Monday, June 16, 2014

book review: Terminal City by Linda Fairstein

The backstory: Terminal City is the sixteenth mystery in Linda Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper series. Cooper runs the Manhattan D.A.'s Special Victims Unit, a unit Fairstein herself ran for many years.

The basics: A woman is found raped and murdered at the illustrious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Soon thereafter, another body appears outside Grand Central Terminal, and Alex, along with good friends and detectives Mercer and Mike, is drawn into the self-functioning city of people who call the ground underneath Grand Central home as they try to solve these murders.

This review will contain minor spoilers from previous Fairstein novels, particularly Death Angel.

My thoughts: I, like many long-time readers, celebrated a certain development in Alex's personal life that appeared frustratingly close to the end of Death Angel. As excited as I always am for a new Fairstein novel, this year I was most excited to see what was happening in Alex's love life. The events in Terminal City pick up shortly after the events of Death Angel, so not much has changed. The first murder brings Alex and Mike, just back from suspension and an Ireland vacation, together professionally before they've spoken personally, and the case continues to dominate their time. As a reader, I found the all-consuming nature of this case frustrating, but it is realistic.

Soon, however, I was more wrapped up in the intrigue of the case and the rich history of Grand Central. Like Alex, I put her love life out of my mind. I read this mystery compulsively, but I savored the fascinating details of New York's history as much as the developing clues in the whodunit. As is typical of Fairstein, the history is not merely a backdrop--it feeds clues to the mystery itself, which make her books entertaining and informative.

The verdict: Terminal City will delight longtime fans of the series. It has all the hallmarks of a great mystery, plus Fairstein's signature in-depth look at an icon of New York City. While you could easily 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. While the mystery at the center of this one struck me as dark by Fairstein's standards, the warmth of a certain storyline in Alex's personal life compensates and left me once again eagerly awaiting Fairstein's next mystery.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 401 pages
Publication date: June 17, 2014 
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Terminal City from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

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

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