HELL GATE

Written by Linda Fairstein

Review written by Sara Townsend

Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group. http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com/


HELL GATE
Sphere
RRP: £6.99
Released: 25th November 2010
Pbk
In this twelfth novel featuring Linda Fairstein’s New York District Attorney, Alex Cooper finds herself present at the scene of a shipwreck off the Manhattan Coast. The wrecked ship contains illegal immigrants who have been brought into America as part of a people trafficking plot. The body of a drowned young woman is recovered, sporting a tattoo identifying her “owner”. Not long after, the mistress of a prominent politician also turns up dead. Strangely, she sports the same tattoo as the other dead young woman. The plot of the novel revolves around Alex trying to uncover what the connection between these two women is.

I am a fan of the series, but this one was a little disappointing. Linda Fairstein usually gives us a history lesson about New York City in her novels, and this one is no exception. However, in this novel, the history seems to overwhelm the plot, and it did not have me turning the pages quite as fast as I usually do for an Alex Cooper novel.

The dynamic between the three main characters – Alex Cooper, Mike Chapman the homicide cop, and Mercer Wallace the SVU detective – has always added to my enjoyment of this series. Although always no more than friends, Alex is starting to acknowledge her feelings for Chapman may be going beyond friendship, something most readers of the series figured out about ten books ago. Alex is still reluctant to act on this, and Mike Chapman’s manner of flirting has always been to throw insults at Alex – though many of these come across as just downright nasty in this book, and you do wonder why Alex puts up with it. Much as it will change the nature of the books, this sexual tension now feels it has been dragging on far too long. A resolution to this ongoing plot thread is now overdue, even if doing so might actually mean the end of the Alex Cooper series in its current format.

I did like this book, and I’m sure other fans of the series will also enjoy it, but it’s not the best in the series – which is a shame, as the series is very good and I would generally recommend it.
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