I had a few personal issues to deal with on Friday, so, instead of my normal blog, here's a preview of Alafair Burke's 212, one of the March books many of us are waiting to read. I'll have a book review tomorrow for Sunday Salon. In the meantime, here's 212.
In Alafair Burke’s upcoming Ellie Hatcher thriller, 212 (Harper/HarperCollins Publishers; $24.99/$32.99 Can.; Hardcover; ISBN 13: 9780061561221; on-sale date: 3/23/2010), seemingly privileged young women live secret lives in the sex industry, aided by the Internet. Burke turned in her manuscript for 212 on March 30, 2009. On April 14, 2009, two weeks later, a New York City woman was killed in a Boston hotel room after posting her services as a “masseuse” on Craig’s List. The media dubbed her alleged murderer “The Craig’s List Killer.”
As 212 opens, NYU student Megan Gunther finds personal threats posted to a campus gossip website. Her daily routine—down to spin class and study breaks—is being detailed but thanks to the anonymity provided by the Internet, the police say there is nothing they can do. When Megan is murdered in a vicious attack in her apartment, NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced that the online threats weren’t just a campus prank. As Ellie and partner J.J. Rogan try to fill in the blanks, they find a link between Megan and a murdered real estate agent named Katie Battle who was living a dangerous double-life. When the Battle case leads them to another young woman in potential jeopardy, Ellie and Rogan realize that such connections are far from haphazard.
212 is a novel steeped in the details of the crossroads between technology and prurience. Add to Craig’s List The Erotic Review, where users can post reviews on their “providers” with explicit details, Campus Juice, a fictional campus gossip site in 212 is based on the now defunct Juicy Campus, which allowed users to post anonymous university rumor and innuendo with instruction on how to cloak their IP (Internet Protocol) addresses to avoid detection. This is the world that we live in. From these realities, Alafair Burke spins 212 into fictional gold.
A former deputy district attorney in Portland, Oregon, and graduate of Stanford Law School, Alafair Burke is a Hofstra criminal law professor, and a full-time writer who writes about law and culture. A regular contributor to the Huffington Post as well as the crime website Murderati, she has been interviewed by CNN and Court TV as a legal expert (see attached). Critics and colleagues from Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben to Laura Lippman and Tami Hoag have long recognized Alafair Burke’s work. The Boston Globe, writing about Dead Connection, hailed Ellie Hatcher “in the tradition of Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski.” With 212, Burke solidifies her reputation and proves that she’s in sync with the collective consciousness. For her website and blog, visit: http://www.alafairburke.com
I'm looking forward to the next Alafair Burke novel, 212.