Saturday, March 19, 2011
SILENT MERCY - Alexandra Cooper Series No. 13
Manhattan Prosecutor Alexandra "Coop" Cooper and Detective Mike Chapman arrive at the scene of a horrible murder. A young woman has been decapitated and set on fire on the steps of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem. Coop is assisting with the prosecution of a defrocked priest accused of molestation. Because she's been rattling the cages of the Catholic hierarchy, her boss assigns her to this new murder instead.
Joined as usual by Det. Mercer Wallace in this investigation, another body is soon discovered at a cathedral in Little Italy. It appears that someone is targeting women of different religions who aspire to become church or synagogue leaders, rather than assume the typical roles of their gender.
Fairstein has once again provided an interesting historical backdrop. In SILENT MERCY, she's injected the story with obscure facts about the history of many of New York City's churches.
For me, reading one of Fairstein's novels is usually like slipping on a comfortable pair of slippers. Coop, Chapman and Wallace continue the bantering relationship that's been well established in Fairstein's previous novels, and they make their friendly wagers on the final Jeopardy questions. Coop continues to have her disagreements with her boss and is still involved with her French restaurateur lover.
But SILENT MERCY disintegrates into the absurd when the trio begins to hone in on the killer. Although entertaining, this one is definitely not up to Fairstein's standards.