Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein
Who can even think in this heat? Time for beach reading! I’ll save my discussion of Disgrace by Noble Prize winner J.M. Coetzee for another day.
Linda Fairstein’s latest crime novel featuring Alexander Cooper, head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in Manhattan, is an easy read. Despite the murder and human trafficking plotline, Hell Gate is not nearly as graphic as the work of James Patterson, for example. (And for me, this is a good thing.)
The narrative zips along, despite Ms. Fairstein’s penchant for imparting a history lesson at every opportunity. These educational tidbits, though noteworthy, are clumsily inserted and slow things down. But overall, the crimes are intriguing, and Ms. Cooper and her police pals Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace are a believable threesome.
This is the 12th novel in the Alex Cooper series. If you haven’t read the previous novels, I suggest you start at the beginning. I think the earlier stories are better, or maybe I’ve just gotten tired of some of the shtik, such as the three crime stoppers discussing the case over a Dewar’s at pricey Primola’s on Manhattan’s UES. This, along with Ms. Cooper’s Saturday morning ballet classes, seem a bit precious the 12th time around. This long-running series could use a jolt, and a new boyfriend for Ms. Cooper is not sufficiently electric.