Review of Sinnerman by Jonathan M. Cook



Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Category/Genre: Literary Fiction, Romance, Coming of Age
Tour Date: Mid-October/November, 2013
Available in: Print & ebook, 185 Pages

“Love makes sinners of us all.”

In the sleepy Midwestern town of Vespers…

In the sweltering summer heat…

Julian Sane, high school teacher and cad’s cad, is a man at war with himself. But a chance encounter with a former student will push him across professional boundaries and force him to confront his personal demons.

From the author of YOUTH AND OTHER FICTIONS comes a love story for those who live in the real world, where love does not conquer all and actions do have consequences.

Note: SINNERMAN has attracted some controversy in Jonathan M. Cook’s  hometown due to a number of similarities between events in the book and actual events in the community over the past several years. This book is a work of fiction!


*head desk* As most know, I read a variety of different books and some of them make it to the blog.  Yes, I read books that don’t have a lot of romance in them.  I actually read literary fiction, chick lit, mainstream suspense, thrillers and the occasional biography.  Sinnerman is one of those books that I normally would have skipped if not for this tour.  *head desk*  I really need to get out of romance comfort zone more.

Sinnerman is one of those books that once you start, you can’t put down.  Be warned though, its written in 1st person (I liked that about this book) and there is no true HEA/HFN.  Yes, there is a romance (bittersweet) but the great thing about literary fiction is that you can speculate about how you would want the book to end.  I have my ending in my mind and I’m sure Mr. Cook would just shake his head at me being the romantic and all.  😉

Julian and Lily are two of the most brilliantly written characters that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time.  Mr. Cook took his time setting up the romance between these two and while its sweet; its also sad on some levels.  Julian finally falls in love for the first time in his almost 30 years and its heartbreaking.

Lily is the heroine in the story but we only get our information about her from Julian.  In some ways, this is good because it leaves us with a sense of how a man loves a woman.  Its not superficial, its a punch to the gut and Mr. Cook writes Julian’s reaction to Lily honestly.

While I loved the book as a whole, it brought out emotions that I’m still reeling from.  Whose business is it in the real world to dictate who we can love?  Sinnerman brings up a more than social issue when it comes to the teacher/student love affair.  Keep in mind that there is NO ick factor in the book, just a story about how a former student and teacher fall in love and the fallout that follows.

I’m still thinking about this book long after I’ve read it.  Pissed off, sad and grateful that Mr. Cook wrote one of the best books of 2013 in Harlie’s opinion.  The last couple of pages made me cry and then pray.  I HATE busybodies and know it all’s.  People can’t help who they fall in love with and this book is one of the best out there that shows that.

recommend-harlies- new



About Jonathan M. Cook:

Jonathan M. Cook was born in 1982.  He studied Literature, Composition, and Creative Writing at Eastern Illinois University before moving to Robinson, IL, to become a high school English teacher and faculty advisor for the student newspaper.  He is currently at work on his third novel.
Jonathan M. Cook’s Website:


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6 thoughts on “Review of Sinnerman by Jonathan M. Cook

  1. The book becomes all the more real when you realize that Jonathan Cook ending up getting with one of his highschool students and proposing to her four years after she graduated. That former student that he proposed to is now on going to prison for child porn charges as she had over a thousand child porn images, many even including INFANTS and many videos of beastiality. This book is disgusting. I mean ask yourself, if your child had a teacher who writes books about falling in love with former students, would you be comfortable? I was in school as his student when this book came out, and everyone knows it’s a fantasy about a girl in our school that he had a weird crush/fixation on. With his student/fiancé going to prison for child porn charges and him now having to resign as a teacher, this book is disgusting.

    1. Jonathan,

      The book is brilliant. I hated the ending but it had to happen that way. Call me a romantic at heart. 🙂 I live in a town about the size of Vespers and trust me, board members have nothing better to do than gossip and get into everyone’s business. Idiots! Don’t they have lives?

      Again, loved, loved this book and its one of my Best of 2013. I can’t wait to see what you have next for me to read.


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