Clarence Cooper Jr. published six books of crime fiction, all between 1960 and 1967. These had mostly to do with the harder edges of life in black America: the underworld of the urban street, of drug addiction and violence. Cooper’s novels, though now well regarded, ended up in the slush pile at Regency House, where most were brought to print by editor Harlan Ellison in the early ’60s. Until now The Syndicate has not been published in the United States under Cooper’s real name, but only abroad, where — with its pulp overtones and renegade violence — it is regarded as a cult classic. Cooper did much of his writing in jail and never fully shook his drug addiction. He stopped writing in the late ’60s, drifted back into street life, and died in New York in 1978.
Clarence Cooper Jr. Deserved Better
Nathan Jefferson reviews “The Syndicate” by Clarence Cooper Jr....