The Deadhouse by Linda Fairstein

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The Deadhouse by Linda Fairstein

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Drawn into the strange world of academia, Alexandra Cooper must discover what really happened to Professor Lola Dakota following a successful sting operation to fake her own murder and finding her, just hours later at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 560 Date: September 2002
Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-0751532630

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The Deadhouse follows on immediately and very neatly from Fairstein's novel Cold Hit. With the same comforting line up of characters, it's easy to slot into a new story; after all, it feels like someone has been keeping the seat warm.

The body of Professor Lola Dakota is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft, quite the worse for its location. A shocking enough episode on its own but when coupled with the fact that Lola had, not hours before, successfully staged her own murder in a complicated sting operation handled by the New York County District Attorney's office, it becomes simply unbelievable.

The NYCDA together with the NYCPD had officers posing as hitmen for hire and the sting was planned to ensure the capture of Lola's abusive husband, Ivan Kralovic and guarantee an indictment for Lola's murder.

Which means that at the time Lola was murdered for the second time, Ivan was safely in custody? The question is, did Ivan have a back up plan because he smelled a rat? But what was Lola doing later that afternoon in between "deaths"?

Looking beyond her husband and delving deeper into Lola's personal and professional life leads Cooper and Chapman to discover academic departments filled with insecurities, in-fighting and back-biting. Puzzled by the range and variation of personalities of everyone they interview in the process of investigating Lola's murder, Cooper and Chapman can find only one common thread: the University's research site, an island in the East River. Welfare Island, as it was known at the time, was once home to Victorian isolation hospitals, insane asylums (their words, not mine) a huge morgue, the local name for which the book takes its title and a somewhat infamous prison, the Welfare Island Penitentiary, purportedly infiltrated by the mob and run from the outside by the nefarious Dutch Schultz himself.

So we have ourselves a murder mystery with a bit of local interest and like a pair of much loved Jimmy Choos (people, I don't do slippers), I cosseted myself with the characters I have grown to know so well. The Cooper/Chapman quasi-frisson, the love they both have for Wallace and the endless bets on Final Jeopardy categories, often seeing Chapman and his wealth of knowledge on American history scoop up the booty all combined to immerse me in the tale once more.

What I can tell you about The Deadhouse is that, like the rest of Linda Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper novels, I had no idea where the story was going. Two thirds of the way through, the reader is given a peek at where the tale may possibly take you; if nothing else, it spurs your imagination on like billy-o! Right up until the last five pages, I was still guessing. Wrongly, if you must know. So if you are looking for a crime thriller that will leave you speculating up to the last brick in the wall, written easily as well as and in parts, better than any Harlen Coben or Jonathan Kellerman, The Deadhouse is most definitely for you.

If you like the look of this book, you may also enjoy Linda Fairstein's Cold Hit, Clare Curzon's The Edge and With No One As Witness by Elizabeth George.

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Buy The Deadhouse by Linda Fairstein at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Deadhouse by Linda Fairstein at


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