Review: Cooper Bartholomew is Dead - Rebecca James

Release Date: October 1st 2014
Published By: Allen & Unwin
Pages: 336
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 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?

A gripping new novel from the author of Beautiful Malice and Sweet Damage.


Review: This is my first Rebecca James novel, and I have to say, I am impressed! This is a great Aussie thriller, which kept me guessing and entertained all the way until the very end.

Cooper Bartholomew is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. The ruling is suicide. But are things really as they initially seem?

What I loved about this book is the fact that it is told through four different characters, in past and present tense, as well as being told from both first and third person narrative.. I know this may sound daunting, but seriously, this was one of the best aspects of this book. It was superbly written, in fact the transition through the various narratives is flawless. Libby and Cooper’s narrative is first person, which I felt helped us feel connected to these two characters, and understand their relationship much better. Sebastian and Clare’s perspectives were told in third person, which gave us the ability to watch the complexities of these some characters with some distance.

Through “then” perspectives, we get to seen the relationship between Cooper and Libby, Coopers friendship with Sebastian and the strain of Libby being in Cooper’s and Sebastian’s life. You quickly see that Cooper seems to be a happy, confident guy who does not seem to have any suicidal tendancies. Did he really commit suicide? Or was there foul play involved? Libby is determined to find out.

Each character is complex, multi-facated, and each have their own demons and desires. Each character has their own strong distinct voice (which is great considering the perspective changes). There are so many emotions underlying each character and the relationships between the characters are multidimensional.

Going into this story, we know that Cooper died. And while I was unsure if I would like a story where I knew the outcome, I found the story isn’t about the “what” it is about the “how”. And I especially enjoyed the “then” perspectives, as I loved being able to watch Libby and Cooper fall in love. And more heart-breakingly, watch it all fall apart due to his death. The scene of Libby learning of Cooper’s death was superbly written, your heart will ache for this young woman. I felt her pain and confusion, and later I admired her determination to find out what happened to Cooper.

I also found Sebastian and Clare to be very interesting characters. Deep, complex, troubled. Sebastian, Cooper’s best friend, has always been a loyal friend to Cooper, even though they are clearly from different sides of the tracks. Although very different, these two boys bonded at an early age, resulting in them being more like brothers than friends. I think this helps Sebastian deal with this tense and rather detached relationship with his real family. And Clare is extremely troubled, she was bitchy, manipulative, self-involved and destructive, but this is clearly because she is insecure (although that doesn’t make you like her any more). But for all their faults, these two are a part of Cooper’s life.

You will see how Cooper impacted each character’s life, how they loved him, how they needed him, how they grieved for him. Did he really choose to leave them, or is someone hiding a deadly secret? Through the clues along the way in the “then” and “now” perspectives, the puzzle slowly starts to move together and the mystery around his death starts to unravel. Be prepared for a heartfelt and powerful conclusion.

Filled with intrigue, loss, heartbreak, longing, deception, mystery, demise, secrets, expectations and secrets - Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is a captivating psychological thriller.


Note: Although it is commonly believed, this book is not technically YA. It is NA. The characters are in university and it does contain drug use, swearing and sex.


“And though I’d read the books and seen the movies and talked about and dreamed of it endlessly, I’d never realised that love could be so intense and so magic, so compltely and utterly consuming. I’d never realised that life could be so sweet”

“That’s the thing about people like Cooper. They were so noticeable to us. they loomed so large and bright on our social radars. and yet to them we were barely blips. We knew stuff about them, we talked about them and watched them. We dreamed of being invited to their stupid parties. But they knew nothing about us. Not our names, not even our faces. They were indifferent. They made us feel small and boring. They made us feel invisible”


What do you think?

  • Brit says:

    This book is next on my TBR and I’ve read so many intriguing reviews, I can’t wait to get into it! That’s so impressive that the author was able to balance four perspectives, along with then and now AND first and third person, it sounds like it could get so messy.

    Really looking forward to this one, great review!
    Brit recently posted…Book Mail!My Profile

  • Kelly says:

    I loved this as well. I thought the before, after and the different perspectives would end up blurring together too, but it was so well thought out and each really only seemed to share a love for Cooper to bond their stories together. Even though you know Cooper is gone, it didn’t make that ending any less emotional. Gosh, I teared up. Incredible review.

    Boobies :D
    Kelly recently posted…Brew Bash: David Estes Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Kelly :)
      The different perspectives were incredible - I loved the different POVs and it’s amazing that it didn’t get confusing at all (considering how complex it is).
      I am glad you enjoyed it!

      (stop checking out our hooters lol)

  • I’m glad you liked this one. I’m hoping to read this one soon. I love Rebecca James. You should get your hands on her other books, they are really good too.
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…Fortnight In Review.My Profile

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