The Kills (Alexandra Cooper Series #6)

( 34 )

Overview

Manhattan Assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper is working feverishly on a tough trial, seeking justice for investment banker Paige Vallis. But in a heated "he said, she said" case, Alex learns that Paige herself has something to hide. Uptown, the murder of an elderly woman with an intriguing past has NYPD officer Mercer Wallace and detective Mike Chapman hunting for an item of stunning value that may have cost McQueen Ransome her life: a legendary Double Eagle gold coin. The twisting threads of the seemingly unrelated...

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Overview

Manhattan Assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper is working feverishly on a tough trial, seeking justice for investment banker Paige Vallis. But in a heated "he said, she said" case, Alex learns that Paige herself has something to hide. Uptown, the murder of an elderly woman with an intriguing past has NYPD officer Mercer Wallace and detective Mike Chapman hunting for an item of stunning value that may have cost McQueen Ransome her life: a legendary Double Eagle gold coin. The twisting threads of the seemingly unrelated tragedies soon entangle Alex in a life-and-death struggle in the watery inlets of New Jersey known as the Kills...where a violent predator is determined to silence her forever.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
As Linda Fairstein's numerous fans already know, her Alexandra Cooper novels (Cold Hit, The Deadhouse, The Bone Vault) are a skillful blendof fast-paced action and gripping story development. Fairstein uses a deft touch to fuse complex plots with believable characters in order to produce outstanding thrillers.

This time out, sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper finds herself immersed in two convoluted cases: a date-rape involving a 36-year-old woman and a suspect who also stands accused of abusing his own son; and the murder of an elderly woman named Queenie Ransome, a former WWII spy who stole an Egyptian treasure so valuable it has attracted the attention of both the CIA and the Mob.

In a neat double twist, the book's title refers to both the murderous mayhem of the story and the channels feeding into New York Harbor. Fairstein has done her homework, unearthing several fascinating historical tidbits about World War II, New York City, and even the legendary King Farouk. Beautifully crafted, expertly paced, and graced with a mesmerizing narrative voice, The Kills is dynamic crime fiction at its best. Tom Piccirilli

From the Publisher
"Seamless...razor sharp."
— John Sandford

"A superior piece of entertainment."
The Washington Post

"Fairstein...makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase."
— Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

Kathy Reichs Fairstein has the expertise and the experience, and it shows. The Kills is a white-knuckle ride through the back roads of history, the side streets of New York, and the chilling world of unbounded greed.

John Sandford Linda Fairstein's knowledge of the criminal justice system explodes on these pages — seamlessly plotted, spiked by razor-sharp dialogue and the knowledge of a lifelong insider.

