My Second Death
In Lydia Cooper’s wry and absorbing debut novel, we are introduced to Mickey Brandeis, a brilliant twenty-eight year old doctoral candidate in medieval literature who is part Lisbeth Salander and part Dexter. She lives in her parents’ garage and swears too often, but she never complains about the rain or cold, she rarely eats dead animals, and she hasn’t killed a man since she was ten. Her life is dull and predictable but legal, and she intends to keep it that way.
But the careful existence Mickey has created in adulthood is upended when she is mysteriously led to a condemned house where she discovers an exquisitely mutilated corpse. The same surreal afternoon she is asked by a timid, wall-eyed art student to solve a murder that occurred twenty years earlier. While she gets deeper and deeper into the investigation, she begins to lose hold on her tenuous connection to reality—to her maddening students and graduate thesis advisor; to her stoic parents, who are no longer speaking; to her confused, chameleon-like adolescent brother; and to her older brother, Dave, a zany poet who is growing increasingly erratic and keenly interested in Mickey’s investigation.
Driven by an unforgettable voice, and filled with razor-sharp wit and vivid characters, My Second Death is a smart, suspenseful novel and a provocative examination of family, loyalty, the human psyche, and the secrets we keep to save ourselves.
Lydia Cooper is an assistant professor of American Literature and has taught at universities and in community workshops. She has numerous academic publications, including peer-reviewed journals, a chapter in a book, and a book on Cormac McCarthy that was recently published as part of Louisiana State University Press’s Southern Writers Series.
“…Cooper’s debut novel is a fast-paced psychological thriller with an unforgettable heroine. This damaged yet fiercely independent protagonist will appeal to fans of Stieg Larsson and Gillian Flynn.”
“In Cooper’s chilling debut…[the] prose is full of dark beauty, whether in describing human viscera or the weather. Those willing to stare into the recesses of the human psyche will be most rewarded.”
“Cooper is a nimble architect, deftly combining various raw materials to form a whole all her own. She’s fastened a cerebral and gritty text from mystery, noir, comedy, and family tragedy elements. I was amazed at how all these things coexisted and thrived, forming a mesmerizing mosaic.”
—Joshua Mohr, author of Termite Parade and Damascus