First Sentence: Mike Chapman bit into the tip of a Cohiba and held the match to the end of his thick cigar, drawing several deep breaths to make certain it was lighted.
Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein
Doubleday, 2008 (ARE)
Crime Fiction (S/T); 368 pgs
Sex Crimes Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper is still going strong ten books into the series. Detectives Mercer Wallace and Mike Chapman continue to stick by her side. In the latest installment of Linda Fairstein’s best selling series, Alex is pulled into a murder investigation by her friend and colleague, homicide detective, Mike Chapman. A woman’s body has been discovered in an abandoned office building at a New York ferry port, and Mike believes it may be the missing woman who Alex has been searching for. However, the dead woman turns out to be someone else entirely, a woman with questionable associations. When a second and then third body are found brutally murdered, it becomes clear that a serial killer is on the loose in the city. The sweltering summer heat and jurisdictional battles between law enforcement agencies are not enough to stall the investigation, at least not for long.
As if that is not enough, Alex is in the middle of a 30 year old rape trial, seeking justice for a victim who has lived in fear most of her adult life while her rapist has roamed free. Yet another complication arises when it becomes obvious that Alex is being targeted by a gang whose leader she prosecuted and put into prison on rape charges not long before. The question becomes whether they have murder or simply harassment in mind. In typical Linda Fairstein fashion, Alex Cooper has her work cut out for her as the game of cat and mouse turns deadly.
In Killer Heat, Linda Fairstein follows through with her trademark history lesson, this time weaving the hunt for a serial killer among the small islands of Manhattan, which had once played a part in the defense of the country. This was perhaps the weakest part of the book, however, with the historical aspects coming across more as a lecture at times than a natural part of the story. Just the same, the islands take on a life of their own, especially when a storm comes roaring into town.
One of the reasons I enjoy this series is because Alex Cooper is a smart woman who does not back down easily. She is also compassionate and cares about the people for whom she seeks justice. Too often in this novel, it felt as if Mike Chapman was dismissing her whether through his joking or his taking over a situation. While it was not too out of place considering the danger of the situation and the need for him to do his job as a homicide investigator, at times, it seemed to get in the way of the story.
Despite that, the story itself is fast paced and hard to tear away from. Once Alex and friends are on the trail of the serial killer, events happen at break neck speed as the mystery unfolds and the race to stop the killer from striking again is on. Linda Fairstein knows how to create suspense in a novel, and she has not failed in Killer Heat. The last hundred pages had me glued to my seat. While this may not be the strongest book in the series, it was still an entertaining novel to read, and I am looking forward to the next book. Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Wendy Runyon, 2008.
Rating: (Good +)