Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tough As Nails and Twice As Smart

Former DA Linda Fairstein, prosecutor of sex crimes in the City of New York, may have hung up her shingle but persists in bringing criminals to justice. The fictional kind. Her alter-ego, Alex Cooper, is a tough, smart, multi-faceted woman who persues justice in her own inimitable style. Her most frequent companions are the men she works with, though her love life is fraught with ill fortune.

The Alex Cooper books are based in NYC and as a born-and-bred Big Apple babe, I love them all. Filled with gritty, grisly crimes ranging from white collar to rape, the books are also wonderful histories of the City of New York.

Attorney Fairstein obviously loves this City and each of her 11 novels provides her another opportunity to explore some facet of Sodom by the Sea (as I like to call it) and delve into the history of that aspect, the people who populated the place at that time, and then tie it neatly, wonderfully, all together with the contemporary crime.

She's a master as suspense - Alex rarely escapes unscathed, though she has the resolve to overcome every frightening incident. She has compassion for her victims, she's got the savvy to swim the dangerous waters of NYC politics and the psyche to get beneath the veneer of the criminals and ferret out their secrets.

If you like your heroines tough, in body and mind, want to have a bit of history to go with your stories, or love Manhattan, give Fairstein's canon a try. You won't be disappointed.

And if you are an author (or aspiring) of the gritty, dark mystery - the kind that exposes the good and the bad of humanity, there's no better teacher than this lady.