The Kills Hardcover – Jan 13 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Name that plot: a woman in distress looks for help when she is pursued by shady characters on the hunt for an aviary treasure. The Maltese Falcon? No, try The Kills, a title carrying double meaning, as it refers both to the channels in between the islands off lower Manhattan, which were dredged by the Dutch to assist in merchant shipping, and to the murders taking place on the island proper. Once again Fairstein features Alexandra Cooper, sex crimes prosecutor, who finds that her latest case runs deeper than the kills themselves. The story starts out slow and then falls into a familiar legal-thriller track: the well-intentioned attorney at a disadvantage because she does not have the full story. But the plot picks up as Fairstein peels the layers of the onion, ladling out backstory to expose the connections between a date-rape case and the murder of a Harlem woman. Another solid addition to a popular series. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
A rare American gold double eagle coin, worth a huge sum of money enters the scene in the second part of the story. To my mind this was the most interesting phase of the book and this is what sets it apart - the history of the coin, and its subsequent travels and ownership and the intrigues surrounding it make for good reading. Finally we finish off with some fairly frenetic action as the author ties up the loose ends. Unfortunately, by then I felt there were really too many ingredients in the mix and I found it hard to take it at all seriously.
This is quite a long book, and I am sorry to say that I felt quite relieved when I had finished it. That is not to say it is all bad. As previously mentioned I thought the coin aspect was interesting and if the tale could have been edited down by a hundred pages or so and more tightly focused around this I believe the result would have been much more absorbing. I think the problem was that the author was a just a bit too ambitious and wanted to cover too much ground in the plot.
If I had been on the jury,I would not have bought the woman's story of being "forced" to submit to rape and her actions to "save" the little boy seem questionable and possibly illegal. But as Fairstein's character points out,
women of my age rarely sympathize with these victims.
Meanwhile, Alexandra Cooper's cop friends become involved in a murder that initially seems unrelated. Now here's where the book takes a sharp detour that will delight some readers and frustrate others, depending on how you feel about historical characters mingling with fictional characters. And some readers will enjoy the introduction of FBI and CIA intrigue, while others will resist the mixture of spy and courtroom genres.
However, Fairstein is a masterful storyteller, and she seems fascinated by historical events, especially those related to New York City, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of places like the yacht club. So when I picked the book up again, after my shock at finding King Farouk's mistress in a courtroom thriller, I found myself absorbed in the story and learning an amazing amount about Egyptian royalty and double-eagle coins.
However, I felt cheated!Read more ›
Alex Cooper, the protagonist of the Fairstein thrillers, is herself a prosecutor. She is handling a case in which an investment banker named Paige Vallis claims that she was assaulted by a man whom she had been dating. The case is complicated by the fact that the gentleman in question, Andrew Tripping, had his little boy, Dulles, in the apartment at the time of the alleged incident. Dulles may turn out to be an important witness at trial.
Coop's best buddy, Mike Chapman, is handling another case. It involves the sad death of an eighty-two-year old former beauty named McQueen Ransome. She was murdered in her Harlem brownstone and her apartment was apparently burglarized. As the book progresses, the Vallis and Ransome cases come together, and subsequent developments convince detectives Mercer Wallace and Mike Chapman that there is more going on here than random acts of violence.
I have always liked Alex Cooper. She is classy and elegant, but also tough and feisty. Although she could have gotten a job in corporate law, she chooses to prosecute those who prey on women, and she has great compassion for the victims whom she tries to help. Alex has a comfortable relationship with Mike and Mercer, who would do anything for her, and she has a long-distance romance with Jake, who has a high-powered career of his own.
The problem with this book, as in Fairstein's last two books, is the plot.Read more ›
Complementing this bit of New York City's history and the different ways the word 'kills' is used are the events that surround a deadly hunt for "a legal form, signed by the secretary of the treasury more than half a century ago, that monetized one Double Eagle for King Farouk. That one sheet of paper, smuggled out of Egypt ... perhaps after King Farouk was deposed, is necessary if ... together with [a coin found in a dead woman's closet] would make [the] possessor a multimillionaire."
King Farouk's obsession for collecting the most unique items in the world is well documented. But rumors surface about whether or not he left the American Double Eagle coin behind when he was deposed. And is it possible that an American CIA agent whose assignment kept him in Cairo somehow stole the treasure? This agent turns out to be related to one of the women in this labyrinthine tale.
But let's start at the beginning of Fairstein's suspenseful and complex mystery. The case begins with Paige Vallis, a rape victim and hopeful rescuer of a little boy. While Ms.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper finds a link between an elderly woman murdered and Alex's recent client also murdered. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2004 by Ez
This is the latest in a series of mysteries by Linda Fairstein. I liked it as much as her previous ones. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Nel B. Cameron
I was surprised to see Harriet Klauser, the doyen of Amazon book reviews, refer to "The Kills" as character Alexandra Cooper's "third" starring role in a Linda... Read morePublished on April 23 2004
The Kills by Linda Fairstein is a page-turning suspense that held my attention during the entire book.Published on April 5 2004 by barry knight
I do not know why but i justed hated this book, i could not even finish it so i could not tell you what its about.Published on April 2 2004 by matt
The denouement is gripping, we get a tour of parts of New York City and learn fascinating WWII history, but the story is slow-moving and characterization is flat.Published on Feb. 27 2004
I bought this book because Jeffrey Deaver wrote a recommendation on the inside jacket. What was he thinking...or more likely, what was he paid?! Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2004 by J. Becker
Fairsteinï¿½s heroine, Alex Cooper, prosecutor in charge of Manhattanï¿½s Sex Crimes Unit, returns once again with sidekicks Detective Mike Chapman and Detective... Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2004 by Sheri Melnick