Hell Gate (Alexandra Cooper Series #12)

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Contraband cargo-young and female-from a wrecked Ukraine freighter washes up on Rockaway Beach. But one victim died before she even hit the dark waters of the Atlantic. Only one other story has the power to grab New York ADA Alexandra Cooper's attention-that of a New York congressman's dive into disgrace following a sordid sex scandal.

When Alexandra discovers that the freighter victim and the congressman's lover are connected in a way that simply can't be coincidence, it ...

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Contraband cargo-young and female-from a wrecked Ukraine freighter washes up on Rockaway Beach. But one victim died before she even hit the dark waters of the Atlantic. Only one other story has the power to grab New York ADA Alexandra Cooper's attention-that of a New York congressman's dive into disgrace following a sordid sex scandal.

When Alexandra discovers that the freighter victim and the congressman's lover are connected in a way that simply can't be coincidence, it strikes her that these cases aren't as unrelated as they seem. She unearths a secret that will not only shatter the entire political landscape of New York, but expose Alexandra to the darkest, most dangerous, and most profoundly disturbing revelation of her career.

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  • Linda Fairstein - Hell Gate
    Linda Fairstein - Hell Gate  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the outset of bestseller Fairstein’s winning 12th legal thriller featuring New York County ADA Alex Cooper (after Lethal Legacy), the bodies of human trafficking victims wash up on Rockaway Beach. At least one young woman appears to have been dead before she hit the frigid waters. Meanwhile, Ethan Leighton, a rising Manhattan congressman, has fled the scene of a car accident, possibly to avoid exposure of an extramarital affair and a love child. Leighton’s paramour, who calls 911 to report that Leighton has threatened her, later disappears amid signs of violence. Both cases attract the keen attention of Vin Statler, New York’s ambitious post-Bloomberg mayor, who adds political pressure to the crime solving. Fairstein throws a City Council slush fund into the mix, but manages to resolve the various plot threads nicely. While the main criminal’s identity will surprise few, readers seeking a realistic depiction of law-enforcement work will be more than satisfied. 8-city author tour. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper and colleagues Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace are called to a disaster scene: the shipwreck of a cargo ship transporting more than 300 Ukrainian immigrants. The task force works to identify the dead, secure translators, and make sense of the tragedy. Their investigation uncovers human trafficking/prostitution with possible ties to New York. Alex and her associates are then pulled away to check into scandalous allegations regarding a popular New York congressman. When unearthed clues link the two cases, things get dangerous. Does Alex know too much? Is this the case that leads to her demise? VERDICT The 12th entry in Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper series grabs readers at page one and doesn't let go until the breathtaking climax. Fairstein mixes intrigue, political corruption, and international exploitation with just the right amount of New York history: a perfect recipe for a winning thriller. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/09.]—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Kirkus Reviews
ADA Alexandra Cooper of Manhattan's Sex Crimes Office struggles to keep up with real-life New York scandal in her 12th not-entirely-ripped-from-the-headlines case. When a Ukrainian vessel loaded with illegal immigrants, including 30 women earmarked for the lucrative American sex industry, goes aground within sight of its destination, Alex is among the first law-enforcement officials at the scene. Her heart moved for the thousandth time by the survivors' laboriously translated tales of brutal oppression, she is determined to spend every ounce of her energy, along with that of former U.S. Attorney Donovan Baynes' Joint Trafficking Task Force, in the quest to learn who ensured that at least one of the Jane Does didn't survive. But the city that never sleeps keeps supplying high-profile diversions. First Baynes' classmate Ethan Leighton, a congressman from the Upper West Side, is picked up for a DUI. Then his mistress, Mexican immigrant Salma Zunega, and their love child Ana go missing after she's repeatedly called 911 on him, then denied ever placing the calls for help. When Salma is next seen, she's been stabbed to death and tossed down a well on the grounds of Gracie Mansion. (You won't believe where Ana finally turns up.) Every politician in the city seems to be implicated, most of them inspired by unwilling tabloid hogs like Bernard Kerik, Eliot Spitzer and John Edwards. Even as she rehashes recent juicy scandals, Fairstein dishes out a steady stream of tourist-grade background info on Archibald Gracie and the mansion he built. But all this historical exposition, which often threatens to sink Alex's cases (Lethal Legacy, 2009, etc.), becomes surprisingly relevant when a rose-shapedtattoo links high crimes and low, and Alex realizes that her distinguished colleagues are actually suspects. Thrills, gossip, sex, history, self-righteous indignation and hints of parallels to the contemporary rich and famous, all whipped to a fine frenzy. Fairstein's most potent cocktail since Entombed (2005).
Publishers Weekly
Multiple Audie Award-winning narrator Barbara Rosenblat brings her considerable talent to Fairstein's latest thriller featuring New York ADA Alex Cooper. When a boat carrying illegal human cargo shipwrecks off the city's coast, spilling its payload of immigrant contraband into the ocean, a body is discovered that appears to have been dead before it hit the freezing water. How this event in human smuggling will relate to a philandering congressman and what happens to his mistress is only part of the mystery that keeps Fairstein's story barreling forward. Rosenblat's appealing voice nicely handles the twists and turns of the author's narrative. She manages to balance numerous characters of varying ethnicities with ease, bringing a natural delivery to their dialogue while at the same time keeping them distinct enough from each other to allow for easy delineation between who's speaking to whom, but she never goes overboard or allows herself to fall into caricature. It's a fine performance that will keep the listener hooked to the very end. A Dutton hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 4). (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451412997
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Series: Alexandra Cooper Series, #12
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 181,800
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Fairstein

