Killer Heat (Alexandra Cooper Series #10)

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Overview

It's August in New York, and the only thing that's hotter than the pavement is Manhattan D.A. Alex Cooper's personal and professional life. Just as she's claiming an especially gratifying victory in a rape case, she gets the call: the body of a young woman has been found in an abandoned building. The brutality of the murder is disturbing enough, but when a second body is found in Brooklyn, beaten and disposed of in the exact same manner, the city's top brass want the killer found fast. Relying on razor sharp ...
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Killer Heat (Alexandra Cooper Series #10)

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Overview

It's August in New York, and the only thing that's hotter than the pavement is Manhattan D.A. Alex Cooper's personal and professional life. Just as she's claiming an especially gratifying victory in a rape case, she gets the call: the body of a young woman has been found in an abandoned building. The brutality of the murder is disturbing enough, but when a second body is found in Brooklyn, beaten and disposed of in the exact same manner, the city's top brass want the killer found fast. Relying on razor sharp instincts, a whip-smart partner, and one big break Alex races to find the killer and keep him from killing again, even if it's at her own peril.

Copy and paste the URL below into your browser to download a free pdf of Linda Fairstein's new novel, Hell Gate, available in hardcover March 2010:
http://knopfdoubleday.com/marketing/Hell_Gate_Chapter_1.pdf

From the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Hot nights, summer in the city, and New York D.A. Alex Cooper is feeling both pretty and overworked. While trying to get through her busy crime-fighting schedule, she's also attempting to find some time to hook up with a handsome restaurateur. But this is clearly no ripe time for romance: A hyperactive serial killer is on the loose, and with memories of the "Summer of Sam" thick in the air, the city fathers are eager to put the case to rest. Complex characters; realistic situations.
From the Publisher
“One of the best crime writers in fiction today.”

Nelson DeMille

“Fairstein . . . makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase."
New York Times

From the Paperback edition.

Publishers Weekly

At the start of bestseller Fairstein's nail-biting 10th legal thriller to feature alter ego Alex Cooper (after 2006's Bad Blood), the Manhattan ADA takes a hit from a cigar at the urging of her longtime police ally, Mike Chapman-to cover the stench of a badly decomposed female body at a crime scene in an abandoned building near the Staten Island ferry. The victim later proves to be the first of a number of women in uniform targeted by the murderer, who may have military ties in his past. The trail leads to a notorious bar catering to underage drinkers, before a chance observation by a civilian shifts the inquiry dramatically. Meanwhile, Cooper is preparing to try Floyd Warren, a rapist whose first trial three decades earlier ended in a hung jury. Fairstein, whose professional résumé includes groundbreaking work in the field of sex crimes prosecution, manages to both entertain and educate, as Cooper struggles with the evidentiary challenges of the Warren rape case and with tracking a vicious serial killer. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In her tenth Alexandra Cooper thriller (after Bad Blood ), Fairstein delivers a scorcher of a crime novel-her hottest yet. The assistant DA alternates between the courtroom and crime scenes amid the sweltering summer heat of Manhattan. As she works to convict a serial rapist accused of over 50 rapes in a 35-year-old cold case, verbal and physical threats from vengeance-seeking drug-gang members heat up the courtroom. Alex is called to a crime scene in an abandoned government building, and soon two other young women vanish. Similarities in the cases suggest the possibility of a serial killer, and Alex and colleagues Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace brave rising temperatures and isolated locations in hot pursuit of the killer. Partly based on a 2006 crime, the novel delivers taut suspense, action-packed chases, historical glimpses of Manhattan, and a smattering of romance. Readers will not want to put down this red-hot thriller until they've turned the final page. It's essential for all public libraries.-Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper, head of the Manhattan DA's Special Victims Unit, pursues a serial predator who has graduated to murder. Airline desk agent Elise Huff has been missing a week from her job at La Guardia when the NYPD gets a report of a woman's corpse in the old Battery Maritime Building. But the young woman who's been handcuffed, tortured and strangled isn't Elise; it's Amber Bristol, a legal secretary who doubles as an escort and dominatrix. Elise's body turns up in a desolate stretch of reeds near Brooklyn's Belt Parkway, killed under circumstances that strongly suggest a serial murderer even before the discovery of the inevitable third victim on Bannerman Island. Alex would love to give her full attention to the crimes, but first she has to wrap up the 35-year-old case of a woman whose bail-jumping assailant, conclusively identified by DNA evidence unavailable in 1973, has to be tried under the antiquated rules of his original courtroom appearance. And Alex's prosecution is hampered by the Latin Princes, a gang determined to harass her (and maybe worse) because she locked up their kingpin. Both cases feature all the gritty forensics, exhaustive procedural detail and moral outrage you'd expect of this franchise (Bad Blood, 2007, etc.). Both are atmospheric and absorbing enough to keep you turning pages until the nail-biting climax on Governors Island. But because Fairstein never develops a relation between the two cases, each one seems like a distraction from the other. And a string of intriguing subplots-a super with a history of beating his girlfriends, a journalist who dallied with the dominatrix, a turf battle with the FBI-only muddy the waters. All of Fairstein'saccustomed strengths and weaknesses are on prominent display. Fans will love the result; nonfans aren't likely to be converted. First printing of 200,000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307750914
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Series: Alexandra Cooper Series , #10
  • Format: CD
  • Sales rank: 523,781
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 5.16 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Fairstein
New York Times bestselling author LINDA FAIRSTEIN is one of America’s foremost legal experts on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence. She lives in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard.