Marilyn Stasio
''The hardest thing about these cases was convincing a jury that a felony had actually taken place,'' writes Fairstein, who makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase. — The New York Times
Sarah Weinman
The narrative is blessedly free of plot-point repetition as Fairstein adopts a "less is more" approach, letting the dialogue do most of the work. Cooper is strong without being overbearing, professional without being overly hardened, but ultimately her personality takes a backseat to the complexities of the plot and the fruit of Fairstein's in-depth historical research. The Kills is a superior piece of entertainment, the latest demonstration of an author carving out a prime spot among writers of suspense fiction. — The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The title of the newest installment in Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper crime series (The Bone Vault; The Deadhouse; Final Jeopardy) refers not only to the several bodies that turn up in the course of the novel but to the creeks and channels that crisscross the watery periphery of Lower Manhattan. From her downtown office-and with the aid of NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace-the doughty assistant DA tackles a complicated case, the rape of 36-year-old Paige Vallis. Psychotic Andrew Tripping is accused of the rape as well as of the physical and mental abuse of his own 10-year-old son, Dulles. While trying to convince a jury of Tripping's guilt, Alex is handed another kill, this one the suffocation of elderly Harlem Renaissance dancer McQueen Ransome. Queenie turns out to have a fascinating history, having been both an espionage agent in WWII and the mistress of the legendary Night Crawler, King Farouk of Egypt. On her way out of the palace door, Queenie pocketed enough of the king's treasure to set her up for life, which finally gets her killed. There are complications in the form of CIA agents, crooked lawyers, smalltime hoods and a surrounding cast of friends, lovers and enemies, all adding texture and realism to the story. Alex survives several attempts on her life and sleuths her way to a solution of both murders while untangling the knotted history that connects them. Fairstein's style and skills have matured over the years, making this a consistently dependable series with a likable and intelligent heroine. (Jan. 6) Forecast: The author's last several outings have been bestsellers and there's no indication that this one won't join them. Look for her on an extensive 11-city author tour including an appearance on the Today Show. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Appealing Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper is back for a fifth adventure (after The Bone Vault), and this time out, the D.A. and her sidekicks, cops Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, are involved in a complicated mix of crime all set against Fairstein's usual New York City backdrop. Paige Vallis accuses Andrew Tripping of raping her, and Alex is prosecuting. Then the elderly McQueen Ransome is found murdered in her tenement apartment. These events don't seem to be related until Alex and her cohorts discover that Paige's father worked for the U.S. Foreign Service in Egypt in the 1950s and that, at the same time, McQueen gathered intelligence for the U.S. government as Egyptian King Farouk's mistress; the plot thickens when Paige is found murdered. This is a typical Alex Cooper thriller: fast-paced, with lots of New York City detail and a nice, twisted plot. Alex still has her television anchor boyfriend and her second home on Martha's Vineyard but seems more grounded in reality this time. Recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/03.]-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A pair of mysteriously related high-profile cases take Alexandra Cooper (The Bone Vault, 2002, etc.) far from her bailiwick as Manhattan's chief prosecutor of sex crimes. It all starts with investment banker Paige Vallis's accusation of rape against her recent acquaintance, ex-CIA consultant Andrew Tripping. Tripping coerced her into sex, she maintains, by threatening to hurt his terrified ten-year-old son Dulles she refused. Since Paige's story is, to say the least, unusual, and since Dulles has been spirited off to a foster home nobody will identify for Alex-although his father's already visited the boy-the case against Tripping needs all the help it can get. Enter Kevin Bessemer, Tripping's cellmate at Rikers Island, who's willing to testify against him. And then, just as suddenly, exit Bessemer, vanished in the company of his feisty underage girlfriend Tiffany Gatts while the cops are transporting him to Manhattan. Signs of the fugitives soon turn up in an unexpected place: the apartment of McQueen Ransome, a storied exotic dancer apparently raped before she was murdered at the age of 82. Up to now, Fairstein has kept her stream of lurid surprises tautly disciplined. But with the revelation that McQueen, as the former mistress of Egypt's King Farouk half a century ago, may have been in possession of a fabulous treasure that was the real motive for her death, the tale spins into the realm of wildly inventive but frankly incredible fantasy. As Alex struggles to keep her footing while she hops from terrorist insinuations to royal booty to rogue CIA operatives, you have to wonder if she doesn't share your nostalgia for the time when the forcible violation of women's bodies wasn'tunspeakable enough-the time when she was prosecuting Andrew Tripping for rape. A no-holds-barred adventure populated with enough high-livers and lowlifes to keep its corps of cops, Feds, and counselors busy for months. Agent: Esther Newberg/ICM. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743436687
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Series: Alexandra Cooper Series , #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 127,179
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Fairstein

LINDA FAIRSTEIN, America's foremost legal expert on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, led the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney's Office in Manhattan for twenty-five years. A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, she is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her first novel, Final Jeopardy, introduced the critically acclaimed character of Alexandra Cooper and was made into an ABC Movie of the Week starring Dana Delaney. The celebrated series has gone on to include the New York Times bestsellers Likely to Die, Cold Hit, The Deadhouse (winner of the Nero Wolfe Award for Best Crime Novel of 2001, and chosen as a "Best Book of 2001" by both The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times), The Bone Vault, The Kills, Entombed, Death Dance, and Bad Blood. Her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her nonfiction book, Sexual Violence, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She lives with her husband in Manhattan and on Martha's Vineyard.

Visit her website at www.lindafairstein.com.

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

Chapter 1

"Murder. You should have charged the defendant with murder."

