Cold Hit Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 2003
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When Linda Fairstein describes the route Alexandra Cooper takes from the district attorney's office to NYPD headquarters, you know she's walked that way many times herself. "I took the shortcut over to One Police Plaza, cutting behind the Metropolitan Correctional Center and alongside the staggeringly expensive new federal courthouse, which made our digs, complete with oversized rodents and roaches that obviously thrived on Combat, look like judicial facilities in some third world country."
Like her fictional counterpart, Fairstein is a Manhattan assistant district attorney in charge of a sex-crimes unit. As she did in Final Jeopardy and Likely to Die, Fairstein mires her somewhat unlikely heroine (a beautiful 35-year-old blond with an Ivy League education, a house in Martha's Vineyard, and an affection for betting on quiz shows at cop bars) in a wealth of procedural detail. The "cold hit" of the title, for example, refers to a computer match between DNA samples from a recent rape case with evidence from an older crime.
With her trusty cop sidekicks Mike Chapman (who eats everything in sight and drops wisecracks like they're crumbs) and Mercer Wallace (who is a big fellow and can take a bullet meant for Alex without flinching), Cooper is working on two major cases--a serial rapist who has suddenly decided to come out of hiding and a couple of murders linked to the nasty underground world of fine-art sales. But she also has time to give her fellow sex-crime prosecutors advice on how to handle everything from a man shooting video up women's skirts at a Star Trek convention to a guy who takes his love for racehorses well past the legal limits. Once again, Fairstein has produced a story whose entertainment value is very high. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The discovery at Manhattan's northern tip of the body of a woman tied to a ladder leads Assistant District Attorney Alexandra "Alex" Cooper, head of the borough's Sex Crimes Unit (as is her creator, Fairstein), and her associates, NYPD Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, on a circuitous trek through the rarefied but far from savory New York art world. Denise CaxtonAcollector, co-owner of a gallery and estranged wife of wealthy connoisseur Lowell CaxtonAseemed to want for nothing, but as Alex and her team dig into the victim's background, they uncover contradictions and conflicts in her privileged existence. What part did gallery partner Bryan Daughtrey or antiques expert Frank Wrenley play in the dead woman's life? Her investigation into Denise's shady deals come to endanger Alex, and the lives of those close to her as well. Fairstein (Final Jeopardy; Likely to Die) once again uses her own experience and knowledge of the city to strong advantage in balancing the case at hand with the day-to-day workings of the system. Her thick layerings of the legal background at times slow the action, but they add immeasurably to the reader's understanding and appreciation of what is entailed in making a case. Fairstein's rough-and-tumble courthouse scenes ring true, as do her descriptions of the mundane police work of Mercer and Mike, whose easy wisecracking and addiction to the television show Jeopardy are a cover for their affection for each other and Alex. Alex herself remains a shining protagonist, comfortable in the upper echelons of New York society but eager to roll up her sleeves at work, her heart aching for her staff and the victims they defend. Fans of the assistant D.A.'s previous adventures will be mightily pleased with this one. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate selections; 7-city author tour. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
It is not the easiest of cases, we find all kinds of skullduggery in the genteel art world, with forgery and faked provenance and Alex gets a bit too close to the murderer in this one, only narrowly escaping being shot, although unfortunately Mercer Wallace is hit, which is all rather too real.
I never imagined Art Galleries to inspire the kind of passions that abound in this book, I know that money will drive people to extremes and this is well illustrated here, but this really is the ugly side to beautiful artworks.
Nevertheless, as a subject for murder, it is a gripping plot. I know that sidekicks are not as immune as central characters, but Mercer and Mike are too central to be the victim of homicidal lunatics, but here we see that they can have a little scare, just to remind us that it is a terrible place for the good guys.
This particular novel deals with the seamy side of the art world. I knew it existed from reading nonfiction on it, as well as other mysteries dealing with it--it seems to be a popular subject at the moment. Is it happening more often, or are we just more aware of it? The plot basically boils down to the fact that certain art has been stolen and missing for over ten years. The person found murdered originally may possibly have had some connection to the resurfacing of this artwork. Then Mike and Alex (the ADA) take it from there.
