cover image Near Death

Near Death

Glenn Cooper. Lascaux Media, $12.13 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-692260-54-8

Cooper’s best thriller yet matches a well-constructed plot with believable characters. In a brief prologue, a TV journalist in Milan speaks vaguely of a looming theological crisis that’s sweeping not just the city and Italy but much of the world (“Never in our recent history has God been so important”). In a flashback set several months earlier, FBI agent Cyrus O’Malley is on the trail of the murderer responsible for the deaths of three prostitutes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts; each victim had her skull drilled into after she died. The reader knows that the killer is Dr. Alex Weller, a well-regarded Harvard researcher, whose life was changed when he survived a car accident that killed his father. Desperate to reconnect with his father, Alex believes that a chemical derived from cerebrospinal fluid extracted from a fresh corpse’s brain will enable him to do so. Cooper (The Devil Will Come) makes the most of the duel between Cyrus and Alex as the action builds to a surprising and satisfying conclusion. (BookLife)