"He didn't kill anyone, Your Honor." Not yet. Not that I could prove.

"Juries like murder, Ms. Cooper. You should know that better than I do." Harlan Moffett read the indictment a second time as court officers herded sixty prospective jurors into the small courtroom. "Give these amateurs a dead body, a medical examiner who can tell them the knife wound in the back wasn't self-inflicted, a perp who was somewhere near the island of Manhattan when the crime occurred, and I guarantee you a conviction. This stuff you keep bringing me?"

Moffett underscored each of the charges with his red fountain pen. Next to the block letters of the defendant's name in the document's heading, People of the State of New York Against Andrew Tripping, he sketched the stick figure of a man hanging from the crosspiece of a gallows.

My adversary had been pleased when the case was sent out to Moffett for trial earlier in the afternoon. As tough as the old-timer was on homicide cases, he had been appointed to the bench thirty years ago, when the laws made it virtually impossible to take rape cases before a jury. No witness to the attack, no corroborating evidence, then there could be no prosecution. He clearly liked it better that way.

We both stood on the raised platform directly in front of Moffett, answering his questions about the matter for which we were about to select a panel. I was trying to divine my prospects as I watched the notations he was making on the face of the indictment I had handed up to him.

"You're right, Judge." Peter Robelon smiled as Moffett scribbled out the image of the doomed man on the gallows. "Alex has the classic 'he said-she said' situation here. She's got no physical evidence, no forensics."

"Would you mind keeping your voice down, Peter?" I couldn't direct the judge to lower his volume, but maybe he'd get my point. Robelon knew the acoustics in the room as well as I did, and was keenly aware that the twelve people being seated in the box could overhear him as the three of us talked about the facts and issues in the case.

"Speak up, Alexandra." Moffett cupped his hand to his ear.

"Would you mind if we had this conversation in your robing room?" My subtlety had escaped the judge.

"Alex is afraid the jurors are going to hear what she's about to tell them anyway as soon as she makes her opening statement. Smoke and mirrors, Your Honor. That's all she's got."

Moffett stood up and walked down the three steps, motioning both of us to follow him out the door, held open by the chief clerk, into the small office adjacent to the courtroom.

The room was bare, except for an old wooden desk and four chairs. The only decoration, next to the telephone mounted on the wall, were the names and numbers of every pizza, sandwich, and fast food joint in a five-block radius, scrawled on the peeling gray paint over the years by court officers who had ordered meals for deliberating jurors.

Moffett closed the window that looked down from the fifteenth floor above Centre Street in Lower Manhattan. Police sirens, from patrol cars streaking north out of headquarters, competed with our conversation.

"You know why juries like homicides so much? It's easy for them." The wide sleeves of his black robes flapped about as the judge waved his arms in the air. "A corpse, a weapon, an unnatural death. They know that a terrible crime occurred. You've just got to put the perp in the ballpark and they send him up the river for you."

I opened my mouth to address him. He pointed a finger in my direction and kept going. "You spend most of every damn rape trial just trying to prove there was even a crime committed."

Moffett wasn't wrong. The hardest thing about these cases was convincing a jury that a felony had actually taken place. People usually kill one another for reasons. Not good reasons, but things that twelve of their peers can grab on to and accept as the precipitating cause. Greed. Rage. Jealousy. Infidelity. All the deadly sins and then some. Prosecutors don't have to supply a motive, but most of the time one makes itself visible and we offer it up for their consideration.

Sex crimes are different. Nobody can fathom why someone forces an act of intercourse on an unwilling partner. Psychologists ruminate about power and control and anger, but they haven't stood in front of a jury box dozens of times, as I have, trying to make ordinary citizens understand crimes that seem to have no motives at all.

Explain why the clean-cut nineteen-year-old sitting opposite them in the well of the courtroom broke into a stranger's apartment to steal property but became aroused at the sight of a fifty-eight-year-old housewife watching television, so he held a knife to her throat and committed a sexual act. Explain why the supervising janitor of a Midtown office building would corner a cleaning woman in a broom closet on the night shift, when the hallway was dark and deserted, pushing her to her knees and demanding oral sex.

