Beware the road outside your front door, for it is both old friend and passing stranger.

Meet Loren W. Cooper

Loren Cooper lives in Cedar Rapids with his wife and daughters. He's been publishing books since about 2000. He has an MFA with a teaching emphasis. He loves reading, writing, brewing, martial arts, technology, and his family. CrossTown is his sixth published book.

Chain of Ghosts
-Excerpt fromCrossTown.

Meet Loren W. Cooper

Loren Cooper lives in Cedar Rapids with his wife and daughters. He's been publishing books since about 2000. He has an MFA with a teaching emphasis. He loves reading, writing, brewing, martial arts, technology, and his family. CrossTown is his sixth published book.

Links to Radio Interviews:

Leslie Marshall Show

WWBX Boston interview


CrossTown is now a Finalist for the Endeavor Award! We'll see you at OryCon in November. 

An excerpt of CrossTown is live on 

Praise for CrossTown:

An impressively original and deftly scripted novel by an author with a genuine flair for imaginative and narrative driven storytelling, "CrossTown" is expressly and unreservedly recommended as an addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, and a 'must' for the personal reading lists of all dedicated fantasy/mystery fans.

Midwest Book Review

Reviewed By Kim Anisi for Readers’ Favorite

Science fiction, fantasy, comedy and adventure meet in CrossTown by Loren W Cooper. This unusual genre mix introduces readers to Zethus, a sorcerer who lives in a rather special place. While his world is kind of like our world (you even get to meet some famous people like Vincent van Gogh and Caesar), life there is very different. In his reality, possibilities are endless and each of your decisions leads to the creation of another alternative reality. For example, in one reality, you buy chocolate ice cream; in the other you decide to go for a cheesecake. From that moment on, both versions of you continue to live their own separate lives. This means that there are countless ways history could have run its path. And it's not only the history of Earth's usual inhabitants: Zethus also has to deal with redcaps, fairies, gods, magical storms and other unusual beings. When Zethus takes on a job that promises an incredibly high payment, he puts off seeing his master Corvinus, who had called him to meet at his earliest convenience. If Zethus had only known what his new employer was up to, and how his delay influenced Corvinus's life... Soon Zethus finds himself on the run from one of the most feared characters known to humankind. And he also has to find out what he can do to save everything and everyone he holds dear. 

You don't get much of a break once you start reading CrossTown by Loren W Cooper. The first few pages put you in the middle of some sort of "exorcism" that Zethus performs. It is a good chapter that introduces the skills of the protagonist and some of the facts about the world he lives in. A warning in advance: this is not a book you can rush through. You need to take your time and focus on the story, otherwise the rather clever mix of genres might leave you a little confused. After all, on one page you deal with fairies and gods, and then there are suddenly little spider-like robots with the most modern technology all over the place. It all makes sense, but only if you don't daydream while reading! I actually enjoyed that you needed to pay attention and couldn't just halfheartedly read the pages. It was a story that not only entertained, but also tickled the brain a bit. The plot and the world of Zethus are both certainly mind-boggling at times, but in an enjoyable way. I didn't see the end coming, and was rather happy about being surprised as many authors are far too predictable. If you are after an unusual setting, a story that keeps you engaged on every page, and a main character that is hard to put into any classic category, then this book would be a good choice!

Amazon Review of CrossTown:

A must read from a genre creating author
By J. Gentry on Amazon on March 25, 2018

If you like fantasy/scifi then you need to read this book. I read all genres, but it takes a special approach for me to go for something in the fantasy space. Loren Cooper managed to not only hold my interest, but create a world and characters that I found totally unique and three dimensional. I may even have the genre not quite right, but this is a hard book to classify. Magic and science comingle in a way that I haven't read before. What makes the read even better is the style. Mr. Cooper knows how to craft words and make the reader imagine the depth and breath of the world he has created. How creative is it to have a magician who can indenture the powers of the entities he bests. It adds a nuance to the storytelling and he uses it well, but doesn't overuse it. There are a number of unique twists but it never seems contrived. Which is odd to say because the context of this book is a total fabrication. And so well done that you feel that you know this odd world as if you've been in it before.

