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212: A Novel (Ellie Hatcher) [Hardcover]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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4.0 out of 5 stars How did I miss this series?! June 21 2011
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I've just turned the last page of 212 by Alafair Burke and am sitting here wondering how I've missed adding this author to my list of must read authors.

212 features recurring lead character Ellie Hatcher, an NYPD Detective. In 212 Ellie and her partner Rogan catch a homicide in a penthouse belonging to one of the city's wealthiest men. Although he claims no knowledge of how and why his bodyguard was using the suite, he seems to be trying to control the direction of Ellie's investigation. As does the judge involved....

Rogan and Ellie catch a second murder case. A young college student had previously complained to the police about anonymous online threats directed at her. Those threats escalated - to murder. As they dive into their latest case, the detectives discover a link between the two murders. One that someone doesn't want found...

Ellie is a great protagonist. She smart, tough, dogged and determined. The partnership between her and Rogan works - they're quite opposite personalities. I enjoyed the secondary story lines featuring her brother Jess (a dark horse I'm sure we'll hear more about) and Ellie's love life. The dialogue flows easily and the cases are realistic and not cut and dried. It was only on reading the author notes at the back, that I discovered the ideas for this book did indeed spring from newspaper headlines. That note of reality also springs from Burke's background. She herself is a former prosecutor and now teaches criminal law.

212 was a really good read and a series I will now be following. ( But I had no problem reading 212 as a stand alone.) I'll also be checking out the other series Burke pens featuring Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sex and the City May 22 2010
By Ted Feit TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
There's a rumor going around that an ex- New York Governor, who resigned amid a sex scandal, is being considered for an hour-long CNN program. The wags are pointing out that it would be a switch: This time he would be paid by the hour instead of forking over money to a working girl for services. Then, of course, there were a former President and a certain southern Governor also involved in sex scandals.

Of course there is nothing new about the sex trade; just look back to the Bible and Mary Magdalene or David and Bathsheba. But the topic is timely. Just consider the murder of a Boston woman who advertised her "services" on Craig's list about the time the manuscript for the present novel was submitted. Such a topic plays an important role in helping Ellie Hatcher and her partner, J.J. Rogan, to solve at least three murders in this well-written police procedural.

The novel moves forward, with either one or the other of the two detectives uncovering possible facts or motives in a confusing array of clues, each raising different theories until the pieces finally fall into place. The author utilizes her deep knowledge of the legal system, pitting it against a contemporary issue, to create an absorbing story line, replete with all the necessary twists to keep the reader turning pages. With characterizations to match.

Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 212 Is A Perfect 10 March 30 2010
By J. Forbus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ellie Hatcher is back with a vengeance. A vengeance that lands her butt squarely in jail. Smart, independent Ellie Hatcher proves to the world everyday that she's far more than a pretty face. She can "bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan." She juggles her job, her older brother Jess, Assistant District Attorney Max Donovan, even her mother back in Wichita. And while she may not be as hip as her brother would like, she still manages to do it all with panache.

Burke's work is the epitome of art imitating life. Her plot lines are "ripped from the headlines;" the characters and dialogue are infused with pop culture; and she brings to life the New York City she so loves. 212 has no shortage of Burke's signature wit, which often comes out in her crisp, commanding dialogue. Ellie's exchanges with both her brother Jess and her partner J.J. could walk off the pages they are so believable. Burke's strengths are numerous, but her dialogue is quite possibly my favorite. Conversation is clear, it's sharp, it's witty. When a reader believes the dialogue, he/she believes the characters delivering it. For my money, no one does this better than Alafair Burke.

The complexity of 212's plot is carefully balanced. Burke peals back layer after layer, creating numerous unexpected twists throughout the book. But the twists never go over the top, nor do they become too numerous for belief. Instead the keep the reader gripped to the pages. I tried to slowly savor this book, but the plot simply wouldn't let me.

