Interview with Geoffrey M. Cooper, Author of The Fifth Student

24 Aug 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Fifth Student (Brad Parker and Karen Richmond Medical Thrillers Book 6)?

The Fifth Student, like my other novels, is based on my prior professional life as an academic scientist, which included cancer research and teaching at Harvard Medical School and Boston University, as well as serving in the administrative positions of department chair and dean. Those years taught me a lot about the inner workings of academia, which has provided a host of material for writing medical and academic thrillers.

The inciting incident in The Fifth Student is a group of students cheating on an exam—something that happens all too frequently in real life. But the case rapidly evolves into a much more complex and deadly situation, including elements of the contemporary scandals plaguing college admissions. The cheating and admission scandals in The Fifth Student are anchored in my experience. The transition to a murder mystery—not so much. At least as far as I know.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I most enjoy reading mysteries and thrillers, especially the same genre that I write—medical and academic thrillers.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Right now, I have books from two of my favorite authors waiting. Under Review by Sid Stark (an academic thriller) and Mainely Wicked by Matt Cost (a mystery set in Maine).

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

I especially enjoyed writing the climax chapter in which Brad and his student are rescued by the Maine State Police and Marine Patrol. Lots of action, which was fun to put together.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

If there’s a takeaway from The Fifth Student, it’s simply that academic ambition can be a dangerous thing!


Geoffrey M. Cooper is the author of the new book The Fifth Student (Brad Parker and Karen Richmond Medical Thrillers Book 6)

Connect with Geoffrey M. Cooper

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