Author: Rebecca James
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Date published: October 1st 2014
Source: Purchased by reviewer.
Cooper Bartholomew's body is found at the foot of a cliff.
That's the official finding, that's what everyone believes.
Cooper's girlfriend, Libby, has her doubts. They'd been happy, in love. Why would he take his own life?
As Libby searches for answers, and probes more deeply into what really happened the day Cooper died, she and her friends unravel a web of deception and betrayal.
Are those friends – and enemies – what they seem?
Who is hiding a dangerous secret? And will the truth set them all free?
Cooper dies on the first page. That's not a spoiler really, the title is kind of a give away. At this point we don't know Cooper, so his death doesn't have much of an emotional impact, but that soon changes. We see the development of Cooper and Libby's relationship and the reactions of their friends and parents. We also see the aftermath of Cooper's death, the lies and inconsistencies, the assumptions that are made, and the grief that Libby feels.
Libby does not believe that Cooper committed suicide. Why would he? They were happy, making plans for their future together. He was making a table for his mother that he hadn't quite finished. It just doesn't add up. Someone knows what happened, Libby just has to find out who it is.
The story is told from 4 different viewpoints - Libby and Cooper are written in the first person and Claire and Sebastian are written in the third person. This is an interesting device and means we automatically relate to the first two and see the latter two as potential suspects. We also have two time periods - Then, before Cooper's death, and Now, after. This could make for quite a confusing read but it actually works well. We see the build up to Cooper's death as Libby is putting the pieces together.
Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is a great thriller. The fact that I figured out most of the mystery before it was revealed didn't matter. It was told so well that I still felt compelled to get to the end to see if I was right and find out what happened. At the same time, I didn't want to get to the end, because I didn't want Cooper to really be dead.
This may have been the first Rebecca James title that I have read, but it won't be the last.