Top positive review
Alex Cooper is a clever but vulnerable heroine
on April 1, 2004
This book wastes no time in setting out some very juicy bait. Shortly after faking her own death as part of a sting operation planned by law enforcement types on the Jersey side of the river, political science professor Lola Dakota is found doing an excellent job of not faking her death --- having been squished by an elevator in her Manhattan apartment building after first having been strangled. By the time you finish the first chapter, the hook is set, and author Fairstein is reeling you in like a trout. Don't fight it.
Cooper and Chapman are equals in intellect, but whenever Cooper gets knocked to the ground, Chapman is there to pick her up and dust her off. It would have been far more satisfying if just once Cooper hauled off and smacked somebody. Given some of the lowlifes Ms. Fairstein has sent up the river, I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were occasions when she felt like bypassing the legal system altogether and just opening up a jumbo can o' whoop-ass. I can't think of a better way to relieve the kind of professional stress that must surely be a part of Ms. Fairstein's life than letting her fictional alter ego dish out a little pay-back.
But then that wouldn't really be in character for Cooper. In this team, she supplies the glitz, and Chapman, the grit. In the end it's not that Cooper is a thinly-drawn character, it's that she's a subtle string quartet competing for the reader's attention with a supporting cast that's as hard to ignore as an under-rehearsed marching band --- and just as much fun. So even if she is quiet and cultured, even if she has a weekend place on Martha's Vineyard and a network news dude for a boyfriend, Cooper gets the job done, and in a fine and entertaining fashion.