From New York Times bestselling author and former top prosecutor Linda Fairstein comes an electrifying thriller rich with the riveting behind-the-scenes authenticity that only she can offer.
It’s going to be a tough trial. Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper’s case, involving an attack on investment banker Paige Vallis, would be difficult to prove even without the latest development—it seems that Paige has something to hide.
Most of her story is clear. She’d had dinner with New York consultant Andrew Tripping three times before the March evening when she accepted his invitation to accompany him to his apartment. But what occurred that night? Why didn’t she leave the apartment when he started to act strangely? What about Tripping’s little boy, Dulles? What happened to the child that fateful evening? And who is the strange man whose appearance in the courtroom seems to terrify Paige?
While Alex’s police detective friend Mercer Wallace helps her learn more of the sad details behind the increasingly puzzling rape case, colleague Mike Chapman is uptown in a decaying Harlem brownstone where eighty-two-year-old McQueen Ransome has been murdered, her apartment ransacked.
What could this impoverished, elderly woman have possessed that could have inspired such violence? Photographs on the wall suggest that “Queenie” was once a beautiful and voluptuous young woman who traveled to faraway places. Could there be a clue to her murder in her exotic background?
Her murder will be only the first. Others follow, as the tragic strands of the Paige Vallis and McQueen Ransome cases begin to converge in a poignant alliance of two women from very different worlds.
Faced with formidable personal and professional choices, Alex must learn the old lesson that appearances can deceive, even as she heads for a showdown in which her wits and her courage will be tested as never before.
A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.THE KILLSLinda Fairstein. Scribner, $25 (400p) The title of the newest installment in Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper crime series (The Bone Vault; The Deadhouse; Final Jeopardy) refers not only to the several bodies that turn up in the course of the novel but to the creeks and channels that crisscross the watery periphery of Lower Manhattan. From her downtown office and with the aid of NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace the doughty assistant DA tackles a complicated case, the rape of 36-year-old Paige Vallis. Psychotic Andrew Tripping is accused of the rape as well as of the physical and mental abuse of his own 10-year-old son, Dulles. While trying to convince a jury of Tripping's guilt, Alex is handed another kill, this one the suffocation of elderly Harlem Renaissance dancer McQueen Ransome. Queenie turns out to have a fascinating history, having been both an espionage agent in WWII and the mistress of the legendary Night Crawler, King Farouk of Egypt. On her way out of the palace door, Queenie pocketed enough of the king's treasure to set her up for life, which finally gets her killed. There are complications in the form of CIA agents, crooked lawyers, smalltime hoods and a surrounding cast of friends, lovers and enemies, all adding texture and realism to the story. Alex survives several attempts on her life and sleuths her way to a solution of both murders while untangling the knotted history that connects them. Fairstein's style and skills have matured over the years, making this a consistently dependable series with a likable and intelligent heroine. Forecast: The author's last several outings have been bestsellers and there's no indication that this one won't join them. Look for her on an extensive 11-city author tour including an appearance on the Today Show.