Cook, Bruce 1932-2003 (Bruce Alexander)
COOK, Bruce 1932-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born April 7, 1932, in Chicago, IL; died of a stroke, November 9, 2003, in Los Angeles, CA. Journalist and author. Cook is best remembered for his two series of mystery novels: one featuring an Hispanic-American detective in Los Angeles, and another that turns the real historical character Sir John Fielding into an eighteenth-century London sleuth. A graduate of Loyola University, where he earned a B.S. in 1955, Cook served with the U.S. Army in Frankfurt, Germany, during the late 1950s before beginning his career as an editor and in public relations. After working as a freelance writer for two years, he joined the National Observer staff in 1967 as a book review editor and movie critic. Later jobs included posts at the Detroit News, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Daily News. As an author, Cook actually began as a nonfiction writer of such works as The Beat Generation (1971) and the biographies Dalton Trumbo (1977) and Brecht in Exile (1983). His first foray into fiction was the mainstream novel Sex Life (1978). Cook invented his Los Angeles detective Chico Cervantes after noticing that nobody had written a mystery novel featuring an Hispanic detective. The character proved popular, and Cervantes appeared in four novels, including Mexican Standoff (1988) and The Sidewalk Hilton (1994). Although these novels sold well, Cook received more critical acclaim for his historical mysteries featuring Sir John Fielding, a blind British magistrate based on the actual brother of author Henry Fielding. The Fielding mysteries—ten in all—were written under the pen name Bruce Alexander and include Blind Justice (1994), Person or Persons Unknown (1997), Smuggler's Moon (2001), Experiment in Treason (2002), and The Price of Murder (2003). Just before his death, Cook had completed a new book tentatively called Qualms of Conscience: The Confessions of William Shakespeare, which is scheduled to be published by St. Martin's Press.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2003, p. B11.
New York Times, November 16, 2003, p. A29.
Washington Post, November 15, 2003, p. B6.