Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cooper’s Promise by Timothy Jay Smith

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Owl Canyon Press
Pages: 229

Cooper Chance was an army sharpshooter in Iraq who became a deserter. Now he is a mercenary in Africa, trading illegal diamonds to survive in a gritty labyrinth of thugs, prostitutes and corrupt cops. He develops a big-brother relationship with a young prostitute caught up in human trafficking, and he falls in love with a Muslim man, Sadiq, who is as lost in this troubled part of the world as Cooper is.

When huge oil reserves are discovered, the CIA offers Cooper a way to go back to the states without serving jail time. His mission: to assassinate a local warlord. He refuses the assignment but then in an effort to save the young prostitute from trafficking, he tumbles into a risky high-stakes mission that turns bad when unexpected consequences arise.

Cooper’s Promise is a well-crafted love story in the midst of the hell of poverty, diamond trading, and human trafficking. The author does a great job of putting the reader into this environment, and then making them care about the well-rounded characters.

This is a difficult story to read because of the nature of the environment. The author had tackled some pretty weighty themes that may make some readers uncomfortable. He does, however, weave these themes into the story with skill.

This story immediately sucked me into the action and held my interest throughout, but I must admit, as the plot unfolded, I found the storyline stretching the limits of believability, and also occasionally dipping into melodrama. These issues were easily overlooked because of the fast paced action and the depth of the characters.

If you’re looking for a heartfelt love story with a happily-ever-after ending, keep looking. This is a gritty, disturbing story of a love that blooms in the wrong place at the wrong time. If however, you enjoy a compelling action-filled adventure written with verve, then I can highly recommend this read.

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