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The Kills [Hardcover]

Linda Fairstein
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 13 2004 Fairstein, Linda

From New York Times bestselling author and former top prosecutor Linda Fairstein comes an electrifying new 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.

With its winning combination of courtroom drama, historical detail, and the intriguing lore of a rare object whose fabled provenance provides a glistening thread through the story, The Kills is powerful, stylish writing from a hugely appealing crime-writing star.

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Product Description

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.

From Booklist

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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder goes to...Egypt? Feb. 18 2004
As a certified Linda Fairstein fan, I picked up this book without reading a single review. The book jacket copy gives no clue to the story, which is why I was caught by surprise mid-book and actually stopped reading. The book jacket describes the story's opener -- a potentially riveting courtroom drama, very timely in light of the Kobe Bryant case: a young woman claims she was date-raped by a wealthy financier -- the kind of man who seems immune to prosecution. It's a he-said/she-said case, although the man's young son will be a witness for the prosecution if he can be found.
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!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and long-winded thriller. Feb. 6 2004
"The Kills," by real life prosecutor Linda Fairstein, has a double meaning. One refers to murders, of which there are quite a few in this book. The other is a geographical location called "Kill Van Kull," which comes from the Dutch word for channel. There are a number of these channels around Manhattan, and a key scene takes place in a "kill."
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.
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The title of Linda Fairstein's newest Alexandra Cooper novel, THE KILLS, has more than one meaning. To Detective Mike Chapman the kills are homicides: "Hunters used that word to describe the slaughter of their prey, and fighter pilots spoke the same language when referring to the downing of enemy planes --- the unnatural termination of lives." And in this thriller we are told that "once [there] were 'kills' all over Lower Manhattan, a vestige from the Dutch colonization that meant 'channels' or 'creeks' ... [and one of them] was obviously a viaduct to the shipyards along the Jersey shore."
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather an Unfocused Tale
This is the sixth in the Alexandra Cooper series, but this is the first of them that I have read. I did not think that not having read the others made very much difference. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Brett H
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Right to Mess With History
Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper finds a link between an elderly woman murdered and Alex's recent client also murdered. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2004 by Ez
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kills
This is the latest in a series of mysteries by Linda Fairstein. I liked it as much as her previous ones. Read more
Published on June 17 2004 by Nel B. Cameron
4.0 out of 5 stars Tsk, tsk, Harriet
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 more
Published on April 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Page-turning excitment,
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
1.0 out of 5 stars hated it.
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
3.0 out of 5 stars slow start
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
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring! Skip it! Read Jeffrey Deaver instead!!!
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 more
Published on Feb. 27 2004 by J. Becker
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-constructed Suspenseful Read
Fairsteinï¿s heroine, Alex Cooper, prosecutor in charge of Manhattanï¿s Sex Crimes Unit, returns once again with sidekicks Detective Mike Chapman and Detective... Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Sheri Melnick
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK 'EM COOPER , MURDER 1 & MURDER 2
Published on Jan. 21 2004 by F. C. RYAN
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