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Benny Cooperman Books In Order

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Publication Order of Benny Cooperman Books

The Suicide Murders (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ransom Game (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder on Location (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder Sees the Light (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
A City Called July (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Victim Must Be Found (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dead And Buried (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
There Was an Old Woman (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Getting Away With Murder (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Cooperman Variations (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Memory Book (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
East of Suez (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Whole Megillah (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Benny Cooperman is the lead character in the Ben Cooperman series of novels by Canadian detective crime writer, Howard Engels. Cooperman is a highly talented Jewish detective that Engels describes as witty, courteous, and well-loved. Despite being in a profession where violence is the norm, Cooperman is the opposite of the detective stereotype, being smart, funny, kind, and markedly squeamish about any use of unnecessary force when dealing with criminal suspects. Given his abhorrence for any kind of violence, Benny Cooperman never carries a gun preferring to use psychology and his wits to solve almost all of his crime mysteries. The distinctive and idiosyncratic Copperman is based in the sleepy but mean streets of Grantham, Ontario that Engels has asserted is based on his hometown city of St. Catharines Niagara.

The first book in the Benny Cooperman series received a lot of popularity and critical acclaim given that it was so different from any detective mysteries ever written. Instead of the detective coming from the major cities such as London, New York, or Paris, he came from Grantham. Instead of having some special fighting abilities, he abhors violence preferring to use his intellect. With the Benny Cooperman series popular the world over, Howard Engels has received a variety of awards and recognitions. Some of the awards he has received include the CWC Grand Master Award given to him by the Crime Writers. Of Canada, the Arthur Ellis awards for crime fiction for Murder Sees the Light, and the Matt Cohen Award for literature. The Cooperman series also led to him being awarded membership into the Order of Canada for pioneering Canadian crime fiction. CBC adapted the popular The Suicide Murders and Murder Sees the Light into movies starring Saul Rubinek. The popularity of the series served to establish Howard Engel as one of the best writers in the detective crime genre.

Strolling down the streets of his hometown in his pretty, soft-boiled, mild mannered kind of way, sometimes stopping for some sweets he looks so harmless. However, looks could not be so deceiving. While he never carries a gun, he is a crafty, shrewd investigator with unbelievable levels of patience and persistence. Engel attributes his patience to his being a Jewish person who has lived in a small Protestant town in Canada. Cooperman changes over the course of the series, getting married and becoming wiser as he ages. While, he initially started out his investigative career working divorce cases, he graduates to higher quality cases that require more wits and intelligence to crack. Having gained the respect of the once disdainful Grantham police, he continues he still maintains an ironic humor that surfaces, even in the midst of the most complex of cases.

The Suicide Murders

In the first novel of the Benny Cooperman series, Engels introduces us to Cooperman a private eye with a tender heart and a hard head who is always willing to help anyone in need of his services. He meets an attractive society lady who needs him to investigate her husband, who she believes has been cheating on her, having lied to her before. Soon after taking the case, the man is found dead in mysterious circumstances that the police declare a suicide. The police believe it is a suicide since he was found with a gun, powder on his hands and most tellingly of all, powder burns on his head. Everything points to a suicide, but when Cooperman begins his investigations, he discovers that the man had just ordered a brand new bike for himself no less than an hour before his supposed suicide. He now realizes that what he has here is more serious than a lady with simple family problems. Going deeper into the details of the case, he finds himself dealing with a strange group of people that include eminent citizens with shadowy backgrounds, and a mysterious psychiatrist, and soon a series of murders that are officially deemed suicides.

The strange things in the case leave private detective Cooperman with many questions. While his specialty is finding incriminating information for persons seeking divorce, he knows when something is fishy. It is in his bones to try to get to the bottom of such mysteries for the sake of his clients. And, when even more suicides are reported, Cooperman knows that his intuition was always right, there is more to this than meets the eye. Despite the police ignoring his theories and the findings of his investigations, he does not let up until he unravels the entire mystery.

Engel is an accomplished writer that who expertly writes out a believable tale of murder upon murder that he dovetails into the banal life of Benny Cooperman. He deftly incorporates occasional humor and irony interspersed with suspense that ensures the narrative does not become too gruesome. The character descriptions of Cooperman are so good that he makes him quite relatable and memorable while still maintaining a certain mystique about him.

The Ransom Game

The second title in the Benny Cooperman series sees Cooperman bored out of his wits in his native Grantham, Ontario. Watching frost creep into the house from under the door, he is jolted into action when a beautiful woman knocks on his door with an intriguing mystery. The long-legged, blue-eyed woman is Muriel Falkirk who just wants his help to find her boyfriend Johnny Rosa who has just disappeared. Not a saint himself, Johnny is a reformed thug that has served time in prison for kidnapping and just got out of prison. The big question for Muriel is: has he been murdered by previous associates? Or has he simply skipped parole? Muriel simply wants to know where her boyfriend is. However, with Johnny having been a major criminal, there is a half a million-dollar ransom out for him and Benny and Muriel are not the only persons looking for the missing man. Benny Cooperman joined the search only to find that this is not his usual private eye cases as in this game, there are no rules.

Engel does a good job in writing a story in which Cooperman finds himself in a completely different situation to what he has been used to. Will the private eye fit and be successful in this ruthless game?

Book Series In Order » Characters » Benny Cooperman

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