I got a kick out of some of the background into both the art world (the propensity to cover up valuable paintings/illuminated manuscripts seems to be a real problem) and also into the information concerning the railway system in New York. I've been reading the nonfiction book "Gangs of New York" so this information played into the understanding I got from that book. To me, the more well-written history in a mystery...the better I like it.
This book got a little confusing after a while. Too many people, too many paintings to keep track of. My favorite parts of the book deal with Alex's coworkers, especially Mike who reminds me greatly of one of my mentors in my HIV lab, who was also a practical joke player and wisecracker. This deep detail into characterization always pleases me with mysteries or any book. It is part of what make a good book come alive. This book was more 'alive' then others I've read recently because of good characterization, but the plot line was a little obtuse. Anyway, it was a fun read...
Fairstein knows her subject, and the grittiness of the police detail and dialogue reflect it. But she also falls all over herself to give Fairstein a wonderfully glamorous lifestyle which has her casually dining in the finest Manhattan restaurants and whisking off for a weekend at "the Cape" with her globetrotting TV News boyfriend. I'm not certain if this is the way that Fairstein really lived while on the job, but if it was, she shouldn't have traded it in for the typewriter.
Still, Cooper's relationship with her cop friends, especially wisecracking Mike Chapman and standup guy Mercer Wallace is interesting, especially when Jeopardy is on the tube. Otherwise, COLD HIT is a slow-paced mystery story with no more plot twists than your average episode of Law and Order. The book left me, well, cold.
Instead, we have hardboiled street cop/renaissance man Mike Chapman, Alex's fast-talking, down-to-earth and impossibly endearing sidekick. Whether it's questioning a recalcitrant sidekick, stuffing his mouth at a resplendent Italian-food restaurant, or betting Alex on the nightly Final Jeopardy question, Mike is always in top form. But this time, he may be in over his head.
When Deni Caxton, the estranged wife of an internationally renowned art dealer, is found raped and murdered, Alex, as New York's Assistant District Attorney for the Sex Crimes Unit (as is Linda Fairstein in real life), is called onto the case. Almost immediately, she, Mike, and Mike's able partner Mercer are caught in a confusing whirlpool of events that pulls them ever deeper into a well of murder. In short succession, several other bodies are found, and each seems to tie in some way with Deni Caxton's demise.
The more Alex and her friends try to unravel the clues, the more they are drawn into a seemingly endless web of shady art dealers, mysterious Mata-Hari-type women, jailhouse thugs, antique dealers, and a cast of characters that would put Hitchcock to shame. It's obvious that Fairstein had a lot of fun with this novel, and it shows. Over and above the very real and perplexing mystery is the author's own unique view of the art world her fictional characters are exploring. The result is suspenseful, fun, and easy to read.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Stick with Phillip Margolin and John Grisham. Very boring. You will get tired of reading about what liquor the main character drinks and how cultured she is.... Read morePublished on July 29 2002
I listened to Cold Hit from the abridged commercial audiobook, so I won't comment on the writing style, as what I heard may not be representative of the original written prose. Read morePublished on April 19 2002 by H.D. Jones
If you like reading about the wealthy, the painted arts and restaurants this books for you. It's more of a dinning
out in NY guide and what and where the filthy rich do and... Read more
Linda FairsteinÕs Cold Hit is authentic New York City like a slap in the face, or a boot in the behind. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2001 by Joe Bruno
What a find in Linda Fairstein! I read Final Jeopardy and enjoyed the book. (I picked it up because I am a "Jeopardy" fan.) I liked it, so I moved on to Likely to Die. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2000 by Louise C. Stone
I was always a big fan of Patricia Cornwall, and her review on this book was enough to make me buy it. Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2000 by SAMANTHA J VAZQUEZ
the reality of politics and perceptions in law enforcement. sumptuous columbo-like setting of the nyc art world. Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2000
I looked forward to the second novel by Linda Fairstein, featuring her heroine, A.D.A. Alexandra Cooper. But I'm afraid I won't be rushing out to look for the third. Read morePublished on June 19 2000 by Lewis Martin