Biography

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

Killer Heat


By Linda Fairstein

Doubleday

Copyright © 2008 Linda Fairstein
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780385523974

ONE


Mike Chapman bit into the tip of a Cohiba and held the match to the end of his thick cigar, drawing several deep breaths to make certain it was lighted.

"Take a few hits, Coop," he said, passing it to me.

I shook my head.

"The stench from that corpse is going to stay in your brain for weeks unless you infuse it right away with something more powerful. Why do you think I've always got a couple of these in my pocket?"

I took the cigar from Mike and rolled it between my fingers.

"Don't look at the damn thing. Smoke it. That broad's been decomposing for days in an empty room during a summer heat wave. Wrap your lips around that sucker and inhale till the smoke comes through your nose and ears, and maybe even from between your toes."

I put it to my lips, coughing as the harsh tobacco taste filled my mouth and lungs. There were no overhead lights above the concrete barriers we sat on at the intersection of South Street and Whitehall, which dead-ended at the East River, near the southernmost tip of Manhattan. "There's no air out here. Not even a breeze off the water."

"Almost midnight and it's still ninety-seven degrees. She's cooking in that room," Mike said, tossing his head in the direction of the crime scenethat he'd been working for the last three hours. His black hair glistened with sweat, and the perspiration on his shirt made the cotton cloth cling to his chest. "Whatever body parts were left intact will be fried by the time they bag her."

"Are you going with the guys to the morgue?" I asked.

"Might be the coolest place in town tonight. You into refrigerated boxes?"

"I'll pass. Are they almost done?"

"The ME was ready to call it quits when the maggot maven showed up."

The putrefaction of the woman's body, which had been left to rot in the abandoned government offices over the old ferry slip, offered an irresistible opportunity to swarms of summer flies, which entered to lay their eggs and leave their offspring to nourish themselves on her flesh.

The blast of the horn from the Staten Island Ferry, its giant orange hull sliding out of the pier from the enormous modern terminal just twenty yards downriver, startled me. We were half a mile south of the bustling marketplace that had once been the South Street Seaport, flanking the glittering towers of Wall Street, outside what seemed like the only building in the downtown area that had been neglected alongside the water's flotsam and jetsam.

I stood up from the concrete barrier and looked over my shoulder at the entrance to the deserted slips--three vaulted openings that led to the water, supporting a raised porch and the offices in which the body had been found, centered between forty-foot-tall columns that faced Whitehall. Crumbling wooden pilings bordered the walkway behind me, while trash floated and bobbed among the large rocks in the water ten feet below.

"Jumpy already?" Mike smiled at me as he held the open collar of his shirt between his thumb and forefinger, waving it back and forth as though the cloth might actually dry out despite the oppressive humidity. "You don't even know what happened to her yet."

"Has he got any ideas about how long the woman's been dead?" The cigar smoke filtered up through my nostrils, overwhelming the pungent odor of death.

