The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic & Psychiatry by Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A therapist finds herself drawn into a world of the strange and bizarre as a mystery client walks into her office with stories of the supernatural in authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic & Psychiatry”.


The Synopsis 

Zach Cutter claims he’s not really an antiques dealer as such, but that he’s really a supernatural investigator.

–Zach claims he’s got repressed memories, missing at least a year of his life, probably more.

–Zach claims he can do magic. Not stage magician magic– REAL magic.

–Zach claims he’s got FEELINGS for his new psychiatrist, Dr. Cynthia Mann.

–Zach claims a LOT of problematic things.

But they’re ALL TRUE.

After a disturbing case in New York made Dr. Cynthia Mann wonder if the supernatural might actually be real, she’s started her life and her practice all over again in Cleveland, where she meets a new patient, stranger than any she’s ever met before—and far more charming than anyone she’s ever met, too. 

During the progress Zach makes as Cynthia’s patient, he tells her stories about his past, and their relationship slowly edges from a doctor-patient one to a friendship—and Zach clearly wouldn’t mind if it became more. 

Together, Cynthia and Zach will eventually have to find a way for him to get out of the trouble he stumbled into long ago…

The Review

This was such an engaging and exhilarating paranormal read. The authors did such a great job of world-building and infusing humor and wit into the dialogue between the characters. The vivid imagery that was used in the author’s writing was perfect to help build a visual in my mind of these stories that Zach begins to relay to Cynthia. I could easily picture that first story in particular, with Zach helping a ghost locate the map to some lost loot that he had left with his partner in crime years earlier. The more intimate approach that the authors took to this style of storytelling will draw readers in immediately.

One thing of note that all readers should know is that some of the characters and stories involve instances of self-harm, suicide, and more, so reader discretion is advised. With that in mind, the emotional and psychological nature of the narrative and the way the author balanced this out with the witty dialogue between the two main protagonists was so great to see, as it added a grounded and depth of humanity to the story that featured so many supernatural and mythological stories of magick and creatures abound.

The Verdict

Captivating, heartfelt, and entertaining, authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic and Psychiatry” is a must-read paranormal thriller of 2022! The imagery and atmospheric build-up of these supernatural cases from Zach and the growing relationship between him and Cynthia will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to go and follow the author’s socials and website for updates to their publishing schedule, as the preorder link should go live next month. 

Rating: 10/10


About the Authors

Barb is originally from Minnesota. She was a radio DJ for a while in college, and then she grew up to become a guitarist/singer-songwriter and got an album put out on the Imp label. However, she also had health issues: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia and extreme environmental sensitivities and allergies. (She also has Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to issues involving her family of origin.)

For a while, brain fog from the CFS and the fibro made it harder for her to read long and involved works of fiction… So (since she’d always loved them in her childhood) she got into reading comics and graphic novels, particularly the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics.

Now we pop over to Park, in central Texas. Like Barb, Park also read comics (and a LOT of books) in his youth as well (a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books than Barb, and a lot more Marvel comics than Barb). Then he started college and said “I need an extra hobby or something. Maybe I’ll get back into comics again.” He started doing so, including reading the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics…

Then someone in the letter columns of the comic Sandman announced that they were doing a fanzine for readers of that comic. Barb and Park both wrote in.

Barb and Park became aware of one another… Park liked the writing Barb submitted to the fanzine, and he wrote to Barb, and they began writing to each other. Then they started talking on the phone… they fell in love… they started visiting one another…

Reader, they got married (to each other).

Barb wrote for the award-winning website Sequential Tart, made by women about comics and other popular culture things, and Barb wrote a lot of reviews and articles (especially articles)

Park and Barb had a column online for a now-defunct website entitled The Park and Barb show (about the same sorts of things) for 12 years…

A little after they started those things, Barb started writing her comic Gun Street Girl…

A little after that, they started adapting and editing manga for major American publishers importing manga (and sometimes their South Korean and Chinese counterparts) from the far side of the Pacific. Honestly, there were too many to keep track of… lots and lots of titles. Near the end of this, Barb and Park wrote the manga pitch The Hidden for TokyoPop, perfectly timed to appear the week that that company fell apart.

Then Barb and Park wrote the sci-fi vampire graphic novel Half Dead.

Somewhere around this time, Park successfully completed his Ph.D. in literature, and then Barb and Park wrote the vampire prose novel Something More Than Blood.

Eventually Park started writing his cyberpunk comic Swipe for Angry Viking Press.

(You can read more about all of the above projects elsewhere on this website!)

There were also other various short stories (and a novel, in one case) and non-manga-related editing jobs, too many to bother counting here…

These days, Barb and Park live happily together in Austin, Texas.


1 thought on “The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic & Psychiatry by Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper Review

  1. Pingback: Song of the Siren by Park Cooper and Barbara Lien-Cooper Review | Author Anthony Avina's Blog

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