Linda Fairstein was chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney’s office in Manhattan for more than two decades and is America’s foremost legal expert on sexual assauly and domestic violence. Her Alexandra Cooper novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She lives with her husband in Manhattan and on Martha’s Vineyard.


Linda Fairstein is passionate about putting sex offenders behind bars and had done just that many times, both in real life -- as one of New York City's premier sex crimes prosecutors -- and in her fiction, with her popular series of Alex Cooper mysteries.

Born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, Fairstein attended Vassar College, where she majored in English literature. She went on to receive a law degree from the prestigious University of Virginia School of Law in 1972. In November of that year, Fairstein was assigned to the staff of the New York County District Attorney's office and was soon heading up the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit, where she developed a reputation as one of the toughest prosecutors in the office's history. Fairstein spent the next two decades dedicating herself to nailing the worst of the city's sexual offenders, working on such high-profile cases as the Preppy Murder and the Central Park Jogger.

In 1993, Fairstein was named "Woman of the Year" by New Woman and Glamour magazines. A year later, her groundbreaking nonfiction book, Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, was named a Notable Book by The New York Times.

Fairstein's first foray into fiction writing was 1994's Final Jeopardy, which introduced the tough, savvy assistant D.A. Alexandra "Alex" Cooper -- a character close to the author's own identity -- who was well received by fans and critics. As Publishers Weekly noted, Alex's "greatest appeal lies in the warmth of her friendships, the humanness of her mistakes and her unswerving devotion to protecting the next female from harm."

Since then, Fairstein has continued to chronicle Alex Cooper's crime-solving adventures in a string of bestsellers that draws on the author's thoroughgoing knowledge of the legal system and longtime affection for the Big Apple. A believer in public service, Fairstein sits on the board of directors of several nonprofit groups, among them the National Center for Victims of Crime, Phoenix House Foundation, and New York Women's Agenda, and has also served on President Clinton's Violence Against Women Advisory Council, New York Women's Agenda Domestic Violence Committee, the American College of Trial Lawyers, The Women's Forum, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

In an interview on her publisher's web site, Fairstein explains that her career and her life's mission are one in the same: "I think so much more is possible in terms of what we are able to give women who have been victims of violence and how they can triumph in a courtroom," Fairstein reflects. "So to take this -- the professional life I've had over the last 30 years and to mix it with the great pleasure of writing -- is something I never dreamed I'd actually be able to accomplish."

Good To Know

Fairstein is married to Justin Feldman, a lawyer who helped run Robert F. Kennedy's 1964 United States Senate campaign.

Fairstein has admitted to having her eye on the post of United States Attorney General, and in fact interviewed for that position in 1993.

Cold Hit made President Clinton's highly-publicized vacation reading list in 1999.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 5, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Mount Vernon, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Vassar College, 1969; J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1972
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


“How many bodies?”