"Bug juice, Madam Prosecutor. The good Dr. Magorski likes to bring this whole thing down to when he figures the flies laid the maggots which finished feasting and then sat on the floorboards and pupated. He's picking up the pupal cases to take to his lab. It's a slow process," Mike said, dismissing the expert with a flip of his hand.

The forensic entomologist had been called to the scene by the young medical examiner who first responded to the detectives' notification. I had watched Magorski work several other cases, clipping a pair of lenses that looked like tiny microscopes over his thick eyeglasses while he scoured the body and its surroundings for signs of insect life--with its predictable cycles that might help establish a time of death.

"I understand. But do you think he's useful?"

"I want you to keep puffing on that thing till you turn a pale shade of green."

"I feel like I'm coming up on chartreuse," I said, brushing wisps of damp hair off my forehead with the back of my hand.

"Personally, I think he's a waste of resources. Is she dead more than a week? Yeah. Less than two? My money's on that. The only reason everybody south of Forty-second Street didn't notice the odor is because this place is so isolated, except for the decaying fish remains and sewage right below where she was found."

"That's still a pretty big window of opportunity."

"Once we ID the broad, it won't take long for some joker to tell us the last time she showed up at work or a girlfriend to say what domestic tiff sped her out the door of her apartment. Stick with real detective work, kid. I never met a bug with a gold shield."

I had seen more than my share of bodies as the prosecutor in charge of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for the last decade. The black humor of many cops and colleagues, an effort to defuse these ugly situations, did nothing to ease my revulsion.

"Hey, Chapman," a rookie in uniform called out to Mike from the porch of the old ferry slip. "They're bringing her out now. You and Ms. Cooper can come back up."

On the roadway opposite the aging terminal, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive sank below ground to loop under the Battery and reemerge as the West Side Highway. The far side of the tunnel entrance, dozens of glass and steel office towers--many of their windows still lit--formed the dense, narrow canyons of the city's financial district.

"Sorry to drag you down here. I really thought it might be your girl," Mike said. He knew I had been assigned to an unsolved case involving a young woman who'd gone missing the week before.

We watched as the MEs van backed into the loading dock and the attendant opened the rear doors, ready to receive the body bag.

"Looked like a good possibility till the wig came off and we realized her hair wasn't red," he went on.

Mike was a second-grade detective assigned to the Manhattan North Homicide Squad. His usual turf stretched from north of Fifty-ninth Street, uptown through the Harlems and the Heights to the narrow waterway that separated the island from the Bronx. But the end of summer, despite the spike in murders that usually accompanied a dramatic rise in the temperature, was also the time many cops took their vacation. The two squads, now short of manpower in late August, combined forces to respond to every murder in Manhattan.

We stopped talking when four men--one from the medical examiner's office and three uniformed officers from the First Precinct--emerged from the dark mouth of the building with their charge. There were no other spectators, no need for them to walk as though they were pallbearers, struggling to balance the coffin. The foursome loped along with the body, heaving it onto the stretcher inside the van, jerking it from side to side to position it before they strapped it into place for the ride up the drive to the morgue.

"None of these 'ologists' can help with the more important questions," Mike said as the driver slammed the double doors. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with his handkerchief, then passed it to me. "Who the hell is she? What brought her to this godforsaken place? Why hasn't anybody noticed she was out of commission before tonight? What kind of monster am I looking for? I can't even think straight it's so hot."

"No other missing-person reports?" I pressed the damp cloth to the back of my neck.

"Nothing that fits. Two African-American women--one from the Bronx and the other a chronic runaway from Queens--an Asian tourist, an old lady with dementia who hasn't come home in a week, but definitely a blue-rinse dye job. Your case is the only one that seemed a possible match."

As the assistant district attorney who supervised sex crimes, I had partnered with Mike for more than a decade. I was at my desk in the criminal courthouse when he called me several hours earlier, asking for more details about the physical description of the twenty-two-year-old woman--Elise Huff--who had gone missing more than a week earlier. The investigation had been handed to me two days after her disappearance by my boss, Paul Battaglia, now in his fifth term as Manhattan's district attorney.

"Elise is a redhead. Natural."

She had disappeared after a night of barhopping with a girlfriend, who split from her at 3:00 a.m. when she had been unable to convince Elise to go home. Elise's parents had pressed their congressman, in Tennessee, to lean on Battaglia to ramp up the search for their daughter, assuming that she might have been the target of a sexual predator.

