Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper becomes a person of interest—a great deal of interest—in the death of her boss.
Cooper’s always had a complicated relationship with Manhattan DA Paul Battaglia. Still on leave following her traumatic kidnapping (Devil’s Bridge, 2015), she leaves a fundraiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art only to have a dark figure rush up the imposing stairs, call out her name, and collapse in her arms with two bullets in him. It doesn’t matter that Cooper, who heads Manhattan’s Special Victims Unit, has long been a fixture in her office. She’s treated just like anyone else found in such a compromising position—a photo a dog walker snaps turns up in next morning’s newspaper headlined “Death Grip”—and maybe even worse. That’s because Jaxon Stern, the detective imported from Brooklyn South to head the investigation because he hasn’t worked with Cooper, has had a grudge against her ever since she prosecuted his brother-in-law for raping a Columbia student. Only that afternoon, Cooper (Killer Look, 2016, etc.) and Detective Mike Chapman, her NYPD lover, had watched in dismay as Battaglia emerged from the town house of international businessmen George Kwan. Although Kwan maintains that Battaglia was nothing more than an acquaintance, Cooper and Chapman are sure there’s more to the connection. They’ll have to follow it to Central Park and the Bronx Zoo and a complex web of “humans, heroin, and wildlife...trafficked globally by a large organization,” allowing Cooper to learn and share a double measure of information about poaching, zoos, well-connected secret societies, and organizations devoted to both preserving and hunting endangered species en route to another of Fairstein’s favored scenic landmark shootouts and an entirely predictable arrest.
The usual formula—an irresistible hook, a heroine too feisty to be considered truly embattled, a heap of expository thriller, and plotting that manages to be both ambitious and flabby—done to its usual turn.