Smart, sexy, Manhattan assistant DA Alexandra Cooper--hero of Linda Fairstein's increasingly popular series
--is taking her latest murder case very personally. Lola Dakota, abused wife and brilliant university professor, wouldn't cooperate when Cooper wanted to charge her ex-husband with assault. So when she's murdered, he's the logical suspect--except that he had been arrested just before the murder. So Alex needs another suspect.
Unable to protect Lola alive, Alex is determined to find the killer and bring him to justice. All she has to go on is a scrap of paper in the murdered woman's pocket with the words "The Deadhouse" on it, along with a series of numbers. Deciphering the clue leads Alex and Mike Chapman, her favorite homicide cop, to an abandoned gothic hospital on New York's Roosevelt Island, where smallpox victims went to die a century ago. Because of its history, the Deadhouse held a special attraction for Lola and for several of her university colleagues; and, as it turns out, almost all these deftly drawn minor characters had a reason to want Lola dead. Illuminating their personalities and motives gives Fairstein an opportunity to skewer the academic infighting that goes on at an elite Ivy League school.
The author's background as head of the New York district attorney's Sex Crime Unit is just one of the many assets she brings to her fast-paced, intricately plotted thrillers. What makes this one a standout is the wealth of historical detail about 19th-century New York, which adds an extra dimension of verisimilitude to an engrossing, atmospheric, and suspenseful read. --Jane Adams
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From Publishers Weekly
When archeologist Lola Dakota is found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft in her apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side, assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper takes on one of her darkest cases yet in this compelling mystery from bestseller Fairstein (Final Jeopardy). Alexandra, aided by homicide detective Mike Chapman, must sift through the testimonies of Dakota's close-mouthed colleagues at small, experimental King's College. Despite bitter December weather, the professor was engaged in an archaeological dig on the city's Roosevelt Island for clues about the criminals and mental patients shipped there a hundred years ago and left to die. Cooper, who had been working with Dakota to apprehend her abusive husband, now reaches out to Lola's resistant family and legal counsel in New Jersey, where she has been hiding out. And what of Charlotte Voight, a young woman who disappeared several months ago? The city is ablaze with holiday lights and cheer, Mike is acting peculiarly, team member Mercer Wallace injured in Final Jeopardy rejoins them late in the game, and Alex and new love Jake, a news correspondent, might be breaking up. Fairstein weaves present and past woes to good effect, while her focus on Roosevelt Island will intrigue New Yorkers who know little about its shameful former uses. A somewhat abrupt resolution, as well as a few loose strands, will leave the reader eager for a later date with the D.A. (Oct. 2)Forecast: Several factors will recommend this book to a broad audience: Manhattan D.A. Fairstein bears the mark of authenticity; all three previous titles in the series were bestsellers; and Linda Fairstein's Final Jeopardy was an ABC-TV Movie of the Week in April. A six-city author tour and two floor displays will further boost sales.
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