Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein

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 Check out her video clip about Gracie Mansion.

Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein. Penguin Group (USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780525951612 (hardcover), 400p.


Anonymous said...

Lesa, I love the cover on this one. I also have enjoyed a couple of Linda Fairstein's books, early ones. I'm about read to cast aside my "rule" of reading series in order because it's just not working. I can't keep up with all my series and this would be one of them. Think I'll just pick this book up and not worry about the many between.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Looks really interesting! I haven't read any of Linda's books...thanks for introducing me to her. I enjoy city settings for books (since I write such small towns.)

Mystery Writing is Murder

bermudaonion said...

I've only read one Linda Fairstein, book and I really enjoyed it, so I'm not sure why I haven't read more. Your review sure makes me want to.

Mason Canyon said...

Sound like a great book. Who would ever suspect a politician with a secret life and a DWI, indeed. :)
Thanks for letting me know about another great book to check out.

Lesa said...


I hadn't read any lately, and I don't know why either. This one was terrific.

Lesa said...

It was a good one, Mason. I hope you add it to your TBR pile.

Deadly Letters GTA said...

I am looking forward to reading this one!

Lesa said...

I hope you enjoy it, Deadly Letters!

caite said...

I too have only read one of her books...and remember thinking it was just OK, but this one sounds interesting. maybe it is time to give her another try.

Lesa said...

Try this one, Caite, and let me know what you think.