Wednesday, January 17

Bad Blood By Linda Fairstein

Review by Theodore Feit

 

Alex Cooper and her sidekicks, detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, have been with us now for several excellent novels.  In Bad Blood, they are fine-tuned to the nth degree.   Combining a fast-paced mystery with little-known facts about underground New York City, the author has created perhaps her best work to date.

 

The story starts off with Alex trying a murder case that is beginning to look hopeless, with the defendant likely to get off.  However, as in previous novels, the investigation is ongoing even as the trial progresses.   The defendant, accused of murdering, or arranging the strangulation of, his wife, a few days into the trial overpowers the officer guarding him and grabs her pistol, shooting her in the head, harming two other court officers and escaping custody.  [Not a spoiler – this happens very early on in the novel.]

 

Meanwhile, Chapman and Wallace uncover facts relating to a prior strangulation many years before following a blast in Water Tunnel #3, in which three workers were killed, one of whom was the defendant's brother.  The body of the earlier victim is exhumed, allowing the author to discuss the latest forensic breakthroughs involving DNA evidence.  Needless to say complications abound, especially with a blood feud between two families of tunnel workers.

 

An exciting finish to this narrative takes place in a little-known subway station—the original—but abandoned—City Hall stop of the city's first rapid transit system, still probably the most elegant ever constructed in the Big Apple to which nobody has access anymore.  This time there's less courtroom drama, but more legwork to tell the story.  But the reader races along never tiring right down to the final page. 

 

Highly recommended.

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