MOLOTOV NEWSWIRE : Featured on CrimeReads, The Internet Review of Books, Crime Segments and More. After 58 years, first U.S. reviews of Cooper's THE SYNDICATE give recognition to this lost noir by an underrated African-American writer. Read the latest news on this rediscovered classic on our newswire.
A lost crime classic from Clarence Cooper, Jr., a black crime writer from Detroit whose first novel, The Scene, was a literary sensation. Believed to be too raw, and possibly damaging to his literary career, The Syndicate was published under pseudonym in 1960, a hard-hitting, fast-paced story plunging into the psycho-sexual depths of a ruthless enforcer sent to retrieve syndicate money. Cooper's subsequent work fell into pulp oblivion.
Cooper is a rare figure in crime fiction, a writer whose work--though always transgressive and fatalistic in its view--ranged from narrative-driven noir to more experimental forms, provoking comparison to writers as varied as Burroughs and Jim Thompson.
The Syndicate, in its relentless pacing and dark humor, simmers beneath its pulp veneer with questions about racial and sexual identity that give powerful, paradoxical animation to the character's ruthless quest.
This is the first U. S. Publication under the author's real name, with an afterward by Gary Phillips (The Obama Inheritance), including biographical material on Cooper, childhood friend of Malcolm X. Cooper struggled with heroin addiction most of his life, did much of his writing in jail and died on a New York street at the age of 44, alone and strung out, not far from his last known residence: the 23rd Street YMCA.
"One of the most underrated writers in America, a Richard Wright of the revolutionary era." Black World/Negro Digest
“The man who should have been the black William Burroughs.” GQ
“Not even Nelson Algren’s Man with the Golden Arm burned with [this] ferocious actuality.” New York Herald-Tribune
CLARENCE COOPER JR.
"The U. S. landscape as gangscape, littered with the twisted & damaged psyche of a game rigged to take out all its players. A perversely brilliant celebration of the long downhill slide." Peter Maravelis, Editor of San Francisco Noir.