"May I tell you what I've got, Judge?"

"In a minute." Moffett waved me off with the back of his hand, rays of the late-afternoon sunlight glancing off the garnet-colored stone in his pinky ring. "Peter, let me hear about your client."

"Andrew Tripping. Forty-two years old. No record — "

"Well, that's not exactly true, Peter."

"Nothing you can use at trial, is there, Alex? Now how about letting me finish without interrupting?"

I placed my legal pad on the desk and started to list all the facts I knew that would flush out the picture Tripping's lawyer was about to paint.

"Graduated from Yale. Went into the Marine Corps. Did some work for the CIA for about ten years. Now he's a consultant."

"Your guy and everyone else who's not employed. Everybody who hasn't got a job's a consultant. What field?"

"Security. Governmental affairs. Terrorism. Spent a lot of time in the Middle East, Asia before that. Can't give you too many details."

"Can't or won't? You'll tell me, but then you'll have to kill me?" Moffett was the only one to laugh at his own jokes. He slid the yellow-backed felony complaint out of the court file and flipped it over. "Made two hundred fifty thousand bail? Must know something — or somebody."

Peter smiled at me as he answered. "Our friend, Ms. Cooper, was a bit excessive in her request at the arraignment. I got it cut in half in criminal court. He spent a week on Rikers before I got him out."

"Sure doesn't look like a rapist."

"What is it, Judge? The blazer, rep tie, and wire-rimmed glasses? Or just that he's the first white guy you've had in the dock all year?" There was no point in losing my temper yet. The jury would be looking at Tripping the same way the judge was. People heard the word "rape" and expected to see a Neanderthal, club in hand, peering out from behind a tree in Central Park.

I had Moffett's attention now. "Who's the girl?"

"Thirty-six-year-old woman. Paige Vallis. She works at an investment banking firm."

"She knows the guy? This one of those date things?"

"Ms. Vallis had met Tripping twice before. Yes, he had invited her out to dinner the evening this happened."

"Alcohol involved?"

"Yes, sir."

Moffett looked at the complaint again, comparing the place of occurrence with the defendant's home address. Now his primitive doodles were a wine bottle and a couple of glasses. "Then she went back to his place, I guess."

It wouldn't have surprised me if he had said what he was undoubtedly thinking at that moment: What did she expect to happen if she went home with him at midnight, after a candlelit dinner and a bottle of wine? I had countered that logic in court more times than I could remember. Moffett didn't speak the words. He just scowled and shook his head back and forth slowly.

"She got injuries?"

"No, sir." The overwhelming percentage of sexual assault victims presented themselves to emergency rooms with no external signs of physical injury. Any rookie prosecutor could get a conviction when the victim was battered and bruised.

"DNA?"

Peter Robelon spoke over me as I nodded my head. "So what, Judge? My client admits that he and Ms. Vallis made love. Alex doesn't even need to waste the court's time with her serology expert. I'll stipulate to the findings."

Nothing new about Tripping's defense. Consent. The two spent a rapturous night together, he would argue, and for some reason that Peter would raise at trial, Paige Vallis ran to the nearest cop on the beat the next morning to charge her lover with rape. Surely it couldn't be for the pleasure of the experience she was about to undergo in a public forum, when I called her to the witness stand.

"Did Judge Hayes talk plea with you two?"

The case had been pending since the indictment was filed back in March. "I haven't made any offer to the defense."

"You got rocks in your head, Alexandra? Nothing better to do with your time?" Moffett cocked one eye and stared over his reading glasses at me.

"I'd like to explain the circumstances, Your Honor. There's a child involved."

"She's got a kid? What does that have to do with anything?"

"He's the one with a kid. A son. That's what the endangering count refers to."

"The father did something sexual to his own kid? Now that's — "

"No, no, Judge. There's been some physical abuse and strange behavior — "

"Stop characterizing this to prejudice the court, Alex. She's on thin ice, Your Honor."

"The boy was a witness to much of what happened leading up to the crime itself. In a sense, he was the weapon the defendant used to compel Ms. Vallis to submit to him. If Peter will stop interrupting me, I can lay it out for you."

Moffett scanned the indictment again, reading the language about endangering the welfare of a child. He looked up at Robelon. "How about it, Peter? Your guy willing to take the misdemeanor and save us all a lot of aggravation?"

"No way. The prosecution doesn't have the kid. She's never even talked to him. He's not going to testify against his father."

"Is that true, Alexandra?" Moffett was up and pacing now, anxious to get back in the courtroom before the prospective jurors got too restless.

"Can we just slow this down a bit, Peter?" I asked. "That's one of the things I'd like to discuss with you before we charge ahead, Judge."

"What's to discuss?"

"I'd like you to sign an order directing production of the child, so that I can interview him before I open to the jury."

"Why? Where is he?"

"I don't know, Your Honor. ACW took him away from Mr. Tripping at the time of the arrest. They've never allowed me to meet with him." The Agency for Child Welfare had relocated Tripping's ten-year-old son to a foster home outside the city when I filed the indictment.

"Judge," Peter said, picking up on Moffett's obvious annoyance with my case, "see what I mean? She hasn't even laid eyes on the boy."

"Why isn't the kid with his mother?"

Peter and I spoke at the same time. "She's dead."

Peter jumped in defensively. "Killed herself a few months after he was born. Typical postpartum depression, taken to the worst extreme."

"Tripping was in the military at the time, Judge. She was killed with one of his guns. I've spoken to investigators who think he's the one who pulled the trigger."

Moffet aimed his pinky ring in my direction, jabbing it in the air while he grinned and looked over at Peter Robelon. "She should have charged him with murder, just like I said. Pretty good self-restraint for Alexandra Cooper. So why'd Judge Hayes leave me with all these loose ends to tie up when he sent this over to me? What else are you asking for?"

Peter answered before I could open my mouth. "Alex, you know I'm going to oppose any request you make for an adjournment. You answered ready for trial, Hayes sent us out, and my client is ready to get this over with."

"It sounds like we got some housekeeping matters to clear up here before we start picking," Moffett said. "I'll tell you what I'm going to do. Let's go back inside, so I can greet the jurors and give them a timetable. I'll introduce each of you and the defendant, tell them we need the morning to complete some business that doesn't involve them, and have them back here at two P.M. Either of you have a list of witnesses you want to give me?"

I handed both men a very short list of names. This case rested squarely on Paige Vallis's shoulders. "I may have one more to add to this tomorrow."

Peter Robelon smiled again. "I don't want to lose sleep worrying about who that might be, Alex. Want to give me a hint?"

"I assume you'd be able to do your usual devastating cross-examination, even if I conjured up Mother Teresa as an eyewitness. Let me keep you guessing."

Mercer Wallace, the case detective from the Special Victims Unit, had been contacted by one of the guys in Homicide at the end of last week. He had a confidential informant — a reliable CI, he claimed — who had been Tripping's cellmate at Rikers and had some incriminating information that he'd overheard in the pens in the hours after the two were first incarcerated together. They were producing this informant — Kevin Bessemer — in my office tonight, for me to evaluate the statements he was trying to trade for some years shaved off the time he was looking at in his own pending case.

Moffett waved his hand toward the door and the court officer opened it for us. He took my arm and steered me toward the hallway. "Nice of you to bring me a case that doesn't have the first three rows of my courtroom filled with reporters for a change."

"Believe me, Judge, it's the way I prefer to work, too."

"Do yourself a favor, Alex." Moffett turned back to look at Robelon, no doubt winking to assure him the whispering was to benefit his client. "Think about whether we can make this case go away by this time tomorrow. I'm amazed it survived the motion to inspect and dismiss the grand jury minutes. I'm not sure you're going to see a lot of rulings going your way under my watch, from this point on."

"It's actually a very compelling story — and a frightening one. I think you'll see that more clearly when I make my application in the morning."

He let go and stepped out ahead of me, into the courtroom, taking his place back up on the bench as Robelon and I walked to our respective tables.

Mercer Wallace was standing at the rail, as though he had been waiting for me to emerge from the robing room. Moffett recognized him from a previous trial. "Miss Cooper, you want a minute to speak with Detective Wallace before I get started with our introductions here?"