"That's why I called you out. This one," Mike said, pointing at the taillights of the van that carried the woman away, "was a redhead when I showed up, till the medical examiner rolled her face to the side and the damn wig fell off."

The synthetic auburn mane had been straight, lustrous, and obviously expensive when I looked at it earlier with the aid of Mike's flashlight. It had covered a shock of short curly hair--dark brown--the only distinguishable feature still visible on the head and body.

Mike took the cigar from me as we walked under the archway and back into the terminal, toward the staircase. His cheeks hollowed as he sucked in several deep breaths before handing it back. "Inhale once more, Coop."

Climbing the steps behind Mike, I smiled at his constant attempts to protect me from the more horrific parts of our job. Hal Sherman was setting up the battery-run lighting system that would allow him to take dozens more photographs of the grim room from which the body had been removed. Within the confines of this space--no more than thirty feet long and twenty wide--the Crime Scene Unit investigators would look for any speck of evidence that might lead to an identification of the victim, her killer, and whatever connection linked them to each other.

"So what's the weapon?" Mike asked.

"Maybe the butt of a gun caused the fracture. Maybe a hammer. The autopsy'll tell you more than I can." Hal put a ruler on the floor, next to what looked like a bloodstain, before he leaned over to snap his picture.

The young ME was certain that the woman had died from a blunt force injury, an impact that had depressed a portion of her skull on the left temple and caused the fatal damage to her brain.

"You make anything of the marks on her face?"

"Yeah. Scope the personals for a guy who likes to dance. Too bad there wasn't much skin left. The bastard must have stomped on her face after he whacked her. I don't know if there's enough of a pattern to get a shoe print, but I shot it from every angle."

I stood still while Mike geared up again--rubber gloves and booties--to go back over every crevice of the dusty room.

"And when uniform arrived?"

"Obliterated everything on the stairs," Hal said, sweeping his arm around the room, then wiping his moustache with his sleeve, "and all over the place."

The glass in each of the five windows that faced the river was shattered, much like the bones of the dead woman's face.

"You guys find anything?" Mike asked the two cops who had been assisting Hal.

"Double-checking. Nothing so far except this--I don't know--looks like a knotted strip of leather. Like the end of a key chain or something." One of them held up a two-inch piece of rawhide.

"This guy was good," the other said. "Must have had lots of time. Maybe even got away clean."

Each man had examined half of the room, and now they switched positions to go over the other's territory. Mike stepped around Hal and stood behind an old wooden desk. He opened the four drawers, flashing his light into them and slamming them shut.

"Government offices. Seems like whoever winds up designing stuff for the city has to take a course in how to make it look dismal."

"What agency was this?" I asked.

"Ports and Terminals."

Three chairs with broken backs lined the far wall. Mike lifted each one and replaced it. He moved toward several crates piled in a corner.

"Don't bother, Chapman. They're as empty as your pockets."

"What did you think about those lines on her wrists?" Mike was crouched on the floor now, measuring the coating of dust with a gloved finger.

"Some kind of ligature. Maybe even cuffs. Hey, Alexandra, you want to wave that cigar around. Where did you get such a good one, Mike?" Hal asked, sniffing the air.

"Coop's boss. All his friends stockpile him with the best Cubans. Only the feds prosecute for trading with the enemy. Not Battaglia. He just lets the evidence go up in smoke."

"You think she was killed here?" I asked.

"Nah. She's a dump job."

"No signs of any struggle, but then that's pretty tough to do when you're bound," Mike said, agreeing with Hal. "Maybe still alive when he brought her up and left her to die. That's why there's blood."

I looked through what was left of the window. The river was dark, a slight chop from the current kicking up an occasional whitecap. A few small boats criss-crossed the harbor, illuminating narrow lines over the water with their headlights.

"Not a trace of her clothing anywhere?" I asked.

"Zip. Looks like we're dealing with a pro, Coop. Felony frequent flier miles. C'mon, I'll put you in a cab. You've got court in the morning."

I said good night to Hal and his crew and went downstairs, careful to avoid the powder on the banister where crime scene cops had dusted for prints.

As we emerged from the mouth of the archway, under the faded print of the sign that said battery maritime building, one of the crime scene cops was waiting for Mike.

