Saturday, July 29, 2006


Perhaps one of the weakest contenders in this month’s “Dust Jackets” entries devoted to “orphaned” books is Cold Hit by Linda Fairstein. This isn’t meant as a slight against Fairstein or her book. Rather, this is one case where I simply can’t recall what prompted me to set aside this novel.

In true “Joe Friday” fashion, let’s stick to just the facts. I purchased Cold Hit from the bargain books section of the Barnes & Noble where I was working back in 2001. We’re given a promising start in this murder mystery. Police find a woman’s body tied to a ladder on the northern tip of Manhattan. Not merely a whodunit… Cold Hit initially offers readers a “whoisit” as the victim starts off as a Jane Doe. The victim’s identity leads assistant district attorney Alexandra Cooper into New York’s art world where plenty of possible suspects are on display.

Fairstein offers some impressive credentials. Those creds include a lengthy career as head of the Sex Crimes Unit for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office (a title shared with her book’s main character). Even within the brief portion of this book I read, I could see she was drawing well on her own experiences to give the story credibility.

What frustrates me as I write this entry is my inability to remember why I stopped so short a way into this book. Honestly, I can’t even recall if I made my aborted attempt while still a Barnes & Noble bookseller or if I’d just begun my own employment within the law enforcement community as a communications officer. What’s perhaps most important is this fact: despite my intention to return to this book and give it another go, I never did. It’s among those books I’ve even sold off from my collection. That’s not to say I won’t ever give it another try, but the list of books ahead of it is too long to allow for another go anytime soon.

Fairstein deserves some praise for building this into a successful series. Her latest Alexandra Cooper mystery, Death Dance, was released this past January and marks the eighth book within the series. The ninth book, Bad Blood, is already scheduled for release next January.

Other Books by Linda Fairstein:

For my part, I find myself rather curious about Fairstein because of her ties to Virginia mystery writer Patricia Cornwell. The two are good friends. Cornwell even dedicated her 2000 novel, The Last Precinct, to Fairstein. Fairstein has a few ties to Virginia of her own, graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1972. She also shares an obvious passion for Edgar Allen Poe, the father of “detective fiction.” She included quite a few references to Poe in her novel Entombed. Her website also offers links to the Poe Museum (located here in Richmond, Virginia) and several other Poe related websites.

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