Publication Date: October 6, 2012
In Captain Cooker By Todd Morr, Cooke is finally free after years of wrongful imprisonment. He lives a quiet life working as a bouncer at a club who smokes and drinks in his downtime. He’s even learned to ignore the ghost of his dead girlfriend. When a crime hauntingly similar to the one Cooke is accused of committing happens in his area, the locals go for Cooke. The encounter lands him in jail but its Cooke’s lucky day; another suspect in the crime is caught. When Cooke goes to work as a driver for the lawyer defending the man, he figures the job will be routine. Little does he know the danger that lurks for him and the attractive female lawyer he’s guarding.
Bobby, Cooke’s prison trainer, tells him “It’s time to find out if you’re a Captain Cooker or a plate of carnitas.” (Kindle location 1779). A Captain Cooker is an NZ term for a wild pig and if you don’t know what carnitas are, you’ve missed out. I suggest trying them today. The theme is blatant. Are you someone who does what has to be done or do you lie back and take it? Cooke is not a man to lie back and take anything. If there’s a tougher road he’s taking it because he may go with what’s easy, but he’ll never trust it. Some stories are plot driven and some are character driven and Captain Cooker is very much the latter.
There’s a resonance of character within the storyline from the moment we start the narrative. Cooke is sitting with his neighbor, Nolan, drinking beer and smoking. There is a by-play between them that echoes a life philosophy reminiscent of Jack Reacher (Lee Child). Cooke isn’t a drifter, he’s a man who spent a long time in prison for something he didn’t do and continues to be imprisoned emotionally by the ghost of his ex-girlfriend (though he chooses to ignore her). He lives every day as much on his own terms as he can. Cooke would never admit emotional weakness, but he is a character living for the moment and thinks about tomorrow when it comes. He sees equity of sorts within his world. When he’s asked to drive the lawyer around, Cooke is told he will be paid above scale and that he just needs to bill the company. Instead of billing the company, he figures his new employer will be fair. He does this in conflict as well. He’s happy to end a fight, even. He doesn’t need to be ahead, just where his view dictates he should be, and he doesn’t inflate his worth.
Captain Cooker that belies the violence. Cooke asks if the job entails sitting around and looking tough as he sees that as his skill set and doesn’t intend to learn any others. Cooke is not a man who springs to action unless he’s forced to do so. He defends himself from the vigilantes in and outside of jail when the vigilantes follow him on his new job in short order. He’s not Superman. He’s taking some hits. He has that prison training that kept him from being a rape victim when locked up. As stated above, in each conflict he goes as far as he needs to go to “even the score”. When Val, the attractive attorney, is captured, Cooke does what he needs to do instead of following the instructions of the captors.
There were no errors in this work whether in formatting, grammar or plotting. All was tightly done. This work is one for which I would easily pay full publisher price and not put it down when done thinking, “Well, that was a waste of money.” Morr lives in his character’s hometown of Oceanside, California and so was able to convey the setting in a very relaxed way as only a local could.
Captain Cooker is a wonderful story complete with action, sex, humor and intrigue. I went into this story not expecting to like it but from the dog who knows his cans of beer from the bottles (and don’t you dare touch his beer), I was hooked. For anyone who loves a good story with a well-crafted character, be sure to pick this one up.
If Captain Cooker By Todd Morr sounds like a book for you, read an excerpt and buy on