"There's something snagged in one of the long wooden splinters of the pilings, Detective. Take a look. I've photographed it there, so let me know if you want me to fish it out."

I followed Mike to the north side of the old structure. He leaned over the wire fencing and his hair gleamed as the officer held a flashlight above his head. I could see an object floating on the surface of the water, its many thick strands splayed like the tentacles of a sea creature.

"Bring it up, Jenks. You got something to hook it with?"

The eager kid ran to the department station wagon and brought out a long metal pole.  He disappeared inside the bay of the old terminal and reappeared on the far side of the fence. He walked along the edge of the building, carefully stepping down and out onto the planks between the tall pilings.

After several attempts to snag the mysterious object, Willy Jenks triumphantly lifted it out of the river, swung the pole over the fence, and dumped it at Mike's feet.

I kneeled beside him and tried to figure out what I was staring at.  Mike removed another rubber glove from his pants pocket and slipped it on before he began to separate the tangled strands.

With his index finger, Mike found what looked like a handle, pulling on it to stretch it out toward my foot.  Then he started to count the strips as he spread them apart on the ground.  "One, two, three…"

I could see that they, too, were made of leather, knotted like the piece the cops had found upstairs.  "What do you--?"

Mike held his finger to his lips to quiet me as he continued to count.  "Six, seven, eight."

The ninth length of rope was missing its knot.

"What is it?"

"Guess you never saw a cat-o’-nine-tails before."

Mike picked up the whip by it’s handle, shook off the water, then raised his arm and cracked it against the asphalt walk.  The sharp sound split the still night air like a gunshot.

"Bound. Tortured. Killed. It’s not a pretty way to die."

Continues...

Excerpted from Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein Copyright © 2008 by Linda Fairstein. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Introduction

“Fairstein . . . makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase.”
The New York Times

The introduction, questions, and suggestions for further reading that follow are designed to stimulate your group's discussion of Linda Fairstein's legal thriller, Killer Heat.

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Foreword

1. What are Alex and Mike able to learn about the killer and the victim from the crime scene depicted in the opening chapter? How did your hunches and theories change as the evidence continued to build?

2. What did Kerry Hastings's experience reveal about the history of prosecuting rapists in America? What cultural shifts had to take place in order for changes to be enacted, such as the broad inclusion of women on juries and an abolishment of a statute of limitations for rape? What would it take to bring about change in countries where rape victims are now treated as criminals?

3. How did Alex's perception of Herb Ackerman change after he revealed his fetish? Which revelations about Amber were useful in finding her killer? What interrogation techniques does Alex rely on to ensure that witnesses are not only trustworthy but also trialworthy?

4. With or without DNA evidence, how would you have reacted to the behavior of the Latin Princes if you had been a juror during Floyd Warren's twenty-first-century trial?

5. Alex often has to confront rivalries between district attorneys and between law enforcement officials with varying jurisdictions. Do these rivalries spark healthy competition, or are they obstacles to justice?

6. In chapter twenty-three, Dickie Draper tries to profile the killer: “Eighteen to thirty-five, tops. Takes a lot of energy to do this. . . . Mostly a white boy's game. . . . And they're never Jewish.” How useful were his assumptions? What distinguishes effective and ineffective profiling?

7. How does it affect your reading to know that the author ran the Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office formore than two decades? How does her experience shape the realism of her books?

8. What makes Luc the ideal match for Alex at this point in her life? How has her profession influenced her love life in previous novels?

9. What does Troy Rasheed's story indicate about the nature of evil? Was his mindset influenced more by his childhood or by his innate nature?

10. How did you react to Nelly Kallin's closing line in chapter thirty-seven: “It's not these bastards' gonads that drive them to assault their victims, Detective. It's their twisted heads”? Did Troy's history change your opinions about pharmaceutical “castration”? What is the best way to protect society from such criminals? Should Troy and Floyd be grouped in the same sexual-predator category?

11. Like Kiernan, did you believe that Jimmy Dylan was involved in the murders? How did your perception of the Dylan family shift throughout the novel? How much background screening should a bar be required to do before offering a job to a bouncer?

12. What kept Alex alive during her brutal confrontation with Troy, despite the booby traps he had set, as well as her severe claustrophobia? Could any sort of training or mental conditioning have kept Amber, Elise, Connie, and Pam from being captured by him? What do the victims' diverse backgrounds indicate about the combined randomness and precision in violent criminals?

