OSGOOD AS GONE is the fourth novel by Cooper S. Beckett. Beckett’s previous fiction novels include A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching the Swingularity, both of which focus on the benefits of polyamory and healthy sexual exploration. OSGOOD AS GONE does not dwell as heavily on the topic of sexuality but instead takes the reader on a spine-tingling paranormal adventure.
OSGOOD AS GONE follows Prudence Osgood, a queer alcoholic podcaster. She frequently gets blackout drunk and sleeps with men and women she meets at her local watering hole. Her closest friend is her de facto assistant Zack, a tech-savvy dork who Osgood describes as “essential” in her life. As the descendent of crafty grifters called the Psychic Osgoods, Prudence has always felt a special pull towards the supernatural.
One day after a tryst with a college student named Nora, Osgood receives a cryptic email containing the mysterious words, “mazarowskis idea. rest stop plees. drumbeats .find the hinterlands.” She enlists Zack to help her decode the message’s origin, but finding the sender proves nearly impossible.
Osgood is the creator of a podcast that explores paranormal events and attempts to explain the unexplainable. She asks her listeners to help her discover more about the strange message and soon receives enough help to point her and Zack in the right direction. This starts them on a journey into Prudence Osgood’s traumatic past and the abominations that lurk in the darkest corners of grimy truckstops.
Osgood is a complex, not-always-likeable character. She’s a rough-around-the-edges addict who often treats those around her like shit (this is admittedly a big cliché, but Osgood never feels stereotypical.) She can be insulting and self-involved to the point where it makes you wonder why other characters bother with her at all. But despite this, the universe Osgood and her friends live in feels vivid and exciting.
OSGOOD AS GONE is a fun read. As a queer mystery lover who also used to have purple hair like Prudence Osgood, this book appealed to me immensely. This will also appeal to those who love page-turner horror, intelligent mysteries, and queer fiction. At 350 pages, OSGOOD AS GONE is quite lengthy, but it never drags, instead pulling the reader deeper into the web of horror that the novel slowly weaves.