Welcome to Cooper by Tariq Ashkanani

Today Mandie is taking a look at another of the books we picked up via Newcastle Noir, Welcome to Cooper by Tariq Ashkanani. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 01 October 2021
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

About the Book

In this explosive thriller of bad choices and dark crimes, Detective Levine knew his transfer was a punishment—but he had no idea just how bad it would get.

Cooper, Nebraska, is forgettable and forgotten, a town you’d only stumble into if you’d taken a seriously wrong turn. Like Detective Thomas Levine’s career has. But when a young woman is found lying in the snow, choked to death, her eyes gouged out, the disgraced detective is Cooper’s only hope for restoring peace and justice.

For Levine, still grieving and guilt-ridden over the death of his girlfriend, his so-called “transfer” from the big city to this grubby backwater has always felt like a punishment. And when his irascible new partner shoots their prime suspect using Levine’s gun, all hope of redemption is shattered. With the case in chaos, and both blackmail and a violent drug cartel to contend with, he finds himself in a world of trouble.

It gets worse. The real killer is still out there, and he’s got plans for Detective Levine. And Cooper may just be the perfect place to get away with murder.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Detective Thomas Levine has moved to Cooper in Nebraska after bad decisions in his previous post had nearly ended his career. Given the only other option was to quit the force, he really didn’t see that there was much of a choice to make really other than to go to this quiet town and try to atone for what he had done. Only problem is there are things and people that just don’t want this to happen. When a woman is found dead with her eyes gouged out Levine’s new partner is adamant there is only one suspect and to ensure that no one else is even considered he finds a way to silence Levine and get him to do what he wants and that is just the tip of the iceberg

Wow, they always say it’s the quiet ones you have to watch, and this seems to go for the town of Cooper as well. The small community is hiding so much and it’s hard to know who is trustworthy. One thing for sure Thomas was never going to be able to redeem himself, all he was ever going to do was make the best of a bad job and try to hold onto his career. Even when you know how he ended up in Cooper you still hold out hope that he will come good and fight against everyone who is trying to keep him down. He does seem to have one ally in the form of local barmaid Mary but even she is not prepared for what is about to happen.

Every character has some major flaws and despite them not being likeable in anyway, I found I couldn’t stop reading, knowing that I just had to find out how this story was going to play out and I am not going to lie, it was not how I expected at all. Although this is not an overly long book it certainly packs a punch and is dark and grizzly but for a debut novel I would recommend it and can’t wait for the next book by this author.

About the Author

Tariq Ashkanani is a solicitor based in Edinburgh, where he also runs WriteGear, a Kickstarter company that sells high-quality notebooks for writers, and WriteGear’s podcast Page One. He had no formal writing training or consultation prior to writing Welcome to Cooper. He is currently working on a follow-up thriller.