In addition, the plot of 212, like each of Burke's previous novels, reflects current events. But more than that, it examines some hefty "why" questions that are floating around these current events as well. And whenever Burke addresses a "why" question in her writing, she illustrates that the answer to that question is never a basic one, like so many people want to make it out to be. Afterall, it's humanity she's addressing, and humanity is certainly never basic. In 212, Burke takes a 348 page back swing allowing her to masterfully stroke her theme straight down the fairway and sink a hole-in-one on the final page. It's a monumental ending, one that won't quickly leave your thoughts.

I waited over a year for Ellie Hatcher to return to action, and 212 was worth every minute of that wait.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 Stars . . . Her Best Yet May 8 2010
By Eric Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Alafair Burke gains greater depth with each novel. In this third Ellie Hatcher story, we find the erstwhile NYPD detective from Witchita involved in a complicated murder case that leads her and her partner J.J. Rogan into the intricacies of escort services and the high-profile clients those services often entangle.

Borrowing from recent headlines without ever copying them--or, for that matter, telegraphing her intentions to the reader--Burke gives us a fast-paced mystery. Ellie and Rogan think they are nearing the truth about one particular murder at 212 Lafayette in the 212 area code of Manhattan, when things get murkier from another murder, this time of an NYU college girl. More will die before the plot twists to its final knot, and Burke does a fine job of going deeper into Ellie's character and her relationships with her brother, partner, and lover. She also creates a plausible scenario that is not all that it seems. There are a few pages near the end where antagonists conveniently spout off all the info Ellie needs to tie things together, but this is a longtime characteristic of mystery novels.

Yes, this is more mystery than thriller (ala Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay), but the use of multiple viewpoints helps ratchet the intrigue throughout. Burke continues to grow into a fine mystery writer, and this is her best yet.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex and the City May 22 2010
By Ted Feit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There's a rumor going around that an ex- New York Governor, who resigned amid a sex scandal, is being considered for an hour-long CNN program. The wags are pointing out that it would be a switch: This time he would be paid by the hour instead of forking over money to a working girl for services. Then, of course, there were a former President and a certain southern Governor also involved in sex scandals.

Of course there is nothing new about the sex trade; just look back to the Bible and Mary Magdalene or David and Bathsheba. But the topic is timely. Just consider the murder of a Boston woman who advertised her "services" on Craig's list about the time the manuscript for the present novel was submitted. Such a topic plays an important role in helping Ellie Hatcher and her partner, J.J. Rogan, to solve at least three murders in this well-written police procedural.

The novel moves forward, with either one or the other of the two detectives uncovering possible facts or motives in a confusing array of clues, each raising different theories until the pieces finally fall into place. The author utilizes her deep knowledge of the legal system, pitting it against a contemporary issue, to create an absorbing story line, replete with all the necessary twists to keep the reader turning pages. With characterizations to match.

Highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 411 on 212: Read It! April 24 2010
By Rachel Brady - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Another suspenseful read from Alafair Burke! In this Ellie Hatcher novel, the third in the series, Ellie and her partner Rogan investigate a murder in an upscale New York building known as "The 212." To make heads or tails out of their case, and another homicide they're working concurrently, Ellie must sort through a cast of multi-dimensional suspects and, not surprisingly, none of them are easy to read. In fact, there are quite a few "double lives" going on here, and all of them lend themselves to a real head-scratcher. In typical form, Burke twisted and turned the plot long after I thought I knew what was going on, and in the end, she wrapped it up nicely. This book takes a very honest look at what motivates people and leaves the reader with a reminder that things are often not as they seem on the surface. Highly recommended for those who enjoy a New York City setting, police detective novels, or determined female protagonists who don't take crap. :)
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate entertainment for all mystery fans July 3 2010
By Lorraine Dusky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The intricate plot weaves in a lot of detail about the scene--about how the sex-trade works, the urban landscape of Manhattan, cops, real estate, rich folks and bars where cops hang out. She makes them all very real, like someone you would know if you were a detective. I will admit that I thought I had figured out a plot point only to be foiled and pleasantly surprised at the end. By taking stories from the news and reworking them to suit her story, she keeps the plot fresh, her main characters smart and savvy.

This is my first Alafair Burke book. It won't be my last. First-rate entertainment for all mystery fans.
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