Caged, debut Thriller by Ellison Cooper

Cover for Ellison Cooper's CagedEvery year the International Thriller Writer's organization (ITW) organizes various a series of events to encourage authors who have had their first book published in the preceding twelve months. At Thrillerfest there is a dinner for the authors to meet and a Debut Author breakfast where Steve Berry introduces the authors and gives them each a minute to talk about their book. 

I was a Debut Author in 2015 with my historical novel, The Saffron Crocus, and I was inspired by ITWs support to give something back by creating the #ITWFearlessBloggers. Now, Thrillerfest XIII is just around the corner. #ITWFearlessBloggers has already blogged about one of this year's Debut Authors, Clarissa Goenawan. Now it is our pleasure to introduce you to Ellison Cooper, whose debut thriller, Caged, ramps up tension in ways that will please fans of Silence of the Lambs and feats of discovery and deduction like those loved by fans of Patricia Cornwell.

The hero is FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair, who is still reeling from the death of her fiance, but doesn't let that stop her from chasing down a serial killer while doing research on the brains of killers. The story turns on a scientific revelation which I won't reveal here, but as soon as I finished reading the book I did some research to see if it was true or if Ellison, an anthropologist with a background in cultural neuroscience, had made it up. I was shocked to discover that this bit of scientific know how was based in reality, which added a layer of dread and fear to my reading of the book.

The story also turns around myths in three different cultures that are remarkably similar: Egyptian, Ancient Greek, and Mayan (Cooper lived in tents and explored Mayan ruins for nine years). Campbell and Jung have taught us that mythic archetypes indicate an underlying commonality to the juman experience, a commonality that binds us together whether we like it or not. Cooper has used that to add a rich mythic layer to the serial killer genre. The books leaves us reflecting on how much our experience of death is determined by our understanding of death, all while keeping us turning the pages until we find out whodunnit and whydunnit.


  • “Dark and mesmerizing…channels equal parts KATHY REICHS and THOMAS HARRIS…You will read till the bitter end…then sleep with the lights on!” —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author
  • “CAGED is a pulse-pounding twisted thrill ride that will keep readers guessing – and plotting revenge – right up to its satisfying conclusion.” —Chelsea Cain, New York Times bestselling author
  • “I started and couldn’t stop.” —F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author
  • “Pathologically twisted…A good choice for fans of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs. ” —Library Journal



Ellison Cooper
Ellison Cooper


Ellison Cooper has a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA, with a background in archaeology, cultural neuroscience, ancient religion, colonialism, and human rights. She has conducted fieldwork in Central America, West Africa, Micronesia, and Western Europe. She has worked as a murder investigator in Washington DC, and is a certified K9 Search and Rescue Federal Disaster Worker. She now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son.





This blog is part of a tour organized by the International Thriller Writer's Association FEARLESS BLOGGER tour. The Fearless Bloggers were created by Alison McMahan to help new thriller writers who were members of ITW promote their work. Blogs are written about new thrillers by thriller writers. All work is done on a volunteer basis. Other blogs in this tour include: