Silent Mercy (Alexandra Cooper Series #13)

Silent Mercy (Alexandra Cooper Series #13)

3.6 99
by Linda Fairstein
     
 

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New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein is at her explosive best as she plunges into the byzantine world of New York City’s most powerful and sacred institutions—and unearths the most sinister of secrets…

Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper has been called to a Harlem Baptist Church, where a woman has been decapitated and set on fire

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein is at her explosive best as she plunges into the byzantine world of New York City’s most powerful and sacred institutions—and unearths the most sinister of secrets…

Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper has been called to a Harlem Baptist Church, where a woman has been decapitated and set on fire on the church steps—with the imprint of a Star of David necklace seared into her flesh. Then a second body is found at a cathedral in Little Italy. Alex is blind to the sick and inconceivable motives feeding a particularly vicious serial killer—until she mines the depths of the city’s vast and serpentine religious history.

What Alex follows is a dangerous path that takes her far beyond the scope of her investigation, and directly into the path of a frightening and inescapable truth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Of the numerous narrators who have brought Fairstein's series to audio, Barbara Rosenblat is arguably the best, due primarily to her ability to capture the character's intelligence and romantic sensibility plus the toughness the job realistically requires. She even sounds a bit like Fairstein herself. Ordinarily, it would be merely lagniappe that she can also gruff up enough to do justice to the hard-boiled NYPD detective Mike Chapman. But this murder investigation—involving New York's historical churches and synagogues, a traveling circus out of Water for Elephants, leprosy, and a mixed martial arts fundamentalist sect—relies as much on Chapman as it does on assisstant DA Alexandra Cooper. The ease with which Rosenblat handles both her heroes, along with her vivid portrayals of teen drug dealers, religious dignitaries, Alex's arrogant bosses, frustrating judges, a martinet circus owner, and a large cast, makes it almost easy to accept the book's melodramatic conclusion. A Dutton hardcover. (Apr.)
Sun Sentinel
"Gripping…Each outing with Alex brings a new view of this character and the city in which she lives."

San Francisco Chronicle
"Linda Fairstein has delivered another compelling crime novel set on the all-too-real streets of New York…a worthwhile read that fans of the Law & Order TV series will savor. After finishing Silent Mercy, readers will eagerly seek out her other novels."

From the Publisher
"Gripping…Each outing with Alex brings a new view of this character and the city in which she lives." — Sun Sentinel

"Linda Fairstein has delivered another compelling crime novel set on the all-too-real streets of New York…a worthwhile read that fans of the Law & Order TV series will savor. After finishing Silent Mercy, readers will eagerly seek out her other novels."

San Francisco Chronicle

"Fairstein excels at describing New York's complicated religious history as well as the vagaries of the city's legal and religious politics." — Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
Fairstein's newest thriller (after Hell Gate) commences at the scene of a grisly fire at a historic Harlem Baptist church. Assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper and NYPD colleagues Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace investigate the badly burned and beheaded body of a woman on the porch of the church behind a locked gate. After a second corpse is found mutilated at a landmark Catholic cathedral and a recent unsolved murder in a Kentucky Pentecostal church is discovered, possible connections among the victims arise. Before another dies, can Cooper and her colleagues apprehend this killer who is literally and figuratively silencing women? Fairstein's 30 years as a New York City prosecutor and a gift for suspense have enabled her to craft a riveting novel that thrusts readers into the darker side of religion and bigotry against the backdrop of some of New York's oldest churches. VERDICT The 13th entry in Fairstein's series is a tightly wound mystery that delivers an adrenaline rush with its fast-paced, nail-biting manhunt across several states. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/10.]—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Kirkus Reviews

Alexandra Cooper, the ADA who heads Manhattan's Special Victims unit, tackles yet another series of crimes that have nothing to do with sex but a great deal to do with gender.

The first victim is left outside Harlem's Mount Neboh Baptist Church. Even before her head is discovered outside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, she's identified as activist Naomi Gersh by her arrest record. Any hope that the obviously planned and ritualistic killing would be a one-off is dashed when Ursula Hewitt, who was excommunicated upon being ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, is found outside Old St. Patrick's Church with her tongue cut out. There's little to be learned from Naomi's kid brother Daniel, who disappears soon after he's questioned by Cooper and Det. Mike Chapman, and not much more from Faith Grant, an Episcopal priest at Union Theological Seminary with links to both victims. But there's every indication that the murderer has already struck at least twice more, claiming as victims a female pastor in Kentucky and a gay Pentecostal minister in Georgia. All the while Cooper is struggling to figure out why someone wants to silence religious mavericks and pariahs, she has to deal with two other hot-button cases as well: a prep school student's unsupported accusation that she was raped by another student, and a charge of clerical sex abuse that heats up even further when Cooper's withering cross-examination of Bishop Edward Deegan, a character witness for the defense, is observed by a ponytailed wraith who just might be the killer. The obligatory Cook's Tour of New York's religious sites and their backgrounds recalls Margaret Truman at her most tiresomely didactic, and the set pieces, especially the climactic confrontation with the killer, are overextended and creaky. The detection, however, is first-rate, and many of the daggers Fairstein hurls at organized religion's systematic disempowering of women find their mark.

Above average for this bestselling series, though not up to the mark of Hell Gate (2010).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594135279
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
05/08/2012
Series:
Alexandra Cooper Series, #13
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
576
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
17 Years

Meet the Author

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 assault and domestic violence. Her Alexandra Cooper novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Fairstein was the winner of the International Thriller Writers Silver Bullet Award in 2010. She lives in Manhattan and on Martha’s Vineyard.