“Six, Ms. Cooper. So far we got six dead. But there’s a mean rip and a swift current out there. Anybody’s guess what’s going to wash up by the end of the day.”

I was walking toward the ocean behind a cop sent to escort me from my car, following him on the path that had been formed in the dunes by the first responders who had tracked across it two hours earlier, at daybreak.

“One woman?” I asked.

“What?” The cop cupped his hand to his ear as he turned to look at me. The gust of wind that blew a clump of damp sand against the side of my face also carried off my words.

“The news is reporting that one of the victims is a young woman.”

“We got two now. Girls, really. Teenagers at best. Four men and two girls.”

I stopped at the crest of the dune and scanned the horizon. Dozens of police officers were scattered along a quarter mile of beach, their blue uniforms a deeper color than the rough Atlantic. Detectives in windbreakers and all-weather jackets looked slightly less

incongruous in this unlikely setting, some scouring the shoreline while others gathered around the survivors who had been brought to land.

“That’s it,” the cop said, pointing at the rusted freighter that was grounded on a sandbar about three hundred yards out to sea, listing to port, as police launches and Coast Guard boats darted around it. “Golden Voyage. That’s the name of the ship they sailed on.”

Golden Voyage my ass,” Mike Chapman said, coming up beside me, adjusting his sunglasses as he spoke. “It must have been the crossing from hell. Happy New Year, Coop.”

“Same to you, Mike. Although this doesn’t get it off to a particularly pleasant start.”

“I got her from here, pal,” Mike said, dismissing the cop. “You warm enough?”

“I’m fine. Battaglia called me at home this morning,” I said, referring to my boss, the district attorney of New York County. “Did you just arrive?”

We were both dressed in jeans. I had a cashmere sweater under my ski jacket, with gloves and a scarf to protect myself against the brisk January day. Mike wore a white turtleneck beneath his trademark navy blazer. The winter cold never bothered him, any more than the sight of a corpse.

“Nope. Human trafficking—you don’t get worse scumbags than the guys who deal in flesh. All the squads got called in right away. Every borough,” he said. “I was doing a midnight so I shot out here from a crack den in Harlem. Just went back to the car now to get my shades. The glare on the water’s a killer.”

Mike was one of the best detectives in the city, assigned to Manhattan North Homicide, which handled every case from Fifty-ninth Street to the northern tip of the island. We’d been professional partners—and close friends—for more than a decade.

“Where do you want to start?” he asked me. People were swarming across the beach like armies of insects. “The tent over there to the left on that paved area—that’s the temporary morgue.

The group in the middle, we’ve got more than a hundred victims off the wreck so far, trying to get them in dry clothes. The commissioner is due in by chopper any minute now.”

“Who’s in charge?” I asked.

“Feebies, kid. The feds are running the operation. Your buddy from the task force, Donovan Baynes. His group is trying to set up a command center on the right. Hardest thing,” Mike said, starting down the slope, “is holding the press at bay. Roping them off on the street is easy, but keeping the helicopters and power boats away is more of a problem, now that news has spread. C’mon.”

“Take me to Baynes, okay?”

“Battaglia doesn’t let go, I’ll give him that. Rockaway Beach—the Irish Riviera—this is Queens, for Chrissake. That parking lot where the morgue is, it’s over the line in Nassau County. What makes him think he has jurisdiction here?” Mike’s loafers made a crunching sound as they pounded the sand while we toured the scene. His straight black hair, gleaming in the sunlight, was blowing wildly as he walked into the wind.

“Global and mobile. That’s how he likes to think of himself. He’s been DA for so long he doesn’t believe there’s anything that limits him,” I said. “That’s why he fought so hard to get me on the task force.”

Human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery, wasn’t even on the books until federal laws addressing it were enacted in 2000. Before that, prosecutors had patched together local legislation to attempt to punish the handful of individuals who could be linked to efforts to transport victims across borders, coercing them to work at everything from agricultural labor to child prostitution.

“Good morning, Counselor,” a detective greeted me as we approached the group of men encircling Donovan Baynes. “Chapman, how many interpreters did you call for?”

“A boatload. Why? How many you got so far?”

“Two. Only two have showed up.”

“What language?” I asked, trying to process the sight of scores

of dazed victims who were wrapped in blankets, staring out at the shipwreck, undoubtedly looking for family members and friends.

“Ukrainian,” Mike said. “Why? You ever do a Ukrainian, kid? A little pillow talk and your Ukrainian could be almost as good as your French.”

I had just returned from Paris two days earlier—on Monday—where I spent the New Year holiday with my lover, Luc Rouget. The more about my personal life I kept from Mike, the more he needled me. “No surprise. Since the Soviet collapse, Ukraine leads Eastern Europe in the number of trafficking victims.”

“What do you want me to do about it, Chapman?” the detective asked. “We got to move these guys off the beach before they freeze their balls off. Sorry, ma’am.”

“Nobody’s gonna freeze today. It’s almost fifty degrees,” Mike said, not breaking his stride. “Send some cars over to Little Odessa. Go to a few coffee shops and grab anybody who’s sitting still.”

“Where’s that?”

“Brighton Beach. Right next door, in Brooklyn. You’re like Coop—you need a road map to the Outer Boroughs.”

Brighton had been built as a local beach resort in the 1860s, named for the English coastal town in a contest held by its developers. In the 1970s, it was nicknamed Little Odessa because of the large concentration of immigrants from that Black Sea city, once one of the great ports of Imperial Russia.

Donovan Baynes waved as he saw us approaching. I’d known the forty-one-year-old since his days as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was surrounded by four men, three of them agents I recognized from our task force meetings. “Hurry up, Alex. Glad you’re here. I think you know everybody.”

I shook hands and introduced myself to the unfamiliar man. He appeared to be in his early fifties, barefoot and dressed in a wetsuit that was sculpted to his well-muscled body. “Hi, I’m Alexandra Cooper. Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.”

“Stu Carella. Used to be homicide, NYPD. Guess you don’t remember me, but we met at a few crime scenes when I was still on the job. The dancer at the Met, the broad who was kidnapped at Fort Tilden,” he said, then nodded at Mike. “I see she’s still stalking you, Chapman.”

“My order of protection expired, Stu. I asked the judge to keep her three hundred feet away and to tell her to stop stealing my underwear, but she’s out of control again. Be careful, man, Coop’s a sucker for guys in tights.”

“Let me bring you up to speed, Alex,” Baynes said, ignoring Mike’s chatter as he put his arm around my shoulder. He’d been around the two of us enough to know this was standard operating procedure for Mike. Behind us were the high-rise buildings of the Rockaways—mostly nursing homes at this end—and the smaller residences that bordered the beach. “About five of the vics have been debriefed. The ship left Sevastopol more than a month ago, with close to three hundred people on board, mainly men, but at least thirty women and children.”

I looked out at the decrepit cargo ship, amazed that it had made it here from Europe.

“Smugglers find the villagers living the most desperate lives, promise them jobs and a better life in America. Take every nickel they’ve managed to save, claiming to use it to feed them on the trip. Bribe officials. You know all that. They trucked these folks from small towns all over their country and loaded them into sweltering holds on board the ship, then began dodging immigration police throughout the Mediterranean.”

“They got all this way only to run aground here and die within sight of land,” I said. The stories I’d heard from trafficking victims were heartbreaking, but at least those who were rescued by law enforcement agencies often had a second chance.

“It wasn’t an accident,” Baynes continued, turning to his deputy. “The leader of the operation in New York—well, what do you call a snakehead in Ukrainian?”

“A friggin’ snakehead, Donny,” Mike said. “You brainiacs got to go to law school to figure that out? It’s the same in any language.”

Ages ago, the Chinese perfected the ugly practice of smuggling human beings, called snakes, for slave labor. Ringleaders of the inhumane syndicates had long been known as snakeheads.

“The boss of the operation is somewhere in this city. When the captain got close to shore just after midnight, he radioed his contact, who was supposed to send a small fleet of speedboats out to pick up the passengers,” Baynes went on. “Two, three hours went by and no sign of escorts. Apparently, the anxiety level of the immigrants who’d been pigeonholed for weeks went over the top. The first handful of men had been brought up on deck to be unloaded, and one of them got frantic when he saw a vessel with government markings coming toward them.”

“Coast Guard?” I asked.

“We haven’t gotten that far, Alex. No agency we know of has claimed yet that they tried to intercept the ship.”

Mike picked up the story. “That first group just went berserk and staged a mutiny, according to two of the guys who made it ashore. They locked the captain in his cabin with a few of the other managers. Some of the men were in such despair about being caught by immigration that they started jumping overboard to swim in.”

“That water must be frigid,” I said.

“Frigid? Don’t go showing off your area of expertise, Coop. That’s why we hauled Stu out of retirement.”

“Like I was just telling Donovan,” Carella said, “I’m in the Polar Bear Club here at Coney Island. We swim every Sunday, all winter long. Just had our big New Year’s party five days ago. Not so bad for the Atlantic. Forty-three degrees. Some hypothermia, maybe. Everybody will be watching out for that today. Cold water doesn’t have to be fatal, Alex.”

“But at least six people have died.”

Carella shook his head. “Probably drowned.”

“Drowned? The ship is so close to shore. The water isn’t even that deep.”

“Panic kills, Coop. Everybody who works on water knows that.”


“Can you believe it? Not all the peasants in Europe grew up with a pool in the backyard like you did, princess.”

Shouts went up from the crowd of victims and several of them broke through a line of cops, running almost thirty yards eastward to the water’s edge. Stu Carella dashed after the frantic young men and passed beyond them as he dove into the surf, where something that looked like a large rag doll was lifted again and flopped around by a tall wave that kept licking at the sand. He and three cops in scuba gear grabbed and carried another body onto the beach. One of the men immediately crouched in an effort to resuscitate the limp corpse.

I started after them and Donovan Baynes pulled me back. “Let it be, Alex. They know what they’re doing.”

“How many do you think jumped ship?” I wanted to make myself useful, but all the specialized squads of the NYPD were well-trained for this kind of disaster.

“It’s impossible to get an accurate count at this point. One fellow they’ve talked to explained that when the mutineers began to struggle with the captain, he tried to steer the damn thing away from shore, back out into the open sea. Making that turn, he ran the ship aground on a shallow sandbar. Some of the victims figured they were so close to the beach they could reach land—even several who didn’t know how to swim. Maybe twenty jumped. Maybe forty. Nobody seems to know yet.”

“The men you’ve talked to, do they know where they thought they were going?” I asked.

“Nobody told them the truth, Alex. It’s the usual scam,” Donovan said. “You’ve been there—people who don’t see a future for themselves and want to believe in a dream, but wake up in the middle of a nightmare. Countrymen were supposed to meet them right here in Queens and bring them into their homes until they’re placed in jobs—mostly agricultural ones—in farms upstate and in the Midwest. Those would be the men, the lucky ones.”

“The young women would become your territory,” Mike said.

I had seen this time after time in my role as chief sex crimes prosecutor in the DA’s office—girls abducted from their homes in Thailand or Montenegro, running away from abusive parents and desolate lives in Sri Lanka or Serbia, smuggled across borders in car trunks or leaky boats, often following their brothers or schoolmates, hoping that hard work and physical labor would eventually gain them the freedom of a new life in the States.

But the girls rarely made it to farmlands and fields. The sex trade had become a huge transnational industry, as lucrative as it could be deadly. The teenagers on the Golden Voyage were doubtless bound for basements and brothels, to be broken in by their owners for the months and years of prostitution that awaited them in the promised land.

“Is there any way to identify these victims?” I asked.

“No better than usual. Each one is supposed to have a piece of paper with his or her family name and town of origin in their pockets when they ship out,” Baynes said. “Most of them tossed or swallowed the paper as the police launches arrived. The brother of one of the dead girls is among the few who are talking. He dove in and she tried to follow.”

A lanky man sat at the corner of the tented morgue, with a gray blanket covering his head and upper body. I couldn’t tell whether he was shaking from the cold or because he was crying so hard.

Stu Carella was making his way back to us, refusing the offer of an NYPD sweatshirt that one of the cops thrust at him.

“Another kid gone,” Carella said, throwing a tuft of algae at the ground in disgust. “Probably drowned in three feet of water, unable to handle the pull of the rip.”

“From his hand?” Mike knelt down and picked up the slimy green vegetation with the tip of his pen.


Mike whistled and the closest cops looked up. He signaled one, who jogged to us. “Carry this over to the medical examiner. Goes with that latest body.”

