Linda Fairstein's latest novel Terminal City, combines a riveting police procedural with an homage to Grand Central Terminal. As DA Alexandra Cooper accompanies the police on the search for a killer, the team finds themselves with a time crunch. They have forty-eight hours to find a killer who seems to know his ways through all the secret tunnels and walkways of the enormous landmark.
As the attorney heading the Special Victims Unit for the DA's office in Manhattan, Alex had other cases, but someone from her office shows up 24/7 in partnership with the NYPD. She's the one who catches the case when a young woman is found raped and murdered in the Waldorf Astoria. She always works closely with Mercer Wallace, a Special Victims detective, but she's surprised when her other friend, Mike Chapman, a homicide detective, show up. The trio understands they have to move quickly. The President of the U.S. will be moving into the hotel in less than a week, in town for a special session of the U.N. However, the hotel is the least of their worries. When another murder occurs, and then a third, they realize the killer is leading them into Grand Central Terminal.
Fairstein leads her characters into a mysterious city within a city, taking readers with them as they discover the secrets and history of the terminal. It's a fascinating journey, but it's made all the more terrifying for Alex Cooper when a stalker and killer with the words "Kill Coop" on his knuckles seems to be able to find her in the massive underground world. As Mercer, Chapman, and all the security available converge on Grand Central Terminal, looking for answers, Alex has to cope with claustrophobia, her suspicions of Mike's stories, and a case at trial involving a cannibal cop. If she appears a little whiny at times, and not as confident as usual, she has good reasons.
Once again, Fairstein successfully introduces a New York City landmark as a major element in one of these intriguing stories. In fact, Grand Central Terminal becomes a critical player in Terminal City, a player that seems to team up with the killer at times. It's an exciting race to find a killer, as the click ticks down the hours. Most of all, it's the story of a remarkable world, above and underground, "One hundred years old and full of secrets." And, this time, some of the secrets hidden in Terminal City could be deadly.
Note: PBS recently rebroadcast "American Experience: Grand Central", perfect viewing in conjunction with this book. It is available as a streaming video as well.
Linda Fairstein's website is www.lindafairstein.com
Terminal City by Linda Fairstein. Dutton. 2014. ISBN 9780525953883 (hardcover), 379p.
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