Books by Susan Rogers Cooper

STUDENT BODY by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

"Lively and mysterious: above average for this brashly comic series."
A romance writer and part-time sleuth has to work a case much too close to home. Read full book review >
BEST SERVED COLD by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: March 1, 2017

"Despite the high body count, Cooper's newest (Countdown, 2014, etc.) is loaded with sly humor, delightfully awkward characters, and a surprising denouement."
The sheriff's department of Prophesy County, Oklahoma, is under attack. Read full book review >
DEAD TO THE WORLD by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: March 1, 2015

" A mystery told on several levels, each of them both tricky and amusing until the diverse sleuths prevail."
A romantic 20th-anniversary weekend turns into a dangerous ghost hunt. Read full book review >
COUNTDOWN by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Sept. 1, 2014

"Milt's adventures often feature interesting characters and twisty plots. This one, though, crams in so much activity that the impact of any one storyline is lost."
Prophesy County, Oklahoma, has a sudden spate of dangerous cases. Read full book review >
GONE IN A FLASH by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Nov. 1, 2013

"A rollicking mystery with plenty of red herrings and amusing characters who could have been friends of Stephanie Plum."
A trip to deliver their son to college pits a Texas family against several dangerous criminals. Read full book review >
DARK WATERS by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: July 1, 2013

"Despite a few twists, Cooper's latest is neither as complex nor as interesting as some of her former entries (Husband and Wives, 2012, etc.) featuring the tough but good-hearted Milt."
A cruise proves to be no dream vacation for an Oklahoma sheriff. Read full book review >
DEAD WEIGHT by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Dec. 1, 2012

"E.J.'s fans, happy to see the continuing characters further fleshed out, will forgive the fact that this time the chase is more interesting than the capture."
A Texas romance writer's marriage may just be ruined by her inability to keep her nose out of mysterious deaths. Read full book review >
HUSBAND AND WIVES by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: May 1, 2012

"This latest case for Milt (Rude Awakening, 2009, etc.) artfully combines a twisted mystery with a look at polygamy from a feminist point of view."
The sheriff of Prophesy County, Okla., tackles a murder case involving several wives, all married to the same man. Read full book review >
FULL CIRCLE by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Jan. 1, 2011

"Still another look (One, Two, What Did Daddy Do?, 1992, etc.) at the Lester family murders. Lots of flashbacks, lots of changing perspectives and new viewpoints, lots of invitations to keep guessing. It all hurtles along rapidly until the unsatisfactory ending."
A romance novelist and amateur sleuth's most dangerous adventure involves her own family. Read full book review >
RUDE AWAKENING by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"A surprise ending caps this unusually amusing entry in Milt's ebullient series (Shotgun Wedding, 2009, etc.)."
A small-town sheriff's department deals with a series of interconnected crimes. Read full book review >
SHOTGUN WEDDING by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Feb. 1, 2009

"Enough felonies for a whole series of The Wire, though neither the overcharged, half-hearted mystery nor the improbable pirate invasion could provide enough nourishment on its own."
Quite the crime wave for sleepy Longbranch, Okla: multiple robberies, multiple murders, kidnapping and devil worship. And we haven't even gotten to the pirates. Read full book review >
ROMANCED TO DEATH by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"A fast-paced whodunit that mixes the plainspoken E.J. with double the thrills and chills."
A romance writers' convention becomes the latest high-mortality zone. Read full book review >
VEGAS NERVE by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: March 8, 2007

"More fun than a week in Vegas, especially if it's Milt's week."
His psychiatrist wife's conference takes Sheriff Milt Kovak to Las Vegas, where her triumphant speech is promptly one-upped by murder. Read full book review >
LYING WONDERS by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"So many cases are bound to leave a few loose or ragged ends, but veteran Cooper's unobtrusive mastery of her little patch of Oklahoma makes other, longer whodunits look bloated."
It's never easy hearing from an old girlfriend, but Sheriff Milt Kovak, of Oklahoma's Prophesy County (Doctors and Lawyers and Such, 1995, etc.), is especially unhappy about Laura Marshall's call. She's convinced that her son Trent, 18, who hasn't come home from a retreat at the Holy Temple of Seven Trumpets, has been kidnapped, maybe by his hosts. A trip to the retreat site, a million-dollar parcel of land Seven Trumpets follower Barry Leventhwart sold spiritual leader Brother Grigsby for a dollar, is even less reassuring: Milt finds the naked corpse of Amanda Nederwald, Trent's girlfriend. Brother Grigsby, who turns out to have an interesting history with the justice system, naturally stonewalls—what else do cult leaders do?—and Brother Barry and the rest of Grigsby's followers circle the wagons, but not before Milt and his deputies notice that a lot of the acolytes are female, and a lot of the females are pregnant. Is Grigsby plotting to renew the fallen world literally? And what's become of Trent Marshall, whom Amanda's family is convinced murdered her and fled? Trust down-home Milt to work it all out—as soon as he's taken care of another troubled teen who runs off with her boyfriend, the rape complainant who switches to crying drugs when the sheriff doubts her original charges, and the deputy whose undercover prostitution sting nabs an uppity councilwoman's daughter. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 10, 1995

