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Publisher's Summary

Army sharpshooter and deserter Cooper Chance is trapped. Recruited from Iraq to fight in an African country ravaged by a chronic civil war, Cooper wants nothing more than to go home. Unfortunately, the only thing awaiting him in America is jail, and Cooper is acutely claustrophobic. 

Whether he likes it or not, he now leads the life of a mercenary in a gritty world filled with thugs, prostitutes, and corrupt cops. To survive his desperate circumstances, Cooper trades diamonds. One day, he wanders into a diamond shop, where he meets Sadiq, a young merchant as lost in the world as he is. As they fall in love, Cooper has no idea Sadiq has ulterior motives. 

Meanwhile, huge oil reserves are discovered nearby, and the CIA offers Cooper a way home without jail time if he agrees to carry out a risky, high-stakes mission. Cooper will do anything to get home - except sell his soul to the devil. But when a teenage prostitute he has promised to save suddenly disappears, Cooper finally relents. Unfortunately, he has no idea that unexpected consequences await.

©2012 Timothy Jay Smith (P)2021 Timothy Jay Smith

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A great thriller

Cooper’s Promise is an award-winning novel by author Timothy Jay Smith released recently in audiobook format, almost 10 years after its original publication date.

The story follows rogue army sharpshooter and deserter CooperChance, who is forced to hide in a Third World country in Africa. There he will see how much of a small price is put on human life and will realize that he must do his best in order to save at least one unfortunate child from her fate as a sex slave.

And that’s how the promise is made, but things get complicated really fast and the Central intelligence Agency gets involved. In his mission, he will also find love in a complicated relationship with a young diamond merchant. What follows is a story filled with action, betrayal, twists, turns and a lot of surprises.

Actor and voiceover artist Ryan Brophy brings Cooper’s Promise to life with enthusiasm and talent. He reads and acts all the parts with ease and fuels the action with intensity and urgency. Although this was the first time listening to Brian, I think that he did a fantastic job with the performance. The audio production is good and will keep the listener entertained for the seven hours duration.

Cooper’s Promise is definitely a fiction novel, but it highlights the darkest corners of the human condition. Fast-paced, intriguing and entertaining, this adventure is recommended for those looking for a good thriller with a touch of gay romance.

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Such An Interesting Book

I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked this up. The cover does not do this book justice. I don’t like saying that because I know someone, somewhere put time and energy into the cover – but this cover hides so much more than it reveals about Cooper’s Promise.

I’ve also never heard of or read anything else by Timothy Jay Smith, but this won’t be the last book I read of his. It was interesting and really took me on a journey from beginning to end. I can’t quite place my finger on exactly the feelings I had while reading it since they were unique to this book, but I know that I did enjoy it.

Smith was able to build up this suspense that I could almost cut with a knife. It was meaty and kept going throughout the entire book. I wasn’t sure at one point if I was ever going to get a conclusion to all of it, but it did come and wow was it satisfying when it did. Smith was also good at playing on human emotions, both Cooper’s and mine as the reader. That’s something that’s not easy to do, and I think he pulled it off.

I’ve never listened to anything narrated by Ryan Brophy before but I enjoyed his narration quite a bit. It always takes me a few minutes to get into a rhythm with a new narrator – but it didn’t take long at all to figure out how Brophy was going to tell this story.

Overall, Cooper’s Promise was such an interesting book I was left feeling… weird at the end. Not sad, not happy, just like “what just happened?”. I think any book that can flirt with my emotions like that is a winner. I don’t know if everyone would enjoy Cooper’s Promise, but I know that suspense and thriller fans will likely enjoy it. Those who like action and some gore will enjoy it. And anyone who likes a good story should enjoy it as well.

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Suspenseful and fateful

I’m always game to try a new author and when this opportunity arose, I snapped up the book. As always, I did not read the synopsis, so I headed into it knowing little and completely unsure what to expect. If I’d read the synopsis, I would have known this is not like the other books I’ve read recently. After sticking mainly to gay romance, this book was different. It’s a thriller. And let me tell you, I was on the edge of my seat. Several times I honestly didn’t believe Cooper could escape. Several times I wondered if he was going to make it.

Cooper Chance is living in the African country of Lalanga on his wits, his shady dealings, and beer. An army deserter, he can’t return to his home in the United States. He misses his step-sister to whom he promised to write. And he has. He just hasn’t sent the post cards. He hangs out at The Mining Pan, a bar that served G&T without ice, cold beer on days when there’s power, a young girls and boys who have sex with johns on mattresses in the backrooms with beaded curtains for the illusion of privacy. Cooper doesn’t indulge, He observes Lulay and the boys with lipstick and although he dreads watching them prostitute their young bodies, he’s powerless to intervene. He makes a Cooper Promise to Lulay that one day he’ll take her away, but he isn’t sure he can do it.

Meanwhile he fences diamonds stolen by a child who works in the mines and her blind brother who gets them to Cooper. Cooper then takes them to a legitimate store and that’s where he meets Sadiq. The prodigal son has been studying in Beirut and has come home to take over his father’s shop. He’s brought a friend with him. A devout Muslim who abhors America, Americans, and everything they stand for. Needless to say, he and Cooper don’t hit it off. But Sadiq and Cooper do and thus begins an affair of heart and body. I wanted it to work out for them, all the while suspecting they were doomed. I felt everyone in this story was doomed.

The Cooper’s approached by the CIA. Do us this one little favor, they say, and you can go home. Thus begins Cooper’s insane balancing act. Sadiq, Lulay, Lulay’s sister Ianna, Sam Brown from the CIA, and Innocence the diamond thief’s brother. But Cooper can’t save everyone. How he copes with that knowledge was one of the most impactful moments in the book. Time is running out, and inertia is not an option.
This book is rich, colorful, and exotic. From the mangoes that fall from trees, to the baths that are NOT Turkish, to the mosaic of people parading through the corrupt country – even down to the local police chief who is fat while his second in charge is starving. There is poverty, desperation, deprivation, corruption, and mayhem. One tribe runs the governments while the other are the rebels. The rebels win and they form the next corrupt government, pillaging whatever is left until the next ones come. America offers to help, but only after the discovery of oil.

There is, obviously, cynicism in this book. But there are also glimpses of humanity. The ending was oddly satisfying, given the carnage. I don’t want to say more – I think I’ve said plenty already. And in case you haven’t figured it out, I really enjoyed the book. The narrator, Ryan Brophy, is new to me, and I have to say he gave a solid performance. I can definitely recommend this book, although it won’t suit everyone’s sensibilities. There is sorrow and there is triumph. I’ll take that away with me.