Review: Captain Cooker by Todd Morr

Chris Leek
Independent Reviewer

This week we take a look at another Snubnose Press release.  Our own Joe Clifford, Tom Pitts, Court Merrigan and Rusty Sayles all have books out on the Snubnose label, so you already know this is a publisher with an eye for a good story. Todd Morr’s Captain Cooker is no exception.
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Cooke was locked up for a long time before new DNA evidence cleared his name. But it didn’t clear his reputation. Being accused of killing your girlfriend is the kind of mud that sticks. It really doesn’t matter if you did it or not. Cooke moved west to California and is trying to put it all behind him, but the ghost of his dead girlfriend has followed, so has his reputation. 

When two local girls go missing Cooke finds himself targeted by vigilantes and harassed by the Colorado cop who nailed him the first time around and is still smarting from his quashed conviction. In an effort to get out from under his past, Cooke takes a job with the law firm who freed him from the joint. He assumes that driving a pretty young lawyer around is just a pity job to help him get back on his feet, although when the lawyer and her son are kidnapped he’s not so sure.
It's Cooke himself who is the real jam in this particular jelly donut of crime. His portrayal of the complex, hard-assed trouble magnet is an inspired one and makes for a compelling protagonist who is easy to like in spite of his past, or maybe because of it.

Captain Cooker is a solid debut and Todd Morr has a smooth, accomplished style that belies the fact that this novel is his first ever published work.  His well worked scene construction and rock solid narrative voice both point towards an author who is already completely at ease with his craft. If you like your fiction boiled hard and served with a side order of panache then check out Captain C.