13. What did you discover about Alex when she was receiving her weapons training? What does her trouble with guns indicate about the major differences between her and Mike? Do her affluent background and her love for ballet and Parisian sojourns make it easier or harder for her to connect with the gritty realities of their casework?

14. In what way does New York itself play a role in the plot of Killer Heat, with references to landmarks ranging from the legendary restaurant Lutèce to the sprawling historic buildings of Governors Island? What did you discover about the military history of New York State through Alex's dispatches to West Point and Governors Island?

15. What transformations have occurred in Alex since her debut in Final Jeopardy? How have her working relationships with Mike and Mercer been enhanced over the years?

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Reading Group Guide

1. What are Alex and Mike able to learn about the killer and the victim from the crime scene depicted in the opening chapter? How did your hunches and theories change as the evidence continued to build?

2. What did Kerry Hastings's experience reveal about the history of prosecuting rapists in America? What cultural shifts had to take place in order for changes to be enacted, such as the broad inclusion of women on juries and an abolishment of a statute of limitations for rape? What would it take to bring about change in countries where rape victims are now treated as criminals?

3. How did Alex's perception of Herb Ackerman change after he revealed his fetish? Which revelations about Amber were useful in finding her killer? What interrogation techniques does Alex rely on to ensure that witnesses are not only trustworthy but also trialworthy?

4. With or without DNA evidence, how would you have reacted to the behavior of the Latin Princes if you had been a juror during Floyd Warren's twenty-first-century trial?

5. Alex often has to confront rivalries between district attorneys and between law enforcement officials with varying jurisdictions. Do these rivalries spark healthy competition, or are they obstacles to justice?

6. In chapter twenty-three, Dickie Draper tries to profile the killer: “Eighteen to thirty-five, tops. Takes a lot of energy to do this. . . . Mostly a white boy's game. . . . And they're never Jewish.” How useful were his assumptions? What distinguishes effective and ineffective profiling?

7. How does it affect your reading to know that the author ran the Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for more than two decades? How does her experience shape the realism of her books?

8. What makes Luc the ideal match for Alex at this point in her life? How has her profession influenced her love life in previous novels?

9. What does Troy Rasheed's story indicate about the nature of evil? Was his mindset influenced more by his childhood or by his innate nature?

10. How did you react to Nelly Kallin's closing line in chapter thirty-seven: “It's not these bastards' gonads that drive them to assault their victims, Detective. It's their twisted heads”? Did Troy's history change your opinions about pharmaceutical “castration”? What is the best way to protect society from such criminals? Should Troy and Floyd be grouped in the same sexual-predator category?

11. Like Kiernan, did you believe that Jimmy Dylan was involved in the murders? How did your perception of the Dylan family shift throughout the novel? How much background screening should a bar be required to do before offering a job to a bouncer?

12. What kept Alex alive during her brutal confrontation with Troy, despite the booby traps he had set, as well as her severe claustrophobia? Could any sort of training or mental conditioning have kept Amber, Elise, Connie, and Pam from being captured by him? What do the victims' diverse backgrounds indicate about the combined randomness and precision in violent criminals?

13. What did you discover about Alex when she was receiving her weapons training? What does her trouble with guns indicate about the major differences between her and Mike? Do her affluent background and her love for ballet and Parisian sojourns make it easier or harder for her to connect with the gritty realities of their casework?

14. In what way does New York itself play a role in the plot of Killer Heat, with references to landmarks ranging from the legendary restaurant Lutèce to the sprawling historic buildings of Governors Island? What did you discover about the military history of New York State through Alex's dispatches to West Point and Governors Island?

15. What transformations have occurred in Alex since her debut in Final Jeopardy? How have her working relationships with Mike and Mercer been enhanced over the years?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

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(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    Check this author out!