Beneath its bucolic veneer, life in Prophesy County, Oklahoma, is rife with problems, and middle-aged, newly remarried Sheriff Milt Kovak gets a lot of them (Dead Moon on the Rise, 1994, etc.). The wife of Emmett Hopkins, Longbranch's chief of police and Milt's good friend, has committed suicide, using her husband's gun. And over the next few months there are more suicides in Prophesymany more than the statistical norm. Milt tries hard to find a connecting link while he worries about his pregnant wife, Jean, a psychiatrist crippled by childhood polio. Meanwhile, Longbranch has become home to exWhite House TV reporter Libby Fortuna, also pregnant, who's now married to lawyer Daniel Gallagher and writing a book on her years in Washington. It's Milt who finds her murdered body in a car parked behind the Stop 'N Shop. There are connections to be made here, toowith Daniel's twin brother Phillip, a doctor who left town some years back in the wake of his own tragedy, and whose elusive trail is adding to Milt's woes. Attention-grabbing plot twists, vividly drawn characters, unsticky but heartfelt domestic episodes, credible solutions, and a hero who grows ever more simpatico: the best of the Kovak series to date. Read full book review >
FUNNY AS A DEAD RELATIVE by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Oct. 20, 1994

Cooper, who's been alternating between standup comic Kimmey Kruse's adventures in Chicago (Funny as a Dead Comic, 1993) and down-home sagebrush mysteries (Dead Moon on the Rise, p. 247), gets a chance to fire both barrels at once when a hurry call to her ailing grandfather's bedside sends Kimmey home to Port Arthur, Tex. Aside from his longtime estrangement from Kimmey's grandmother, Me- Maw, there's nothing wrong with Paw-Paw's broken leg that time and better cooking than Kimmey's won't fix. But the family reunion among Me-Maw's relatives, the Foret sisters, isn't so benign: Leticia DuBois, with whom Me-Maw's been feuding for 45 years, has a fatally allergic reaction to a wasp sting. When Kimmey finds a jar containing two dead wasps in Leticia's car, she tells the police Leticia was murdered, but they're just as hostile as Leticia's son Willard, the hunkiest man Kimmey's ever met. Between the pressure she's getting from Barbara Sue Blanton, the wild child corseted into Bible-thumping by her charismatic Baptist preacher husband, and from Sal Pucci, the police detective who's followed her, uninvited, down from Chicago to look into the case, ingratiate himself with her relatives, and whisper lewd somethings into her ear, the big question isn't whether Kimmey can find Armand DuBois, the wastrel who broke his engagement to Barbara Sue to marry Leticia—and then reportedly ran off with one of the Foret girls- -it's how many days Kimmey can survive the engorged bosom of her family. An affectionate portrait of Kimmey's wacky East Texas relatives: a short take too smart to overstay its welcome. Read full book review >
DEAD MOON ON THE RISE by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: April 22, 1994

Fiftyish, divorced Milt Kovak, acting sheriff of Prophesy County, Oklahoma, has been reinvigorated by a new, pregnant wife- -psychiatrist Jean McDonnell—and plans to run for sheriff in the next election. A glitch in the works appears with the return of handsome, personable Wade Moon, who eloped years before with 16- year-old Gayla, leaving behind a wife and child. Not long after Wade announces his intention to oppose Milt in the election, his corpse turns up in nearby Tejas County's Blue Lake. Kovak's other problems include a string of animals stolen from the local shelter and mutilated; a bomb that totals his beloved '55 Chevy Bel-Air; a shot aimed at him that injures his deputy instead; and a running feud between his wife and sister. Solid police work isn't much in evidence in this latest installment of life in Prophesy County, whose hidden tragedies, comic incidents, and gritty speech have been more compelling elsewhere (One, Two, What Did Daddy Do?, 1992, etc.). Still, there aren't many dull moments in this generally engaging latest chapter. Read full book review >
FUNNY AS A DEAD COMIC by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Nov. 16, 1993

Cooper, author of a well-regarded series featuring Oklahoma Sheriff Milt Kovak (Other People's Houses, etc.), introduces Kimmy Kruse, a pint-sized stand-up comic from Texas, playing this week at Chicago's Kaiser Komedy Klub. On the same bill are Joey Scarlotti; Babe Marsh, who's grossly obese and does fat jokes; Bobby Rivers; M.C. Mickey Reynolds, and rising star Cab Nausberg. Cab and Kimmy are hotly at work renewing their old affair when Cab dies—in an instant—poisoned. For a while Kimmy is Detective Pucci's #1 suspect, until Reynolds is found with his neck broken, an impossible feat for petite Kimmy, and Pucci's investigations turn up more dead comedians—all connected to an Atlanta gig months before. Kimmy, once an insurance investigator, throws some good tips Pucci's way—and by the time the case is solved, with Kimmy's life on the line, they're sharing more than clues. A rambling plot with unconvincing motivation is helped some by perky, if plentifully profane, narration, a more-than-casual take on a popular entertainment phenomenon, and a heroine who could grow on you. Read full book review >
ONE, TWO, WHAT DID DADDY DO? by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Nov. 20, 1992

