Monday, July 09, 2012
Night Watch by Linda Fairstein
Alex is in Mougins, France, celebrating with her boyfriend, Luc Rouget, owner of a three star restaurant, when her vacation is unpleasantly interrupted. First, she finds a pile of bones outside Luc's house. Then, the body of a young woman is found in a pond. She's dressed in white, as if she attended the white dinner party Luc hosted. And, she has more than one connection with Luc. Alex can't help her curiosity, and she's starting to line up her questions for the police when she's ordered back to work. She runs the sex crimes unit for Manhattan, and a prominent case there demands her attention. Her two best friends, Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, are already involved.
Chapman, a NYPD detective, arrested a prominent economist, the son of an exiled dictator. Mohammed Gil-Darsin was a French resident, accused of raping a housekeeper in his hotel room. Mercer was part of the Special Victims Unit, charged with handling the investigation. Now, Alex was part of building a case, with a victim she didn't quite believe.
As tied up in her case as she is, she can't let Luc's troubles go. When Chapman, who is working night watch, the midnight shift, catches wind of a body found in the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, Luc's problems become even worse. It seems that body also has a connection to Lutece, the restaurant Luc is planning to open in Manhattan. And, the restaurant world is a complex one, with a need for vision, political savvy, and money, a great deal of money. Alex had only seen the success of Luc's French restaurant, not the savvy needed to start a new restaurant.
Alex clearly isn't at the top of her game in Night Watch. Luc's problems rattled her, and she doesn't always use the best judgment. Fortunately her friends are looking out for her. Mike and Mercer are there for her, both in the midst of the complex case grabbing world headlines, and the case that seems to tie Luc to international crime.
As always, Fairstein shines when she's writing about Alex Cooper's cases. The handling of the sex crime, the interrogation of the victim, and the case itself is fascinating. And, these books always reveal New York City history. Where does the title come from? Mike Chapman is on night watch for a week.. As a history buff, he knows that the NYPD was established in 1845. "Patrolmen were hired to work all day. And then, one man was hired to keep everyone safe at night - a single night watch - the sleepless sentinel who looked over the city from sunset to dawn."
Fairstein's stories are always intriguing. But, some of us who follow the series follow it for her characters, Alex Cooper, Mike Chapman, and Mercer Wallace. No matter what cases they have, they see each other through them. They share a love of Final Jeopardy, a love and knowledge of New York City, and a deep friendship. It's a pleasure to pick up one of Linda Fairstein's books and find the three of them together, with their banter and their friendship.
Linda Fairstein always manages to surprise readers. Cases don't always turn out as expected, and Alex doesn't always have the perfect life. But, her friends can truly be counted on to be there for her. Night Watch is one more example of Fairstein's perfect handling of crime, suspense, and friendship.
Linda Fairstein's website is www.LindaFairstein.com
Night Watch by Linda Fairstein. Dutton. 2012. ISBN 9780525952633 (hardcover), 400p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received this book to participate in a TLC Book Tour.