LEAPING AT THORNS arranges 15 of L. Andrew Cooper's unpublished, experimental short horror stories into a "triptych" of themes--complicity, entrapment, and conspiracy--elements that run throughout the collection.
The stories span from the emotionally-centered and violence-mild "Last Move," about a mother and son whose cross-country move might be complicated by a haunted U-Move truck, to the almost unthinkably horrific "Charlie Mirren and His Mother," also about a mother and son, but their lives take a turn that might be traumatic for readers as well. While "Worm Would" offers a psychosexual fantasia on the sheer grossness that is a flatworm, "Tapestry" uses absurd, sometimes comic violence to take Jessica, the young professional protagonist, into a political nightmare. The absurd reaches dark extremes in "Lachrymosa," a story of almost pure hallucination, and stretches back toward the comic in the brain-and-tongue-twister "Heart on a Stick." The "conspiracy" panel of the triptych, from "The Fate of Doctor Fincher" to "The Special One," is a series of standalone stories that each adds important details to the fictional world and grand scheme of Dr. Allen Fincher, who also lurks in the background of Cooper's novels BURNING THE MIDDLE GROUND and DESCENDING LINES.