Review Goodreads, Robert Hoffman

Wow. Crosstown is a Hero's Journey Romp through mythical and contemporary and futuristic locales that most everyone will recognize and most everyone will be happy to trapse through. Care for a ride with Charon over the River Styx, anyone? I suspect there is a gaming trope here that, if I were a gamer, I would've sailed right along with the more subtle aspects of the book. But here's the rub: Cooper is so adept at keeping his audience engaged, with or without knowing the gaming, mythic, or Hero's jouney tropes, it's just a fun read. Though it's not essential to know these things, it adds all the more pleasure when you do; likewise, it adds pleasure to run across these characters.

The true gem of the story is Zethas the Sorcerer's voice. He is witty, fun, flawed, sarcastic, self-effacing, confident, egotistical, thoughtful, honest, loyal, and a friend you want to root for. I laughed out-loud, and yes - it even got misty outside while reading some of the adventures. In other words, he is the most human sorcerer I've ever met.

Crosstown can be chewed up a chapter at a time (usually) in its eposodic nature, but I took it down in two or three gulps. I can see how one reader felt the first half dragged because the first chapter set the tone. For me, the first chapter was pure adventure (a difficult strategy) with only a hint at the Zethas humor to come. For me, the second chapter was all light and adventure and settling in. I rate it Five because it deserves it, but a chip to 4.9 for the first chapter would be understandable. 

This is a brilliant read from a clearly brilliant mind. I highly recommend the book. I haven't had this much fun reading in a long time. Great job.

Reviewed by Greg 1/19/2018

Wow! An amazing mix of detective story ala Harry Dresden, world walking ala Zelazny, and characters like Spider Robinson's CrossTime Saloon. A system of magic that is coherent and believable, a concept of alternate worlds and possibilities that matches current high level theoretical physics, and characters that you can believe in a hope to see more of in other works. And just when you think that you have it all figured out - that this is a magic using, world walking detective story, Cooper blows us away by revealing the true scope of depth of both the character, the book, and her imagination and insight. Truly a book that I did not put down once I began to get hints of where this was going. I want more!

Reviewed by Guenevere Lee 1/13/2018

Right from the first chapter I was into the story. It's always difficult to introduce the world to a new fantasy world, but Cooper does it very smoothly. You are immediately in the middle of a mystery (with Vincent Van Gogh hiring a sorcerer for a... magical pest-control). Rather than make the reader struggle to figure out what was going on, Cooper is very good at giving a little more information in every paragraph as Zethus (the sorcerer and first person narrator) enters a dark and foreboding house...

I found Cooper's descriptions to be very beautiful, but since I felt like the first chapter is meant to give off a sense of dread and fear, the atmosphere felt a little muddled. Still, you have to recognize that there is a lot of talent going into this novel. As well as the general descriptions, the action/magic scenes were all very compellingly written. It was very easy to be drawn into this story.

I don't know if we need another over-confident, sarcastic protagonist set in modern-day fantasy (I think we can all agree the trope is a little played out), but the world and laws of magic (and the amazing Van Gogh cameo) certainly do add a lot of originality. I'm very curious about where this story is going...

Reviewed by Margena Holmes 1/6/2018

CrossTown is a story about a flawed sorcerer trying to find out who killed his master, Corvinus. The character of Zethus is well-developed, and the story itself is interesting. With Faeries, Vampires, and Snakes (oh my!) there is a bit of everything in this story. It isn’t a fast read; it seems you must think about the worlds and what is going on within that world. If you like complex stories, this is the book for you.

I had a hard time getting into the book. It was confusing in the beginning, but got better as the story went on. There are a lot of things to keep track of in the story, so if you get interrupted often, as I did, it’s hard to get back into the story. Lots of description, sometimes to the point of losing what was happening in the story. It is more of a science fantasy than a straight science fiction.

AuthorsDen Review:

Reviewed by L.L. Baker 12/7/2017
Sometimes, a reader comes across a book that does not so much take them from their troubles for a brief time but invites them in to shelter by the fire of its words. The story requires savoring as it cannot be appreciated fully by flying through the text. CrossTown by Loren W. Cooper is a story meant to savor. It borrows from many of the elements held dear by readers of speculative fiction from the myths of faerie, sorcery, nanotechnology, and more on the cross-currents of science and fantasy that combine into the story of a man forced on to the path of redemption by opposing forces. 

