Killer Heat (Alexandra Cooper Novel) Hardcover – Mar 11 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of bestseller Fairstein's nail-biting 10th legal thriller to feature alter ego Alex Cooper (after 2006's Bad Blood), the Manhattan ADA takes a hit from a cigar at the urging of her longtime police ally, Mike Chapman—to cover the stench of a badly decomposed female body at a crime scene in an abandoned building near the Staten Island ferry. The victim later proves to be the first of a number of women in uniform targeted by the murderer, who may have military ties in his past. The trail leads to a notorious bar catering to underage drinkers, before a chance observation by a civilian shifts the inquiry dramatically. Meanwhile, Cooper is preparing to try Floyd Warren, a rapist whose first trial three decades earlier ended in a hung jury. Fairstein, whose professional résumé includes groundbreaking work in the field of sex crimes prosecution, manages to both entertain and educate, as Cooper struggles with the evidentiary challenges of the Warren rape case and with tracking a vicious serial killer. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
See all Product Description
PRAISE FOR KILLER HEAT:
“Fairstein delivers a scorcher of a crime novel —her hottest yet.” -Library Jounal
“Fairstein’s nail-biting 10th legal thriller… manages to both entertain and educate.” -Publisher’s Weekly
“Intriguing… fans will love the result.” -Kirkus
“Fairstein proves what a fantastic legal mind she has.” -The Mirror
PRAISE FOR LINDA FAIRSTEIN:
"One of the best crime fiction writers in America today." -Nelson Demille
“Fairstein . . . makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase."
-New York Times
"Alexandra Cooper, like her creator Linda Fairstein, is a force to contend with; smart, tough, and literate to boot!" -Sue Grafton
"The romantic tension, the fast-paced plotting, and the New York setting will keep fans of Fairstein's series engrossed." -Booklist
"No-holds-barred adventure." -Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
Nonetheless, her winning feeling is soon lost as she is notified that the body of a young woman has been found in an abandoned building. Now, author Fairstein knows this territory well as she once headed the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney's Office, and she minces no words.
After viewing the victim, Alex is offered a cigar by Mike, a detective with the Manhattan North Homicide Squad. Despite the oppressive August heat he puffs on a stogie and encourages her to take one with this advice, ""The stench from that corpse is going to stay in your brain for weeks unless you infuse it right away with something more powerful. Why do you think I've always got a couple of these in my pocket?"
As stated, Alex is tough and while she may be able to get over the sickening smell of death, what she cannot get over is another beaten woman's body found and then a third.
Being directed to catch the killer before the city is deadened by fear is one thing, trying to stay alive when those gang members want revenge is quite another.
Since the introduction of Alex Cooper in 1996 Ms. Fairstein has turned out nine additional thrillers, each more exciting than the last. Tony Award winner Blair Brown gives another sterling performance in her narration of this spine-tingling novel.
- Gail Cooke
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For me, none of the victims ever came alive, making it difficult to care for them. Similarly, the perpetrator never felt real. I felt as though Ms. Fairstein has completely lost interest.
The connection among the murders, while coherent, was supreficial enough that when Alex figured it out, the reader didn't have the sensation that lots was now explained.
Some of the other commentors said they enjoyed having less character development and conversation, fewer digressions into personal lives, and therefore more straightforward plot movement. To me, those are the sections that matter most, and without them, the story didn't pull me in.
Although the New York lore existed, it was a lot less integral to the story (although it was connected) and had a lot less depth.
In sum, a huge disappointment.
Also on Alex's mind is the retrial of sixty-one year old Floyd Warren, who allegedly attacked twenty-two year old Kerry Hastings back in 1973. Warren fled the jurisdiction before the jury could agree on a verdict, and later, he apparently assaulted over forty other women in such places as Philadelphia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Thanks to the miracles of DNA testing, this cold case has suddenly heated up, and Alex is determined to provide justice for the long-suffering Kerry. Complicating matters is the presence in the courtroom of five members of the Latin Princes, a gang whose leader Alex helped put behind bars.
Although Alex and Mike are not personally involved, there has always been a certain chemistry between the two. However, she is currently dating restaurateur Luc Rouget, who frequently travels back and forth between France and the United States. Much to her chagrin, while she is involved in this complex and troubling investigation, she has precious little time to spend with Luc.
"Killer Heat" has all of the usual Fairstein touches. The knowledgeable author, who ran the Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan DA's office for more than twenty years, loves New York lore and she treats the reader to a host of factoids about the history and geography of Governors Island and other locales that figure in the plot. In addition, through her characters, she imparts information on how the prosecution of sex crimes has changed over the years and briefs us on such innovations as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) and NYPD's Real Time Crime Center. As always, Alex and her cohorts are pressured by their nervous supervisors to bring their case to a quick and successful conclusion. Although there are few surprises here, long-time Fairstein fans will enjoy this suspenseful installment in a series that has remained popular since 1996.
What Fairstein does instead is introduce us to different parts of New York and we get a sense of history. That's good but as mystery readers, we want character and plot.
The strongest parts of the book take us behind the scenes, so we learn how a prosecutor prepares for trial, how she works with witnesses, and similar background. But Alex has to get out of her own history and show some growth. Maybe it's time to send her off to private practice, so she can capitalize on what she's learned. Or give her a challenging personal life. She's almost too perfect: I want to see how she struggles and grows.
One quibble: Perhaps my sensibilities as a mystery reader have changed since I've become aware of the Innocence Project, the DVDs Capturing the Friedmans and Paradise Lost, and the infamous Duke lacrosse player case. To buy into the mystery (especially police procedurals like this one) you need to accept good guys vs bad guys -- and our heroine is on the side of the angels, of course.
So I was a little dismayed when Alex keeps a witness in the station house. She admits she couldn't legally force the woman to remain but she bluffed. Lacking a lawyer and thoroughly intimidated, the woman believed her.
That's great if you really need to capture a serial killer and the witness really has solid information for you. But from what I've read, the lines often get blurred. Innocent people are afraid to leave and after a long, scary interrogation, they say anything to get food or sleep. Look at the Amanda Knox case, where we've just been told the interrogators even hit her at one point.
Innocent people do confess under these conditions and witnesses tweak their memories. So I was somewhat appalled to see this scene in a popular novel in 2008. It seems to reinforce the negative portrayal of DAs we are getting in the media.