Monday, July 29, 2013

book review: Death Angel by Linda Fairstein

The backstory: Death Angel is the fifteenth (!) mystery in Linda Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper series. I've read (and loved) them all. (A series note: while you could enjoy this mystery if you haven't read others in the series, the personal storylines likely won't be nearly as satisfying to new readers.)

The basics: When the body of a young homeless girl is found in Central Park, detectives Mercer Wallace and Mike Chapman, along with prosecutor Alexandra Cooper, work quickly to identify her and figure out if there's a connection to a series of cold cases in New York City's lowest crime area.

My thoughts: Fairstein's mysteries all feature a deep history of one aspect of New York. In Death Angel, it's Central Park, something most readers think they're familiar with. When Fairstein is at her best, which she certainly is in Death Angel, the New York history is as riveting as the mystery (or in this case mysteries) itself.

I discovered this series in the spring of 2003 (when several books had already been published), and I've been reading the for ten years. It's challenging to strike the right balance between the comfort of the familiar and feeling new. Death Angel is the perfect combination of the two. There are the classics of a Fairstein novel: Alex takes a trip to her Martha's Vineyard home, New York history, sexual/romantic tension between Alex and Mike, Jeopardy!, and work tensions in the DA's office. Here, they feel fresh and comforting. While the pace of Alex's personal life is sometimes slower than I'd like, as I read Death Angel, I was shocked to realize Alex is now only a few years older than I am. So little time has passed in this series because each mystery covers only a few days or weeks. Over the years, these novels have taken place in different seasons and at different times of years, but in reality, only a few years have passed.

The verdict: Death Angel is Linda Fairstein at her very best. The mystery is compelling and surprising, the history and detail of Central Park is fascinating, and the developments in Alex's personal life make this long-term reader and dreamer very happy. Most importantly, all three fit together beautifully in this well-crafted, entertaining and spellbinding mystery.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 385 pages
Publication date: July 30, 2013
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Death Angel from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Linda Fairstein's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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1 comment:

  1. It's challenging to strike the right balance between the comfort of the familiar and feeling new.

    So true -- it's the reason I find I bail on long series -- but it's good this one keeps fresh and interesting. I'm adding it to my TBR -- and I'll start at the beginning. Starting in the middle never pays!


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