This critically acclaimed, explosive thriller is a book only prosecutor Linda Fairstein could write. Patricia Cornwall knows the morgue; John Grisham knows the courtroom; but no one knows the inner workings of the D.A.'s office like Linda Fairstein, renowned for two decades as head of Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit. Now that world comes vividly to life in a brilliant debut novel of shocking realism, powerful insight, and searing suspense.
Alexandra Cooper, Manhattan's top sex crimes prosecutor, awakens one morning to shocking news: a tabloid headline announcing her own brutal murder. But the actual victim was Isabella Lascar, the Hollywood film star who sought refuge at Alex's Martha's Vineyard retreat. Was Isabella targeted by a stalker or -- mistaken for Alex -- was she in the wrong place at the wrong time? In an investigation that twists from the back alleys of lower Manhattan to the chic salons of the Upper East Side. Alex knows she's in final jeopardy...and time is running out. She has to get into the killer's head before the killer gets to her.
The crusading longtime chief of Manhattan's Sex Crimes Prosecutions Unit brings to her exciting first novel the same passion and insights into the criminal and crime-busting minds that marked her memoir, Sexual Violence (1994). Fairstein also brings herself to the novel-or at least an alter ego of a narrator, Alexandra Cooper, who's also a middle-aged blonde heading the borough's prosecution of sex offenders. Cooper's typical day of counseling victims and working with the NYPD on sex crimes would probably keep readers fascinated, but her latest problem-the shooting murder of glamorous movie star Isabella Lascar at Cooper's getaway home on Martha's Vineyard-pitches the plot at high intensity right away. Though Cooper is warned by the DA not to play cop, she and homicide detective Mike Chapman, who's assigned to bodyguard her, work together unofficially to solve the crime, carrying on a sort of anti-romance all the while. Fairstein isn't a gifted stylist-her dialogue is as wooden as a judge's gavel-and the details of Cooper's professional and personal lives drive the story forward with more vigor than the murder investigation does. Some readers will be disappointed, too, that Cooper, like any victim, has to be rescued in the end by her fiercely protective and ingenious friends on the NYPD. But then this heroine's greatest appeal lies in the warmth of her friendships, the humanness of her mistakes and her unswerving devotion to protecting the next female from harm. As a woman with grave responsibilities who still puts her pantyhose on one leg at a time, she makes a memorable debut. Literary Guild and Mystery Guild main selections; Doubleday Book Club alternate; author tour.
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