Zethus, a self-described “spiritual thug for hire,” is a sorcerer who must find the truth of who worked to harm his master and why they sought to harm him in the first place. The setting is a fascinating backdrop of faeries, vampires, ghost, spirits, the technologically enhanced and the things that go bump in both darkness and light. 

Personally, stories that can take old themes or myths and reframe them in an inspired way to tell their tale will always find a receptive audience in this reader. The author does an excellent job weaving the old with the new to tell an inspired, original story. If this sounds like the kind of story that would call to you as a reader, I highly recommend you seek it out. One can only hope there will be future volumes that tell of Zethus’ later adventures. 

Target Reader Review:

If you are looking for an excellent, smart, thought provoking, well written book... look no further. This is an amazing read. As an avid urban fantasy fan, CrossTown is at the top. Even if you aren’t into fantasy, this is worth picking up. Mr. Cooper’s novel touches on philosophy, science, mystery with a dry sense of humor thrown into the mix. It’s hard to put down and hard to find anything to follow up on. It also invites conversations - so if you belong to a book club, this is a novel you will definitely want on your to read list. It is definitely a must read of the year.

Target Reader Review:

This is such a good book, and I urge you to check it out! CrossTown catches you right at the beginning, holding you within it's grasp all the way to the very last word, leaving you wanting to read more. Cooper has a unique writing style, creating a tale of urban fantasy mixed with science fiction, action and adventure. It is a thought provoking story with humor throughout. The characters are well formulated, lending you the feeling that you know them, allowing you to sink into each personality. The story itself twists and turns, keeping you guessing, and surprising the reader with the final outcome. I couldn't out the book down. I'm a hard core reader, and enjoy books in the fantasy/urban fantasy, mystery genres. If you are a fan of writers like Richard Kadrey, Jim Butcher, Simon Green, etc. you will definitely want to pick this book up and read it. It'll leave you begging for more. I'm looking forward to seeing what else Cooper will produce in the future.

Reviewed by Pam LaCroix (Authors Den Reader Review)

CrossTown itself isn’t just the setting of this action-packed novel. It’s almost a character that grows, warps and folds on itself physically and temporally. One of the neighborhoods is described as designed by “the architect Escher.” I couldn’t stop mental images of hands drawing themselves and stairways appearing to ascend and descend at the same time. With its diverse population of sinister, mythical characters it seems a universe that parallels Wyoming’s Hole-in-the Wall of the late 1800’s. 

Zethus, the primary character, is a powerful sorcerer whose ruthless morality continues to surprise. As he travels through this fictional world he encounters beings even more threatening and dangerous than his CrossTown neighbors. He navigates the physical and temporal pitfalls of his quest with equal parts cunning and thoughtlessness. How he evolves as he delves deeper and deeper into the mystery is every bit as important as the solution to the mystery. 

Cooper proves himself a capable manipulator of possibility, probability and reality. The story is fast-moving, exciting and thought-provoking. I happily recommend CrossTown to all lovers of time travel, fantasy, science fiction and alternate reality.

A sorcerer explores the frontier of theoretical physics. 

Calling himself a “spiritual thug for hire,” Zethus has the decidedly science-fictional ability to travel through alternate realities. Thanks to the mind-bending physics theory—made real in Cooper’s novel—that every decision we make creates a new universe, Zethus is able to conduct an investigation into his mentor’s murder that leads him from the Irish folkloric land of Faerie to the horror-novel NightTown, which is populated by vampires, to the science fictional TechTown, suffused with futuristic technology.
Publisher’s Weekly, article “Genre Mashups: Science Fiction and Fantasy"

“…A story of murder and revenge set in a world where anything is possible. Zethus is a sorcerer for hire in CrossTown, a place where the world's infinite possibilities are all available to those who know how to walk the branching Roads to alternate realities. With the help of his Legion of captured spirits, he takes on jobs like banishing troublesome ghosts for pay. But he should have known that a job that offered one golden hour just for meeting with a mysterious messenger was too good to be true. The job tangles him up with the world of Faerie, setting a remorseless hunter on his trail… Sorting out this whole tangle of plots and double-crosses, not to mention saving his own skin, will take Zethus on a journey through the darkest and wildest Ways in CrossTown—and require him to confront some uncomfortable truths about himself…”

Kirkus Reviews, CrossTown Advance Review

"...CrossTown is full of thrilling action, of hidden agendas, of narrow escapes. It is, in short, a lot of fun. But it's also a new version of one of the stories we need to tell ourselves again and again: The hero, wearing one of his thousand faces, seeks the elixir, in one of its thousand forms, and ends up being surprised, elevated, bereft, and consoled. And we, as readers, take that same journey through heights and depths to arrive at contemplation. This is a novel that offers its own answer to the question of what we are to do with the gift, the privilege, of our human birth..."