The fact that the victim had been clutching algae, and I’d bet a handful of sand, as he was dragged across the ocean floor meant that he had been alive when he went into the water. Drowning, I had learned over the years, was a diagnosis of exclusion. A complete autopsy would be necessary for each of the Golden Voyagers who had washed up on the windy beach, despite how obvious the circumstances appeared to be to us.

“What do you plan to do, Donny?” I asked. “I mean, with the survivors.”

There was no good answer to this question. It was commonplace for these individuals whose lives at home were already overcome with despair to risk everything for this run to freedom, only to find themselves handcuffed in the backseat of a patrol car to begin the next leg of their ugly journey. A few might eventually be granted political asylum, some would be deported, but the majority would wind up in immigrant detention centers somewhere in the heartland of America.

Baynes stammered as he surveyed the bleak scene stretched out across the waterfront.

“I—I haven’t had an operation of this size since I—uh—since I was appointed to the task force. Frankly, I don’t know what becomes of these poor souls.”

The noise overhead was a police helicopter, probably carrying Commissioner Keith Scully, whom Donovan, Mike, and I all knew well.

“Not jail,” I said. “We can’t let them rot in jail while we sort it out.”

“Scully’s too smart for that,” Mike said.

“You’ll have to start working with the women right away, Alex,” Baynes said. “We’ll have them checked out medically and then each one needs to be interviewed. You’ve got backup?”

“The senior people in the bureau will be on it with me.” I had a great team of lawyers assigned to my unit by Battaglia, experienced in the courtroom and compassionate in their interactions with traumatized victims.

I could hear wailing now, a cacophony of voices that seemed like it could carry for miles. Cops were trying to move a small cluster of bedraggled survivors toward the dunes, to the vans waiting in the street that would shuttle them to whatever police facility Scully designated. The men were refusing to separate from their comrades despite prodding—all still focused on the others being ferried ashore, all still searching the waves for signs of missing friends.

“C’mon, Coop. You’ll rerun this movie in your brain all day and all night,” Mike said, taking my arm to turn me away from the sight. “You got what Battaglia sent you for. Donovan’s not doing anything on this case without your input.”

My feet were firmly planted in the sand. “I want to talk to Scully, Mike. Let go.”

“Scully’s running late.”

My head whipped around as I recognized the voice of Mercer Wallace. I squinted in the sunlight and shaded my eyes with my hand to look up at him. His six-foot-six frame towered over my shivering five-foot-ten-inch body.

“Good to have you here, buddy,” Baynes said, shaking his hand. “We’ve got a monster of a problem on our hands.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 81 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 28, 2010

    One of Her Best!

    This is one of the best in this series. Very complex and wonderful twists and turns. I'm in love with these characters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hell Gate

    HELL GATE begins with a shipwreck loaded with human cargo. One of the dead has a connection with a local politician (his lover has the same tattoo). Are they truly related or is it a coincidence? Alex Cooper an ADA and two NYPD detectives try to connect the dots. I have just started reading this series, but I must say that Linda Fairstein does a great job with her research and descriptive narratives of New York City architecture and history. I found this as interesting as the story itself. The camaraderie between Alex and Mike (one the detectives) is enjoyable, especially when they are always betting one another on the answers to Final Jeopardy. Although, this story wasn't as thrilling as some of the previous ones, it was still a good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Alex Cooper's back and better than ever

    Linda Fairstein shines again in her latest installment of the life and times of Alex Cooper. Those of us who know Alex from her previous adventures will be ecstatic for this one.
    Ms. Fairstein gives us a mystery/thriller that could be taken off the front page of any newspaper or the headlines of any TV news magazine. Alex finds herself knee deep in victims trying to be illegally smuggled into the US and criminals who always appear to be one step ahead of her. But in addition, there's an underlying crime where young girls while looking for a better life find themselves at the mercy of human traffickers. Linda once again brings us her expertise and knowledge as she takes her readers on a journey of legalese and cop speak, a journey down the darkest alleys of human suffering. Her dialogue while eloquent can also take on a gritty edge as she takes her readers on that journey. Her starring characters of Alex, Mike and Mercer still wow us and while familiar, still surprise us as we get more in depth looks into their lives with each new adventure.
    Be prepared to be furious, to be saddened, and sickened by this intensely riveting novel. It will be a wild ride for the senses and emotions. It will appeal to all Alex Cooper fans as well as hard core mystery lovers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    highly recommended

    excellent book! great read anytime!!!

