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by Linda Fairstein
Scribner, October 2000
410 pages
ISBN: 0671019554

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Linda Fairstein has produced another strong, gritty novel of crime in New York. This is the third in her series about Alexandra Cooper, Assistant District Attorney for the city. As one of the foremost prosecutors of sex crimes and domestic assault, Fairstein knows intimately the legal and law enforcement world of which she writes, and it shows.

It shows in her gritty prose, the detailed and compelling way she takes the reader from crime scene to the efforts of the police and the way she looks at the process of dealing with a complex court system in which politics and personalities always play a large part. The title, by the way, refers to the always possible "cold hit," a match between DNA samples from the crime scene and DNA already on file in the NYPD system.

And because Fairstein is so good at what she does, when she ventures into what is apparently less familiar territory, the contrast is even more noticeable than might otherwise be the case. In two scenes where the protagonist faces mortal danger, the tone and pace of the writing fit seamlessly into the rest of the book, so that it is difficult to accept the true level of danger and violence which occurs.

It is interesting to note the many comparisons to Grisham that Fairstein has gathered. Because, while there are certainly similarities, Fairstein's characters tend to be more complete, more complex and more interesting.

The story begins with the discovery of a dead woman, obscenely tied to a ladder, found in the river near to northern end of the island of Manhattan. Who she is and why she was killed become the central questions on a winding trail that leads Cooper and her detective team through some fascinating high and low cultures of New York City.

Along the way Fairstein takes us on an exciting journey into the world of high art, both as an artistic endeavor and as a highpowered business. There are few novels the deal in any substantive way with the realities of the dark side of art as big business. This is one of them. Illuminating and highly charged, COLD HIT is a winner. For readers who want to be informed as well as entertained, this book is strongly recommended.

The reviewer is the author of




Reviewed by Carl Brookins, February 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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