Who would ever suspect that a New York politician would get picked up for DWI? Who would ever suspect that a politician might have a secret life with a second family? Unbelievable! Well, if anyone knows where the bodies are buried, it's Linda Fairstein, and she uncovers a few of them in her latest novel, Hell Gate.
Alex Cooper doesn't think it gets much worse than the disaster of a shipwrecked vessel disgorging it's victims, the human cargo of Ukrainian men and women transported to New York to become prostitutes and workers. It's a slave ship, and, in the middle of all of that human tragedy is the body of an unknown woman who appears to have been murdered. As head of the Sex Crimes Unit for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, she's part of a task force dealing with human trafficking. Before she can get her head around the problem of the women on the ship, and the dead woman, she's caught up in another case, a political hot potato.
While she and Mike Chapman, the homicide detective she frequently partners with, are on an ocean beach watching the disaster unfold, New York City's mayor, the Manhattan D.A., and the police commissioner are facing off. It seems an up-and-coming congressman was picked up after flipping his car. The charges of DWI, reckless assault, and leaving the scene might seem minor compared to the other news; he had fled after fighting with his girlfriend over their baby, but he's a married congressman with another family.
But, appearances can be deceiving. And, everyone seems to want to tangle Alex up in the politics of the cases. It will take a crime scene at Gracie Mansion, and a repeated tattoo, to tie both of Alex's cases together.
Once again, Linda Fairstein has written a fascinating crime novel that entwines contemporary social issues and crimes with the history of the city. Mike Chapman is back at the top of his game, competing for Jeopardy answers, while providing the historical background to the story. Fairstein's main characters, Alex Cooper and Mike Chapman, continue to reveal slivers of themselves. And, Fairstein reveals slivers of another character she loves, New York City. She's skilled at character and story development, and no one else writes such intriguing mysteries of New York City. Hell Gate proves that New York mystery, with all of the history and politics, belongs to Linda Fairstein.
Linda Fairstein's website is www.lindafairstein.com. Check out her video clip about Gracie Mansion.
Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein. Penguin Group (USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780525951612 (hardcover), 400p.