Cooper, creator of the well-regarded Sheriff Milton Kovack series (Chasing Away the Devil, etc.), has a gutsy new sleuth in Texas housewife/romance writer E.J. Pugh—wife of oil-field consultant Willis and mother of two small children. The family's best friends in Black Cat Ridge are their next-door neighbors the Lesters—Terry, Roy, and their children Aldon, Bessie, and teenager Monique. One ordinary morning, E.J. walked into the Lester house and found everyone shot to death except four-year-old Bessie, mute with shock. The police say Roy killed his family, then committed suicide. But E.J. and Willis know that's impossible. E.J. makes a pest of herself, trying to convince anyone who'll listen that a murderer is on the loose. It takes a deadly attack on her family to convert police opinion, and a nearly missed clue (the alert reader will get it) to pin down motive and killer. E.J.'s rough mouth and confrontational ways make her the unlikeliest writer of romances one could imagine, but she's real, warmhearted, unsoppy, and tells her fast-moving, thoroughly engrossing story with straight-ahead verve. Read full book review >
CHASING AWAY THE DEVIL by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Oct. 21, 1991

Recently divorced, tough-tender Milt Kovack, Deputy Sheriff of Prophesy County, Oklahoma (Other People's Houses, etc.), has proposed marriage to feisty waitress Glenda Sue and been rejected. A day later Glenda is found murdered in her vandalized house trailer. Milt notifies her long-estranged daughter Melissa, who has a small, half-black daughter of her own—Rebecca—and puts them up in his mountaintop house when they arrive from California for the funeral. That's scarcely over when Milt finds his own house torn apart—and Rebecca hidden, but unharmed, by masked men who leave behind a threatening note loaded with racist invective. An odd discovery in Glenda's locker at the hotel where she worked points to a possible motive for her murder, but events escalate into kidnapping and more killings before Milt makes a daring rescue, pinpoints a source of corruption, with help from the FBI, and finds a new ladylove. Cooper imbues her story with a strong sense of menace, a touch of the occult, an ironic final twist, and a sharply tuned ear for the gritty language of the area. Solid and satisfying. Read full book review >
OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Nov. 21, 1990

Tough-talking, softhearted Sheriff Milton Kovak, of Prophesy County, Oklahoma, is shaken by what he finds at 312 Grapevine Road in Long Branch—home of bankteller Lois Bell, her mechanic husband Bill, and their three young children. Not only is the whole family dead, apparently of carbon monoxide poisoning, but the house is incredibly filthy. A search for next of kin presents another enigma—no record seems to exist of the family's life before the last two or three years. But Kovak's discovery of some crucial receipts and the appearance in town of federal agent Jackson Taylor and freelance reporter Marv Bernblatt add new facets to the puzzle—as well as the first clues to the Bell family's earlier years. Meanwhile, Kovak's having a rough time—coping with his nagging, widowed sister Jewel (Houston in the Rearview Mirror), whom he'd invited to share his mountainside home; trying to keep girlfriend Glenda Sue happy; fending off developers who want to buy up the mountain and, in the middle of it all, surviving a tornado and leading the touch-and-go rescue of elderly neighbor Haywood Hunter. Still, his interest in the Bell case never flags, and when the claimant for the bodies eventually arrives, Kovak is able to put together a bitter past and the new transgressions that produced a final tragedy. Crisp, raunchy, off-beat, and steadily engrossing. Read full book review >
THE MAN IN THE GREEN CHEVY by Susan Rogers  Cooper
Released: Feb. 22, 1989

This lively newcomer to the good 'ol boys' school of writing introduces Milt Novack, head of Homicide in the Sheriff's Department of Prophesy County, Oklahoma. Milt is late 40-ish, just divorced, lonely, and facing a series of murder-rape cases in which the victims are old ladies living alone, His only solid lead is a blond man in a beat-up green Chevy, seen on a little-used road by Laura Johnson, neighbor of Beatrice Munsky, one of the murdered women. Laura is married to farm-machinery salesman Jerry, and mother of three, but that doesn't stop Milt from instant infatuation, which, before too long, is enthusiastically reciprocated. Meanwhile, Milt's deductive powers seem befogged by his steamy clandestine affair. Cattle-rustling, local fights, car crashes get handled with aplomb, but old ladies keep dying—and not until the killer slips up does Milt get a handle on a solution, lagging way behind the reader. A fresh and sometimes funny first novel, with believable characters, gritty homespun dialogue, and a sensitive, self-deprecating hero who has an ironic, slightly bitter edge and whom one hopes to meet again. Read full book review >