"I'd appreciate that, Your Honor."

Mercer reached for my shoulder and turned me away from the jurors in the box, toward him. "Keep your game face on, Alex. Just got news that you should know before you spill anything to the judge about how strong your case is. Hope I'm not too late to be useful."

"Ready."

He leaned over and spoke as softly as he could. "Heads are gonna roll as soon as the commissioner gets word about this one. Two guys were bringing Kevin Bessemer over from Rikers for your interview. The car got jammed up behind an accident on the FDR Drive, and the prisoner bolted from the backseat, right down the footpath on One Hundred Nineteenth Street and into the projects. They lost him."

"What?"

"Poker face, girl. You promised."

"But wasn't he cuffed?"

"Rear-cuffed and locked in tight, the guys say. Stay cool, Alex, the judge is checking to see what the fidgeting is and why your blood pressure's going up. Your cheeks are on fire."

"I can't start picking this jury tomorrow. How the hell am I going to buy myself some time?"

"Tell the man what happened, kid. Tell him your snitch is gone."

Copyright © 2004 by Linda Fairstein

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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

1. In THE KILLS, Alexandra Cooper's date rape case takes a dark turn, and she once again teams up with Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to investigate a murder. What makes the three of them such an effective team? What unique talents does each bring to the table?

2. The demands of Alex's profession are starting to wreck havoc on her relationship with Jake Tyler. What other issues are coming between them? Do you think that Jake will return in the next book?

3. During the trail, Peter Robelon dismisses a number of female jurors, assuming that they'd be prejudiced in favor of the alleged rape victim. Instead, Alex tells us that this is a classic mistake: women are often more critical of the victim. Why is this the case? Did this information come as a surprise to you?

4. Why does Chapman prefer to handle murders rather than sexual abuse cases?

5. As Alex reviews the photographs of McQueen Ransome's murdered body, she mentally catalogs the number of people who would also be looking through them. How is the murder investigation itself in some ways another act of violation against the victim, however unintentional?

6. What other cases — and hazards — does Alex have to contend with while dealing with Paige Vallis's trial? What do these subplots add to the story, and what do they tell us about Alex?

7. In her ballet class, Alex wonders what it would be like to be as unburdened by daily tragedy as the other people in her class were. Do you think Alex's life would be much different if she were in another line of work? What else could you imagine her doing?

8. Why do you think that we never actually see Dulles Tripping in this novel, despite how integral he is to the story? Do you think it was an oversight or a deliberate choice on the author's part?

9. When Chapman turns Alex down for a friendly nightcap, she worries that the dynamic of their friendship is changing. What accounts for this shift? What do you think the ideal form of their friendship would be?

10. Did you think that Queenie's affair with King Farouk entitled her to make off with some of his treasures? What did you think of Queenie's character?

11. How has Chapman's relationship with Val affected him? What does his willingness to shoulder the burden of her illness tell us about him — and about his feelings for her?

12. Jake's plan to drive out to Martha's Vineyard during the storm sets off all of Alex's alarm bells. How does Adam Nyman's death so many years earlier continue to affect her? Why is Jake so reluctant to believe her reason for asking him not to come?

13. What does Alex's last act of the novel — erasing the messages on her answering machine without listening to them — suggest?

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2004

    A first-rate crime thriller.

    Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper knows her new case, one involving an attack on investment banker Paige Vallis, will be hard to prove as is, but things take a sharp turn when Alex learns her client has something to hide. What really happened the night of the attack? Why didn¿t Paige leave the apartment after the date turned ugly? What happened to her attackers son? And who is the mysterious man whose appearance in the courtroom scares Paige? As Alex receives help from her detective friends on the rape case another puzzling crime is committed this time an elderly woman is found murdered and her apartment turned upside down. Who would want this woman dead and why? While both case take strange turns more murders occur and Alex is forced to question what connection these two seemingly different women had. `The Kills¿ is another great read from Linda Fairstein. The two story lines move fast combining shocking twists with courtroom thrills until a powerful climax ties together all the loose ends. Fans of Fairstein¿s previous novels will lap this up in one sitting for this may be her best page-turner yet. Expect to see `The Kills¿ on the top of all the bestseller lists. Nick Gonnella

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Alexandra Cooper is a fabulous character.

