Cerisaye's Review

If youíre familiar with Dennis Cooperís novels youíll know what to expect.† If youíve never read any youíre in for something of a shock.† Iím not sure why I read Cooperís disturbing, often sickening writing- edgy or risky isnít enough to describe it.† Mixing copious drugtaking, casual sex (gay), extreme violence and gore with an almost spiritual quest for enlightenment and self-knowledge, theyíre never easy.

Cooper inhabits a dark, rather claustrophobic world populated by tall, lanky, mop-haired, tripped-out boys with big lips and eyes, and the older men who prey on them with (sometimes) reluctant compulsion.† Men like Dennis the narrative voice who may/may not be Cooper.† Men who fantasise about killing barely (if that) legal boys in the middle of sex, like capturing butterflies to preserve their beauty forever.† They devise scenarios that wouldnít be out of place in the works of the Marquis de Sade or the very Grimmest of fairytales.† Sometimes these fantasies become real...thatís when the novel freaks me out- except with Cooper youíre never certain if itís ALL just happening inside Dennisí head, a sort of safety valve.

Yet I keep buying Cooperís books and compulsively reading them, somehow feeling connected to fucked up Dennis (who is rather endearing) and his worries about whether feeding his violent imaginings does actually prevent him acting out his dark desires.† All Dennis really wants is love, except he's stuck in a loop always looking for it from boys either too young or too fucked up to give it to him, terrified of his needs.† I donít know if itís just that some part of me finds all this erotic so, like Dennis, I read about this horrible twisted stuff filled with kink that takes me to a place Iíd NEVER dare go.†

Fictional Dennis tries to write a novel that will make sense out of his life, like the blinding moment of clarity he once had long ago on acid.† Dennis lives mostly in his head and the timeline shifts around which lends the whole thing a dreamlike hallucinogenic quality- well maybe nightmarish is more appropriate.

The book is graphic with sex & violence.† Thereís paedophilia, necrophilia, cannibalism.† Someone rapes a youth near death from AIDS in a hospice.† A dwarf kills and chops up a suicidal man who previously tried to get Dennis to kill him.† A kiddie porn star ODís on set causing problems for the woman who runs the production company.† Shocking stuff.† So why is it so readable?† For the same reason we canít help gawping at accident scenes as we drive by, some primitive urge we donít understand and try to pretend we donít have?

You either have the stomach for it or you donít.† I must admit I canít take much in one go so I read Cooper in chunks.† Heís a good writer.† Obviously.† If he werenít we wouldnít bother.† You can read plenty of guts & gore hardcore BDSM stuff free on the net.† Cooper makes us face aspects of ourselves weíd rather not contemplate.† This is part of his 5-volume cycle of books based round Dennis and George Miles, the object of his passion who flits elusively in and out of the series, ultimately unknowable.

Don't say you weren't warmed.