Brief Biography

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

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Silent Mercy (Alexandra Cooper Series #13) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Another mediocre novel from Linda Fairstein, who may have reached the end of her trove of good stories to tell. In this one, the killer search is almost secondary to lectures on feminism, especially on the plight of women in various religions. I agree with the author on the subject, but it wasn't why I picked up her novel. She has been pretty good with novels that involve New York and its history, but this one doesn't go far once we have seen some of the area's churches. What is interesting about this latest novel is that now, with Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau out of office and the novel dedicated to the new DA, Cyrus Vance, the fictional DA Paul Battaglia is no longer looked upon with so much favor. Fairstein has him interfering with the trial of a defrocked pedophile priest to help out the church against his own deputy DAs, but he also has a trove of illegal Cuban cigars and accepts comped baseball tickets, an act which has gotten some New York politicians in trouble. Battaglia is not much of a feminist in this novel either. So we can no longer wonder how much he is based on Morgenthau, can we?
harstan More than 1 year ago
In an obvious ritual slaughter, a decapitated severely burned female body is found outside Harlem's Mount Neboh Baptist Church. She is identified by her rap sheet as activist Naomi Gersh. Her head lies just outside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. A second mutilated corpse is found just outside Old St. Patrick's Church. The victim, whose tongue was ripped out, is excommunicated Ursula Hewitt after being ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. Manhattan's Special Victims unit chief Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper and NYPD colleagues Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace investigate the ritual killings seeking a link between the two victims beyond silencing two female activists. They soon connect the Manhattan murders to homicides of a female pastor in Kentucky and a gay Pentecostal minister in Georgia. The ADA also works two other high visibility cases of a school student's claim of rape and an accusation of clerical sex abuse. The latest Cooper investigative legal thriller (see Hell's Gate) is an exciting action-packed tale with quite a wallop. As required but still fun is a tour of Manhattan "as an island of churches". The story line focuses brilliantly and sharply at organized religions' antiquated but methodical allegorical beheading of women with an avenging sword wrapped inside holiness that will lead to Linda Fairstein's excommunication. Fast-paced within a strong whodunit, fans except religious fundamentalists will relish Silent Mercy. Harriet Klausner
mysterygirlSC More than 1 year ago
I kept reading thinking this book would improve, I skipped pages and pages and was still able to follow the story. I have to be honest and admit that Linda Fairstein hasn't been one of my favorite writers for sometime. Thought I would try her again but was really disappointed. Use to love her books years ago.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
At a Manhattan Baptist church, the headless charred remains of a woman are found. Soon, her decapitated head is found outside the Cathedral of St. John Divine. Another victim whose tongue is cut out is found outside Old St. Patrick's Church. ADA Alexandra Cooper thinks that because of the locales these could be the work of some religious fanatic, until she investigates more and opens a huge can or worms. As always, Linda Fairstein adds in some of New York City's historical facts; this time the old churches. I always find this very fascinating. The story itself, although, fast paced and mysterious, didn't quite hold me as previous novels.
Lynie More than 1 year ago
Manhattan Prosecutor Alexandra "Coop" Cooper and Detective Mike Chapman arrive at the scene of a horrible murder. A young woman has been decapitated and set on fire on the steps of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem. Coop is assisting with the prosecution of a defrocked priest accused of molestation. Because she's been rattling the cages of the Catholic hierarchy, her boss assigns her to this new murder instead. Joined as usual by Det. Mercer Wallace in this investigation, another body is soon discovered at a cathedral in Little Italy. It appears that someone is targeting women of different religions who aspire to become church or synagogue leaders, rather than assume the typical roles of their gender. Fairstein has once again provided an interesting historical backdrop. In SILENT MERCY, she's injected the story with obscure facts about the history of many of New York City's churches. For me, reading one of Fairstein's novels is usually like slipping on a comfortable pair of slippers. Coop, Chapman and Wallace continue the bantering relationship that's been well established in Fairstein's previous novels, and they make their friendly wagers on the final Jeopardy questions. Coop continues to have her disagreements with her boss and is still involved with her French restaurateur lover. But SILENT MERCY disintegrates into the absurd when the trio begins to hone in on the killer. Although entertaining, this one is definitely not up to Fairstein's standards. Lynn Kimmerle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confusing and tended to drift between paragraphs. If Ms. Coopers building was so secure, how could an intruder get in? I did not find the book suspenseful. After the first murder, I lost interest. Tended to be drawn out. I skimmed the last seven chapters. Glad I got the book from the library and did not waste my money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LFM400 More than 1 year ago
Linda is one of my favorite authors.  If you are a fan, this is another great read by Linda.  As always, she manages to slip in an interesting history lesson about something in NY, which I personally love about her books.  In this book, she taps into the connection between some of the churches and religious institutions throughout NY City.  She also throws in a little history about one of the islands along Cape Cod.  Without giving away too much, the story is about women being brutally killed and their bodies/body parts being left at different churches.  Alex, Mike and Mercer are on the case to stop this serial killer before anyone else gets killed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
unfortunately, this book isn't up to her usual standards.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is another great read in the Alexandra Cooper series. Having grown up in NYC, it's been great fun to read these books and find out about little known areas in and history of the City. Each book is its own special treat covering a different aspect of NYC intertwined with a fascinating story and a set of appealing characters. This latest will not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of this author and this book is great!!
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
This deeply researched series highlighting New York landmarks featuring Alexandra Cooper and Mike Chapman takes the reader in a somewhat different direction from previous entries. This time the author tackles religion, albeit in a non-controversial manner. While New York continues to be the prime real estate, the murderer the duo is chasing has committed the same crime in other states, ending up on Cape Cod. But various religious institutions set the stage for the chase as the culprit leaves his victims on display at various churches, apparently making a statement. And Alex and Mike visit a couple of leading teaching institutions undergoing a crash course in various religions and beliefs in an effort to learn what the murderer is attempting to say. As usual, the reader learns a lot about the streets and history of New York City, always an important part of reading a novel in the series. But equally important is the tightly written mystery and analytical approach to solving it. This author’s books are always a delight to read and this newest one, as all her prior novels, is recommended.
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