    I am a David Baldacci/James Patterson fan and was looking for a female character of great depth. I found that character in Alexandra Cooper. I have not been disappointed in her. Linda Fairstein had such a great grasp of the local color which adds incredibly to the story line. Blair Brown is a wonderful narrator.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2014

    Entertaining

    I love Linda Fairstein's books and have read several but missed this one somehow when it was first published. I enjoyed this book, it is an easy read and moves along . All the characters in this series are likable and the plots are good. I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend it and also all her other books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Good exciting read.

    I love Linda Fairstein and thought I had read everything she wrote, but I missed this one and glad I caught it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    Seedy mystery combo of sex and child endangerment

    Under the blanket of sexual crimes envestigation. I dont watch the law and order spin off because of contents despite excellent cast and writing as i consider it x rated for the time period This book is x rated. Unfair? Borrow from library and scan first middle and last chapter and save money buska

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Anonymous

    Great

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    A tom

    Hello?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    CD/abridged/Suspense: Book 6 of the Alexandra Cooper Series. I'v

    CD/abridged/Suspense: Book 6 of the Alexandra Cooper Series. I've listened to Cold Hit and while I really liked it, I remembered the Jeopardy part the most.
    What I like the most about this one was that I learned something. In this book, you learn about King Farouk and his love of collecting things, expensive things. Yes there's a murder and yes, Alex is in danger, but I it was a enjoyable listen. Blair Brown does a great job narrating.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2011

    Highly recommended.

    very good. Kept me interested and involved until the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2004

    A Big Book Worm

    I was totally Disappointed. The Kills was a big let down to me. My favorites were the Deadhouse and the Bone vault. As for her other books they were ok.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2004

    Suffers from 'Cornwell-itis'

    Fairstein is FANTASTIC when she's dealing with the courtroom and the DA's normal business but she cheapens the whole deal when she feels compelled to do a Cornwell and go over the top with (1) her character having to become the target (2) spies, rogue agents and other shady cartoon characters (3) the obligatory physical chases and (4) staggering coincidences (Mike's case and Cooper's case are linked!! WOW!). These are all hallmarks of the poorer, recent Cornwell titles. The scenes don't ring true. I also started to get a little bored with the interminable lectures on the coin. It was like reading two books. One a superb courtroom novel by a true insider and another a cheap wannabe action thriller. Ms. Fairstein should have more faith in herself -- the real deal doesn't need the tinsel, and she's the real deal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2003

    smoothly combines a legal thriller with a police procedural

    Manhattan Sex Crimes Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper tires to persuade a jury to convict counter terrorism security consultant Andrew Tripping of raping thirty something Paige Wallis. The problem with the case is that the alleged victim has no injuries or bruises so it becomes a ¿He said she said¿ scenario in front of a judge who hates these so called rape date trials due to the typical lack of solid evidence for instance like a corpse in a homicide. <P>In the courtroom, Alex¿s case is in trouble. Meanwhile, someone murders McQueen ¿Queenie¿ Ransome, a former Harlem Renaissance dancer. Surprisingly Queenie had a fascinating past as a WW II secret agent and as the mistress of Egypt¿s King Farouk, whom she left one day with plenty of his treasure. NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace investigate the homicide that also brings in the CIA and links to the Tripping rape trial while someone tries to kill Alex. <P>THE KILLS (named for a part of lower Manhattan) excitingly and smoothly combines a legal thriller with a police procedural as Alex makes her third starring performance (see THE BONE VAULT and THE DEADHOUSE). The story line moves forward rather quickly, but it is the courtroom scenes whether in front of the jury or in the judge¿s chambers that raise the quality level. Though attempted murder of a government prosecutor seems hard to accept that fits in the logic of the plot especially since Alex is doing her own legwork (not sure where she finds the time ¿ sort of like reviewing 3-4 books a day). Fans will admire the heroine and appreciate this fine thriller. <P>Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews

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