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommend

    I've read every one of her books and have never been disappointed. Love the characters and how they care about each other. Can't wait to read her next book.

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  • Posted May 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Loved the characters and the build it to the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:


    If you want to learn about New York history, then this is a good read, but if you are looking for a fast paced mystery, look elsewhere. Very slow moving, too many characters, not enough suspense. Will not be trying another Linda Fairstein novel.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Unnecessary Romantic Angle Spoils Great Series

    I always enjoy the Alex Cooper books, but I'm slightly disappointed that I told my husband the big plot twist about a third of the way through, and not only was I right, but even when faced with the truth, Alex didn't get it, and had a hard time believing it.
    I'm interested to see where the maybe-romance between Mike and Alex goes, but it almost feels cheap. I've always loved the friendships between Mercer, Mike, and Alex, and this feels somewhat forced. Especially in light of the fact that Alex is in a serious relationship w/Luke, and Mike just started something with someone else.
    The sex trafficking angle was interesting, and different for this series, but I found myself really interested in the history of New York's early bigwigs and the estates they left behind.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Great Read!

    From the opening scenes on the beach to the exciting conclusion, this newest book from Linda Fairstein doesn't disappoint. I always enjoy learing about the history of New York while being entertained by a great, well-crafted mystery. The continuing development of the relationship between Alex Cooper and Mike Chapman is a plus, and it's obvious Ms. Fairstein knows intimately how the criminal justice system works (or doesn't work!). I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Linda Fairstein knows how to weave a mystery around lots of interesting NYC facts!

    I love ready Linda Fairstein's books. I learn so much about NYC and its surrounding areas that I never knew before. She finds a way to write a first rate mystery and educate you at the same time. What more could you ask for? It's always fun to read her books, and hard to put them down once you've started.

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  • Posted April 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    New York Rose

    This book is a pretty good read, much better that the last one in the series. The historical observations are interesting to someone who loves New York, perhaps less so to others. I liked them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Series

    Linda Fairstein is a wonderful author and her Alexandra Cooper series is great! I always look forward to this series; Fairstein's books have likeable and believable characters and the plot is never disappointing to me. Hell Gate is no exception. In my opinion, Fairstein gets better with each Alexandra Cooper book! Hell Gate is suspenseful and I became so involved wanting to know what was going to happen that I could not put the book down! If you have not read the entire series, I would definitely recommend starting with the first Alexandra Cooper book. You will not be disappointed. I hope Fairstein gives us many more books in the Alexandra Cooper series.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Okay Read

    It seems Ms. Fairstein is becoming more and more an unofficial historical guide for New York City. Wish her books would focus more on her lead character's true profession of law.

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    linda keeps you interested for more

    great book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010


    Another in a series of terrific mysteries; one of my favorite authors and heroines.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Her best

    As usual Linda keeps your interest. It is one of her best yet. Besides the great story that takes place around Gracie Mansion she makes you want to go see the view of Hells Gate from the mansion grounds. Also tells you some of the history of the mansion, Alexander Hamilton's Grange, and another mansion in Harlem. The villains are the most powerful men in the city.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Linda Fairstein Again Provides a Facinating Read.

    I can never wait for the paperback to come out. Within days of the new release I have to get Miss Fairstein's books. They never disappoint and are well worth the purchase. If the answer is "The best writer of suspense fiction taking place in historical setting in New York City", the question is"Who is Linda Fairstein"?

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  • Posted March 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another great read from Linda Fairstein . . .

    I always know I will enjoy myself with the latest offering from Linda Fairstein. These books are so masterfully crafted with well-woven plots that keep you glued to each page from beginning to end. One question that comes to mind, though, is why the author keeps referring to the type of relationship that Alex and Mike share? . . it almost makes me squirm to think it would develop any further and ruin these stories. It didn't help Kay Scarpetta and Pete Moreno to take it a step further in Patricia Cornwell's books. It is possible to have a platonic relationship between men and women who are well-respected colleagues. Keep giving us these great reads, Ms. Fairstein, but nix the romantic angle to Alex and Mike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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