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Cookie Cutter Paperback – Oct 3 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine (Oct. 3 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345435680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345435682
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.7 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Anthony's ambitious debut thriller has as its psychological hook a legacy of racial violence reenacted by a crazed, confused killer. Isaac Shaw, a respected African-American Alabama mortician, tries but fails to escape his sordid past. In 1967 he impregnated a white teenage girl, "adopted" the son she bore seconds before her death and stuffed her body in someone else's casket. Moving to Detroit with his barren wife and new son, Eugene, Shaw establishes a funeral home empire and climbs the social ladder. Because Eugene looks white, he doesn't fit into the black community. He experiences "the intraracial backlash against fair-skinned blacks," and at the same time, a sense of guilt that he has escaped racial bigotry. In a desperate urge to claim his black heritage, he becomes an artist specializing in African-American images. He also becomes delusional, with a murderous mission. Meanwhile, Lt. "Bloody Mary" Cunningham, along with others of the Detroit Police's Homicide Squad, investigate a string of murders with a distinctive feature. The killer is targeting conservative African-Americans, and his victims hold an Oreo cookie in their hands. Those killed include a top-ranked black executive at a Japanese car company and a renowned Reaganite conservative leader with a special distaste for quotas. As the Motor City prepares for a tough mayoral election in which Isaac Shaw is a leading candidate, the cops don't realize how intimately their investigation is tangled with local politics. Anthony intersperses the convoluted family history of the Shaws with a more interesting profile of Cunningham, a well-rounded character with her own troubled childhood, strained marriage and battles with sexism on the job. He makes some perceptive comments about the complex dilemmas facing black Americans of all economic levels, who must make decisions regarding assimilation, representation and interracial relationships. Credibly depicting police procedures, this modest novel delivers enough keen analysis of race relations, social history and psychology to keep thriller fans reading to its bloody conclusion. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Anthony's first novel is a complex murder mystery ? la Walter Mosley that explores race relations and politics in the deep South in the Sixties and in present-day Detroit. The victims are all blackAstabbed repeatedly and left for dead with their fingers folded around a cookie, black on the outside and white on the inside. (LJ 10/15/99)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Thomas Kincaid heard the click in his headphones, the usual signal that his sound engineer was about to cut in for a station identification break followed by a commercial. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
I was so excited to see a murder mystery written by an African-American other then straight out of the newspaper. I kinda' get tired of one genre and flip to another script after awhile. I love a good murder mystery that holds my interest. The author did this in that the first murder committed was not by the 'killer' but by his father. You knew that the killer had issues but you never knew which way it was going to take him. I was kept in suspense when he finally found love, something that you didn't even think would come into play, being that he almost killed her too. You were set to wonder, ok, when is he going to kill her for some misspoken word or gesture and how is he going to justify it?
The heroine, Bloody Mary, go figure, sets out to find the killer with a partner (seemingly a modern day good-ol-boy) who it seems is set to work against her instead of with her. The author fleshes her out by giving her character a life of her own, which I liked. He builds her character with building blocks, fortifying her, so that we know what's making her tick. She's definitely 3-dimensional. Call me petty, but, the only thing that I didn't like was that the pumps didn't go with that outfit...only the fashion conscious will pick up on it... hahaah. Mary can come back to my reading nook anytime. I'll be waiting to go through another adventure with her. All that I have to say for her is... YOU GO GIRL! Bring on the next adventure. This was a good, intriguing read. If murder and mayhem are your thing, you'll enjoy it too.
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By Robin K. West on April 22 2001
Format: Hardcover
Overall Mr. Anthony's book was a good first try. The back cover caught my attention first. The major problem I had with the book was the relationship between Annie Parsons and Isaac Shaw. It smacked too much of the stereotype of the black male as a menancing predator looking for innocent underage white female victims. I would have preferred for Annie and Isaac to have been two adults engaged in a clandestine interracial affair. After Annie became pregnant she would confront Isaac and even though it would be painful for Isaac he and his wife Gertrude would agree to adopt the baby. Annie would establish a trust fund for the child but would not want her identity revealed to the child. All three would agree to the adoption and the deception.
However, I loved the character Eugene. He was merely the victim of circumstances, both racial and social. I really wish Mr. Anthony had explained the "Parsons' curse" or given more insight into Eugene's "descent into madness". I can imagine how devastating it must have been for him to have learned his true parentage, witnessed his friend murdered by adult racists and experienced the pain of potential rejection by both black and white society. However, every black person in America has had to deal with similar issues and have not resorted to murder so what additional factors caused Eugene to commit murder? What triggered his decision to kill "Oreos?" Why did he feel this was his only means of dealing with them? I can easily understand his identity crisis in such a racially polarized society but what actually triggered his spree of serial killings? What led him to the breaking point?
The ending was very disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
This is the second mystery thriller that I have read in which the main characters are Black. It was well thought out and written impressively by Sterling Anthony making his debut as an author. I read it quickly and enthusuastically, wanting to know how the several story lines were interwoven and the final conclusion. I felt at times that the author gave alot of excess information that was not necessary and was a bit distracting, however on the whole it was a good book. I liked the originality of the plot, wherein a Black male who looks Caucasian is so confused and unhappy about his racial identity that he goes to extremes of murdering those Blacks who seem to hold disdain for their race and side with the White man in perpetuating oppression. It is interesting how the author makes the killer a believeable figure, because Black people are not known for being serial killers. However, the reason that Eugene commits these crimes is not difficult to understand, given his unbalanced state of mind. I liked the way Anthony gave Mary Cunningham, the newly promoted officer in charge of the case a full, interesting life in which she had others options open to her aside from police work. She also had a loving and supportive husband. Oftentimes, Black authors want to dwell on the negative aspects of Black family life. I do hope that this is not the last that we have heard from Mr. Anthony. I would enjoy reading more of the exploits of Lt. Mary Cunningham, but whatever the subject matter I'm sure he will do it justice.
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Format: Paperback
Cookie Cutter is a debut thriller with an awesome prologue which immediately captures the readers attention and has one getting comfortable in their favorite chair so that they can escape with this psycho thriller.
The setting is Bent Fork, Alabama; the year is 1967 a year of change and transition in Black America especially in the inner-citites but not necessarily true in the Deep South. We're introduced to black and married mortician Issac Shaw and white teenager Annie Parson who's a runaway and is at the funeral home to inform Isaac that he's the father of her unborn child. All within a matter of minutes, Annie gives birth but dies during childbirth. Isaac must decide what to do with Annie's body and also come up with a plan to pass off baby Eugene Shaw as his adopted son.
The deep, dark secrets of that night and the Shaw Family come full circle 30 years later...the setting has changed slightly though but the characters are only moments away from exploding. The Shaws now resided in Detroit, MI where Isaac is an up and coming politician and in pursue of the mayor's title. Eugene, Isaas and Annie's baby boy, has grown up and somthing just isn't quite right; he's being tortured and persecuted by demons from his past. Demons which might overtake him and claim his life...and a serial killer is born and on the loose in the streets of Detriot. Seems that someone is out to murder those individuals that are perceived as Oreos, black on the outside, but white on the inside. Enter front and center, Detroit Homicide Lt. Mary Cunningham--a sister with many person issues--who's also tormented in her own right--but she's also in charge of the troops and capturing the elusive serial killer.
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