Forum
"James Cooper's fiction whispers things to you that, days later, become irrepressible memories of screams."
- Gary Fry, author of CONJURE HOUSE
"While there are some terrifying images in 'There’s Something Wrong With Pappy', the ending is as heartbreaking as it is frightening, making this one of the stronger stories of the issue."
- The Fix
"I read James Cooper's story, You Are the Fly, this morning and was impressed. I found the writing tight and nicely crafted, and the story itself was very creepy and (even more appealing to me) thought-provoking. I think Cooper earned major points by bringing something new to the concept. I also thought there was some interesting social commentary laced subtly underneath, which I also liked. Nice job on the piece."
- Greg F. Gifune, author of DEEP NIGHT & DOMINION
"A Frailty of Moths has some nicely mysterious moments and wonderfully descriptive passages. And So Departs offers an apt rendering of the protagonist's state of mind and an effective conclusion. What Dread Hand has the elements of mystery and intrigue that I'm a sucker for. I like this one very much..."
- Robert Morrish, Editor of Cemetery Dance
"James Cooper's stories are original, clever and daring. Clearly a writer to watch."
- Graham Joyce, author of THE FACTS OF LIFE
"Some writers have a knack of great first lines, some have killer exits and others have that great storytelling ability that's essential to make the two join up in the middle. James Cooper is one of those enviable people who possess all three - and if you don't believe me, read In Fetu. This is as dark as it gets - you've been warned."
- Peter Crowther, author of ESCARDY GAP
"Because Your Blood Is Darker Than Mine: epic in many ways, with all the little touches coming together very strongly. Very disconcerting, surreal in places, but ultimately believeable, which was its strength."
- Andrew Hook
"My Secret Children was my favourite this issue. Cooper writes about human darkness, and particularly its role regarding childhood, with a poignancy that adds a delicious richness to his tales."
- TTA PRESS FORUM
"James Cooper’s In Each Dark Body There Lies truly captures the short story format. It’s only a page and a few lines but it grabs you like a python and it squeezes the air out of your body as you learn of a stranger staring up at a young boy from his lawn. This journey into darkness never loses its impact (I read it five or six times), and each reading remained as dramatic as the first."
- Dark Side Magazine
“James Cooper is one of the new wave of ambitious British horror writers whose work seeks to uncover certain truths about the human condition rather than just cause a simple shudder. His stories are eloquent journeys into the darker recesses of the human psyche, and his characters are so real and so utterly, terrifyingly honest, that he makes you scared of not only the people you are with, but of yourself.”
- Gary McMahon, author of ROUGH CUT & DIRTY PRAYERS
"This is very good...thanks for a terrific story."
- Andy Cox, TTA Editor, on THE OTHER SON.
"You'll be happy to know I was very impressed with Dark Doorways. You'll be even happier to know that my favourite story in the book was yours!"
- Garrett Peck, Cemetery Dance Reviewer
"Hollow Heart by James Cooper is a powerful, moving tale about lost love, where horror and pity are blended in a masterful way."
- Mario Guslandi, Whispers of Wickedness Review