“To them it was pure American moxie”
When Assistant D.A. Alex Cooper is called to a police scene by the Hudson river, she knows that it’s not going to be pretty. The body of an obviously affluent young woman, graphically and grotesquely arranged after death, is pulled from the water. Cooper and her sidekicks Mercer and Chapman must figure out who killed Deni Caxton, and even more – why?
This fits the description of a police procedural to the T. We follow Alex Cooper through her daily life for a few weeks while the murder of a society hostess and art collecting prodigy is investigated. It did not surprise me to discover that Fairstein had worked (it turns out, during quite a high-powered career) as an assistant D.A. herself, given the familiarity with the daily life of such a law enforcer that she portrays.
Cooper manages a pretty tight cast through this thriller; Cooper, Chapman and Mercer make a great investigative triumvirate and I was pleased to see a female police investigator with her head screwed on properly (unlike the one in James Patterson’s The Quickie, which I nearly threw across the room…). There’s a reasonable rotation of bad guys (and I didn’t guess the true one) and an excellent sense of setting in the slightly seedy art world of New York.
I have a few complains about the writing: Mike Chapman and Sgt Mercer both work on this case – but Fairstein alternately refers to Mike Chapman as “Mike” and “Chapman”, but to Mercer only as “Mercer”. It was quite confusing at the start of the book when the reader is still trying to get the characters straight in their head. Additionally, at the climax, Cooper has an armed guard. Of course it is when the armed guard lets her go in somewhere unguarded because they have an administrative phone call to take, that it all goes wrong (not a spoiler because there’s not much of the book left by then).
Reasonable writing, decent plot, characterisation of subsidiary characters was a bit lacking although I liked Cooper. I think this could have been better.