-Bruce Holland Rogers, from the Introduction to CrossTown


CrossTown is a fascinating mix of mystery, science fiction and mythology/folklore/magic. Loren Cooper let us travel with the flawed sorcerer Zethus as he searches for answers through layers of realities, all connected by a range of multi-level roads crossing within, above, and below the town of the title.   At one point, we encounter the powerful and frightening Fae of Irish tradition; at another, a community of vampires and other creatures of the night; at still another, a future world of high-tech weaponry--and more. The result is a wonderfully woven whole thanks to the story-telling, the pace, and the character of Zethus himself. Here's hoping for more adventures in this fantastic and believable world.

--Wayne Ude, award-winning author of Maybe I will Do Something: Seven Tales of Coyote, Becoming Coyote, and Buffalo and Other Stories.

"In Crosstown, fantasy and folklore wake up in the bed of science fiction... and it works!"

--Bruce Holland Rogers, World Fantasy, Nebula, and Pushcart award winner.

Praise for Other Books

“…THE LIVES OF GHOSTS AND OTHER SHADES OF MEMORY offers sweeping philosophical questions of history and human culture. Comprised of eleven short stories, each is riveting in its intensity, fascinating in its depth, mesmerizing in its narration. Very highly recommended…”

-Wordweaving Review

“…I enjoyed not being able to guess the ending - to be caught up in the rapids of fast moving plot. Story and philosophy in a unique and dark package…”

-Amazon Customer Review, A Slow and Silent Stream

“…In my opinion, this novel is the author's best work to date. Every time I believed I knew everything thoroughly, a twist would be placed in front of me and I would be forced to see it all in a totally new light. There is not a "main character" in this story. The people who are the biggest characters are listed in this synopsis. However, the story is told by following Matthias for awhile, then Hyrn, etc. Well done! I look forward to Cooper's next release…”

-Huntress Reviews, A Separate Power 

Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite (A Separate Power)

In A Separate Power by Loren W Cooper, humans are not the only ones who inhabit the planet. There are the so-called 'bodiless' (basically spirits/entities that can possess a human), and as you might guess, humankind's relationship to them is not the best. Some human lands are protected from the bodiless by barriers, and it is these lands that prosper. In these lands, people feel safe. Matthias lives in one of those lands, the Riverlands. While he has seen the chaos that can be wrought by the bodiless, the war is behind him. Now an artist, he is not very interested in conflicts. It all changes when Hyrn tries to convince Matthias to help him to create a magical force that can assist with keeping humanity safe. Hyrn is sure a terrible war that will destroy everything is about to erupt, and only black fires can be used as an effective weapon against the bodiless. Matthias is a wielder of black fire. But will he give up his personal peace to fight for the peace of mankind?

I am usually not a fan of books that don't have an obvious, single main character. It's just my personal preference, because it doesn't often work out well if an author does not focus on one hero's development. Fortunately, Loren W Cooper seems to know what he's doing. The characters, the way the plot moves forward, and how things eventually interweave make sense. There were some surprises along the way, so don't ever be sure that you have figured out where the plot will lead you in the end! It took me a while to get to the end of the book because I only wanted to read it when I could pay full attention to the story. I knew from reading the author's previous book that his books deserve a reader's full attention, so I wanted to give this one what it deserved, too. For a few days, I spent time with the characters in the novel and did not regret a minute of it. It's a well balanced plot with some characters you'll enjoy, and some maybe not so much - but that's another question of personal taste. It would be boring if we all liked the same protagonists. If you enjoy fantasy that goes beyond the usual elves and dwarves stories, this might just be the novel you are looking for! It is also a story about the choices someone makes in their life, about personal freedom, personal safety, and about risking it all for the greater good. It's not just a story of black and white, pure good and pure evil, but also shows the shades in between.