Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein

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Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: District Attorney Alexandra Cooper is involved in the search for the identity of a rapist who tortures and murders his victims. The plot is good with excellent background knowledge and some of the lesser known parts of New York are brought to life, but characterisation is not strong, particularly if you are new to the series.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: January 2008
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 978-0316731713

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In a curious mix of the old and the new, District Attorney Alexander Cooper is about to win a case against a serial rapist for a crime he committed twenty years earlier, when she finds herself involved in a sinister current case. A young woman is found bound, gagged, tortured and brutally murdered in an abandoned ferry terminal at the southern end of Manhattan. The victim was a prostitute specialising in sadism. It's not long before another girl disappears and her body is found in another deserted location. Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace join Alex in a race to identify the killer before he strikes again.

This is the tenth book in the Alexandra Cooper series and there's obviously a vast shared background between the three main characters and I felt rather like an interloper who doesn't quite understand what the situation is and even towards the end of the book Chapman and Mercer were blending in to each other. Alex Cooper herself was rather better but characterisation is not Linda Fairstein's strong point.

She's far better on plot and place. She brings New York alive in a vivid way and makes brilliant use of some of the more unfamiliar parts of the area, such as Governor's Island, Breezy Point or Bannerman Island, some fifty miles up the Hudson River. Excellent maps are provided and these really brought the more outlying areas to life for me. Just occasionally she was a little heavy on the exposition and I found myself wanting to skim ahead.

The plot is a real page turner and this wasn't spoilt by the fact that it was only a quirk of fate which revealed the identity of the killer. Fairstein was the Assistant District Attorney of Manhattan's sex crimes unit and she knows her stuff – this is fiction written from knowledge rather than research and you sense that there's a lot more that she hasn't told us. She's good on the court work and the more mundane day to day part of the job – but then she should be. The bit that didn't come with the job is that she is a master of suspense. Towards the end I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough – and it's a thrilling and chilling finale. For me it would be a personal 3½ stars but I suspect a die-hard fan would give it 4½, so I've settled for an overall rating of four stars.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then we think you might also enjoy Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell, Skin Privilege by Karin Slaughter and Plea of Insanity by Jilliane Hoffman.

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