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Bernard Cockburn

Wrong Bernard Cockburn?

Beat Reporter

Omaha Weekly News-Telegraph
 
Background

Employment History

  • A-Week Beat Reporter
    Omaha
  • Head
    Cockburn
  • Beat Reporter
6 Total References
Web References
The Book | jonathansegura.com
www.jonathansegura.com [cached]
Bernard Cockburn is a beat reporter for the Omaha Weekly News-Telegraph. His boss has him chasing dead-end stories on real estate and county funding irregularities when he'd rather be working on that handful of neglected exposés in his bottom desk drawer - or self-medicating in the apartment he shares with an on-again, off-again girlfriend.
Then Cockburn finds himself at a bloody crime scene in downtown Omaha and uncovers a lead in what soon becomes the only story worth pursuing, one that just might pull him down and keep him there for good. From street level to small-town bureaucracy, and even the staff at the paper, a vigilante league is intent on cleaning up the ghetto for profit, even if it means killing a few people to get it done - an elaborate conspiracy too unbelievable for newsprint.
Like the detectives of all great noir, Cockburn's got a past that threatens to invade his present at any moment. Work has become a diversion from his personal life; but almost no one knew about his connection to the death of his best friend's little sister, and now he's begun receiving disconcerting blackmail threats.
June Paperback Mystery for 2008
www.newmysteryreader.com, 1 Jan 2008 [cached]
A $300 a-week beat reporter for Omaha's sketchy Weekly News-Telegraph, 'Occupational Hazard's' Bernard Cockburn is one of the more perversely satisfying anti-heroes of this or any other year.
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The improbably titled 'Chief of News and Marketing', Hertz proves himself worthy of the second half of his title and assigns Cockburn yet another thinly-disguised 'Advertorial'.
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Cockburn (pronounced Co-burn, a point Cockburn has to make repeatedly), has other fish to fry. Nevermind a drawer already full of unfinished exposés, Cockburn's instincts tell him a Downtown land deal has the lineaments of skullduggery. It seems a group of citizens bent on 'cleaning up' areas slated for redevelopment are not only vigilantes, but puppet-vigilantes at that. So, who pulls the strings?
Cockburn's investigation is soon awash in a sea of complications- it appears that a major advertiser of the News-Telegraph is somehow linked to the mounting body count. Bernard Cockburn will cause many readers to wonder aloud whether he's a bigger bastard or loser, but there's a quixotic element to Cockburn that should nonetheless keep the reader's sympathy solidly with him. Cockburn himself lives in one of the slums to be 'gentrified' by the very redevelopment deal he's investigating. As Cockburn sardonically sketches his world, we see that his bitter contempt extends to himself. Perhaps the only people Cockburn despises more than himself are power players. The only real distinction Cockburn sees between the street whores and bureaucrats he meets is point-of-purchase.
...
Segura endows Cockburn with an often howlingly hilarious, but always keen observational style.
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You may well find yourself vacillating between laughing your ass off and nodding your head at one of Cockburn's more profound observations. Cockburn, commenting on the desire of people to see their name in print says-
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Destiny has earmarked Cockburn for virtual non-existence, which Cockburn believes is revealed metaphorically by the City in which he lives and works. It seems Cockburn can't get through the day without being street-mugged by some new evidence of his own staggering insignificance. Between liberal applications of drugs and alcohol, Cockburn peels the layers of the Downtown redevelopment onion. Amidst Cockburn's bouts of flatulence and mild erectile dysfunction, Allison announces that she's pregnant. Cockburn's immediate reaction is to accuse Allison of a deliberate pregnancy. Ha. Everyone- including Cockburn in his more lucid moments- knows that Allison is more than Cockburn deserves.
Author Jonathan Segura has created in Bernard Cockburn a deeply complex character full of sneaky profundities and illuminating dichotomies.
...
On the surface, Cockburn is engagingly reprehensible and estranged from the ethics of his profession. But the waters of 'Occupational Hazards' run much deeper. Not only does the outwardly deeply cynical Cockburn care greatly about the world he inhabits, he's willing to do much more than he'd ever admit to change it. When a deep, dark secret from Cockburn's past surfaces, and threatens Game Over, we come to know that Cockburn's not quite the punching bag he makes himself out to be.
Archived Newsletter Content
www.unclehugo.com, 1 June 2008 [cached]
Occupational Hazards (Beat reporter Bernard Cockburn finds himself on a bloody crime scene in Omaha, and finds a lead that reveals a vigilante league intent on cleaning up the ghetto for profit)
Mostly Fiction Book Reviews
mostlyfiction.com [cached]
Bernard Cockburn is a beat reporter for the Omaha Weekly News-Telegraph. His boss has him chasing dead-end stories when he'd rather be working on that handful of neglected exposés in his bottom desk drawer -- or self-medicating in the apartment he shares with an on-again, off-again girlfriend. Then Cockburn finds himself at a bloody crime scene in downtown Omaha and uncovers a lead in what soon becomes the only story worth pursuing. And like the detectives of all great noir, Cockburn's got a past that threatens to invade his present at any moment.
Reviews | jonathansegura.com
www.jonathansegura.com [cached]
Bernard Cockburn, a beat reporter in his early 30s for the Omaha Weekly News-Telegraph, pounds the fearsome streets of Omaha, Neb., in Segura's crisp, raunchily amusing debut.... Cockburn is the sort of dysfunctional dude-immature, posturing, hapless-that will keep readers intrigued and should appeal especially to fans of Chuck Palahniuk and Arthur Nersesian.
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It's a wickedly fun book, partly because spending time with Cockburn makes you appreciate that you are not him... [F]ans of hard-boiled noir will have some fun on the mean streets of Omaha. This talented young author writes like he owns them.
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This is a bold, uncompromising first novel that succeeds so well because Cockburn is a morally complex character whose principles-largely absent though they may be-trump the morality of the upstanding citizenry of Omaha.
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