    I loved "Killer Heat" so much (Alexandra Cooper series") that I promptly ordered more books in this series and plan to put Linda Fairstein's books on my must-read list of books. I liked the way that Cooper works with the detectives to solve crimes. It's not just all courtroom drama.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bad series, bad book

    I hadn't read a Fairstein in a few years and needed a book to kill the time while traveling so I thought I'd give her latest a try. Big mistake.
    This author writes a dreadful book. Plastic characters, improbable plot, pointless name dropping of New York eateries. The dialog is actually painful to read. Listening to the hyperactive kid sitting near me proved to be more entertaining and less annoying than reading this novel. The book ended up, half read, in the library box. Mebbe they can use it to prop open a door or something.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    No brain strain

    Killer Heat is a good book for relaxing when one does not want to think too much. I have read several books in this series and find Ms. Fairstein's writing better than the average author of this genre. However, the constant juvenile insults by the character Mike are tiresome and does little to endear the character to the reader especially since it seems to be one-sided. Perhaps if Alexandra matched insult for insult, Mike would not come off as an obnoxious 11-year-old boy making armpit noises to get a girl's attention.

    Other readers may enjoy the story always ending up with life threatening situations for Alexandra but since the character is a D.A. and not a cop, I find the inevitable physical danger not believable. Maybe I watch too much Law & Order: SVU but the D.A.'s contribution should be limited to "those who prosecute the offenders" not tagging along with detectives. When does Alexandra have time to prepare her cases for court?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    Another Winner for Fairstein

    This is another in the series of books involving Alexandra Cooper, special prosecutor for sex crimes of the New York District Attorney's office. As usual, the highlight of the book is the interactions between Cooper and the police detectives with whom she regularly works, especially Mike Chapman, the crusty military history buff. Fairstein manages repeatedly in her books to generate lively dialogue between Chapman and Cooper. This is one of the major appeals of her books. This particular book is a bit slower getting started than some, but the effort is rewarded as the plot becomes more convoluted. As usual, this installment in the Alex Cooper series is fun.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another great Fairstein

    Another great read by Linda Fairstein. The Alex Cooper series is always riveting and this one does not let the reader down. I am always captivated by the characters. I only wish the books were more frequent.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Linda Fairstein is one of the best women mystery writers out there today.

    I have read all of the A. Cooper series and i loved them all. I would recommend any or all of them to serious mystery lovers!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    The book that turns up the heat to keep you reading and on the edge of your seat.

    The story is so exciting that it keeps the reader on the edge of their seats.Once you pick up the book you don't want to stop reading until you finish the book.The story has so many twists and turns that the reader just can't wait to find out how the story ends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2008

    Bow Wowwer!

    I liked Linda Fairstein's first two books. I feel her latest endeavor is just plain lousy. I stopped at page 184 and that was after forcing myself to read that far. The book is formulistic and thin. I had no desire to become familiar with a coastline history of New York. The book was touted as a crime novel not a history lesson, but it seems she could not find enough of a story to write, so she used history trivia as a filler. Uninspired. A waste of money. For something entertaining try 'Hold Tight' by Harlan Coben.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    A Most Read.

    One of her best from beginning to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    I tried...I really did

    This just didn't seem up to par for the Alex Cooper series. I kept getting bogged down in all the pages and pages of history lessons, and an interesting subplot got lost somewhere in the middle (muddle?). Frankly, I found myself skipping pages...something I NEVER do in a mystery!

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    ANOTHER STERLING NARRATION BY BLAIR BROWN

    Those who want their heroines tough, strong, and super intelligent know they've found her in Alex Cooper. She's a D.A. in Manhattan and as we meet her again in the tenth offering by Linda Fairstein, she's enjoying victory. It was a tough rape case but Alex won it (and incurred the animus of Latin Princes gang members along the way). Nonetheless, her winning feeling is soon lost as she is notified that the body of a young woman has been found in an abandoned building. Now, author Fairstein knows this territory well as she once headed the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney's Office, and she minces no words. After viewing the victim, Alex is offered a cigar by Mike, a detective with the Manhattan North Homicide Squad. Despite the oppressive August heat he puffs on a stogie and encourages her to take one with this advice, ''The stench from that corpse is going to stay in your brain for weeks unless you infuse it right away with something more powerful. Why do you think I've always got a couple of these in my pocket?' As stated, Alex is tough and while she may be able to get over the sickening smell of death, what she cannot get over is another beaten woman's body found and then a third. Being directed to catch the killer before the city is deadened by fear is one thing, trying to stay alive when those gang members want revenge is quite another. Since the introduction of Alex Cooper in 1996 Ms. Fairstein has turned out nine additional thrillers, each more exciting than the last. Tony Award winner Blair Brown gives another sterling performance in her narration of this spine-tingling novel. - Gail Cooke

