by doug cooper
From Memorial Day until the student workers and tourists leave in the fall, the island community of Put-in-Bay, Ohio, thrives on alcohol, drugs, sexual experimentation, and any other means of forgetting responsibilities. To Brad Shepherd—recently forced out of his job as a junior high math teacher after the overdose death of a student—it's exactly the kind of place he's looking for.
Allured by the comfort and acceptance of the hedonistic atmosphere, Brad trades his academic responsibilities and sense of obligation for a bouncer's flashlight and a pursuit of the endless summer. With Cinch Stevens, his new best friend and local drug dealer, at his side, Brad becomes lost in a haze of excess and instant gratification filled with romantic conquests, late-night excursions to special island hideaways, and a growing drug habit. Not even the hope from a blossoming relationship with Astrid, a bold and radiant Norwegian waitress, nor the mentoring from a mysterious mandolin player named Caldwell is enough to pull him out of his downward spiral. But as Labor Day approaches, the grim reality of his empty quest consumes him. With nowhere left to run or hide, Brad must accept that identity cannot be found or fabricated, but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go.
A look at one man's belated coming of age that's equally funny, earnest, romantic, and lamenting, Doug Cooper's debut novel explores the modern search for responsibility and identity, showing through the eyes of Brad Shepherd how sometimes we can only come to understand who we truly are by becoming the person we're not.
Vireo Book, A Rare Bird Book
Paperback, October 11, 2016: 978-1-945572-01-2
US $15.95 | Fiction
Doug Cooper has won an International Book Award for Literary Fiction, a USA Book News Award for Fiction, and an IPPY Award for Fiction. He has a BS in Mathematics Education from Miami University and an MA in American Studies from St. Louis University. Originally from Port Clinton, Ohio, he has also called St. Louis, Detroit, New York, Oslo, Norway, and Las Vegas home. Outside In is his debut novel. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.