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Kitchen Sink

    I like Linda Fairstein's stories, and I especially appreciate the way she incorporates a New York scene into them. Killer Heat, however, needs a lot of streamlining. Either Fairstein tried too hard, or she just tossed in a lot to make it look like a good effort. For me, it was just hard to follow. There was no real tension, especially since the story line kept getting interrupted with subplots, history lessons, and thin characters. Maybe a little criticsm will make the next novel a real thriller.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2008

    A reviewer

    Normally I would read something along the romance department, but i got this book as a gift. Now that I have read this book, I find this to be one of the best on my list. I could not put this book down. Fantastic characters and a real intense story line with suspense. Definately check this one out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    I am an Alex Cooper fan . . .

    I always throughly enjoy Linda Fairstein's Alex Cooper novels. These are well written, expertly developed stories where not a word has been wasted. The author always seems to know what to say in whatever situation her characters find themselves in, and I respect her ability of developing a plot without having the need to include cheaply written, vulgar sexual scenes between her main players. This book was a page turner from beginning to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2008

    Not my normal genre, but I loved it.

    I am not generally drawn to suspense/thriller books, but a very close friend recommended Killer Heat to me and she has yet to recommend a bad book. I would suggest this book to anyone I know. Another great book my friend recently suggested is A Year Since Yesterday, and I was equally as pleased. I had not previously heard of either author, but I will be reading more from both of them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2008

    A reviewer

    The latest Alex Cooper crime novel has it all: exciting police procedural as authorities chase an apparent serial killer in and around Manhattan during an hellacious heatwave, compelling legal thriller with Cooper prosecuting a difficult rape case. And the little-known historical and geographical tidbits sprinkled throughout, along with a healthy dose of forensics, add color to the plot - author Fairstein's multi-faceted talent is truly on display here. My only problem with 'Killer Heat' is that the two main storylines never seem to connect, which would have made the suspense all the more compelling. But that is a small complaint, and I'd highly recommend this to Grisham, Patterson and Cornwell fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2008

    Gripping thriller

    Killer Heat, prosecutor-turned-author Fairstein's 10th book, is by far her best. All of her mysteries feature little-known NYC locales (Poe's house, underground water tunnels) or a behind-the-scenes look at famous institutions (Natural History Museum, Metropolitan Opera House). This one doesn't disappoint, taking the reader from an abandoned ferry terminal downtown to a thrilling conclusion on Governor's Island. Fairstein deftly weaves courtroom drama, real-life cases and thrilling action into a seamless tapestry. The 'Killer Heat' of NYC in the dead of summer provides the steady bass beat to Fairstein's plot. Fabulous!! A perfect '10'.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent legal thriller

    Killer Heat Linda A. Fairstein Doubleday, Mar 2008, $26.00 ISBN: 9780385523974 At the sight of a badly decomposed body in which the stench is so overwhelming, it will psychologically linger for weeks, NYPD Detective Mike Chapman lights up a Cohiba he hands the cigar to Manhattan ADA Alex Cooper to take a ¿few hits¿ in order to give the brain a different olfactory memory. The tortured dead woman is the first homicide of a serial killer. Six more females with apparent military connections will soon die while Mike, Alex and others hunt the predator. At the same time, Cooper argues with defense attorney Gene Grassley in front of Judge Lamont over the retrial of sixty-one years old Floyd Warren accused of rape three decades ago, but the jury was hung and he skipped town before the second trial. Grassley says his client is too old to commit a violent crime while Cooper points out that does not matter as he should do the time even though he will probably die behind bars. Cooper contends he became a serial rapist while Greeley insists he was never arrested. Adding to the circus of the Judge having to apply the ridiculous 1973 statute is cronies of violent convicted rapist Pablo Pasano sit in the courtroom to harass Cooper, who put him behind bars. --- The serial killer investigation is a terrific subplot that would normally carry a novel however, it is the legal issues involving the Warren trial complicated by the Pasano presence that makes the latest Cooper thriller one of the best sub-genre entries of the year so far. The story line is action-packed from the cigar onset and never slows down as the audience feels they are traipsing around the Big Apple during a sever heat wave. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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