A chilling new Alexandra Cooper thriller from the acclaimed Manhattan Assistant D.A. who lives the gritty and glamorous life she writes. The raves are in for Linda Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper novels. "Riveting authenticity," says Vanity Fair. "Grisham-esque," says Time. "There is an anger and a passion in Alex Cooper that is clearly not fictional," says The London Times. From its dramatic opening scene when a silk-clad corpse washes up from the turbulent waters at Manhattan's northern tip to its stunning conclusion when Alexandra runs for her life, Cold Hit transports the reader behind the scenes with the cops, the criminals, the victims, and the denizens of the art world. Here is the authenticity, the vision, that only Linda Fairstein can provide. On a steamy August evening, after an exhausting day in the courtroom, Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper joins her longtime pals and partners-in-investigation, NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, at a somber crime scene. In her ten years as a sex crimes prosecutor, Alex has seen many victims, but few more poignant than this one, pulled from the water with her hands and feet obscenely tied to a ladder. Sleep comes uneasily after such a vision, but the knowledge that monsters walk the city's streets, preying on the innocent, motivates Alex and her colleagues in their sometimes heartbreaking work. Perhaps this time they will be lucky. A "cold hit" could match DNA from the crime scene with a suspect's DNA profile in the police database. Or is this case a more sinister kind of "cold hit"? Who was this latest victim? From a luxurious Fifth Avenue apartment to famous midtown auction houses to the avant-garde galleries of Chelsea, Alex, Mike, and Mercer hunt for a killer in a very special world where priceless art meets big money in a lethal mix. Whether it's a missing Rembrandt, a Vermeer in need of authentication, or doors paneled with precious amber and missing since the great Nazi art thefts, the stakes are high, the consequences potentially fatal. Illuminating and inspiring, Cold Hit takes us from the paint-chipped offices of cops and D.A.s to the elegant restaurants of Alex's privileged Upper East Side life. The contrast is striking, but it's all part of the extraordinary world that author Linda Fairstein has brought so vividly to life in this magnificent novel of suspense.
1. In Linda Fairstein’s third Alexandra Cooper novel, she tackles the world of fine art dealing—even weaving in real unsolved art crimes. How would you describe her portrayal of the New York art world? Did it surprise you? Had you ever heard of the Amber Room or the Gardner Museum heist?
2. Mercer Wallace tells Alex that they’ll find Denise Caxton’s murderer, “in spite of the devil” (p. 11). What do you think he means?
3. COLD HIT pays particular attention to the landscape of Manhattan—thanks especially to Mike Chapman’s love of local history. How does Manhattan itself become a key player in this story? Can you imagine Alex living anywhere else?
4. The night that Denise Caxton’s body is found, Alex spends a tough night awake, thinking “about the monsters who walk among us” (p. 16). Which elements of this case do you think have especially disturbed her? Where else do we see glimpses of the more sensitive, vulnerable Alex?
5. Although we get to know Denise Caxton only through the testimony of others, how would you describe her? Did you, like Alex, sometimes have trouble finding her sympathetic?
6. Chapman is able to find opportunities for wit and humor in the face of even the most horrifying crimes. What does this ability tell us about him, and what makes him such an important part of the story?
7. In what ways does being a woman make it both easier and tougher for Alex to do her job?
8. How do characters like Ruth Harwind, the surly fifteen-year-old who falsely accuses someone of rape, and Mrs. Braverman, the woman who believes aliens live upstairs from her, add to the flavor of the story?
9. In COLD HIT, the friendship between Mercer, Chapman, and Alex is tested in the most dramatic way. Describe the bond between the three of them. Are Alex and Chapman justified in feeling responsible for what happened to Mercer?
10. Do you think that Alex successfully balances her personal life with the demands and stresses of her job? What outlets does she have to help keep herself sane?
11. Linda Fairstein’s novels do not limit themselves to a single story line, but paint a much broader portrait of Alex Cooper’s world. How does her brand of storytelling compare to other, similar works? Is there another writer she reminds you of?
12. Alex jokes with Chapman and Mercer about their “jealousy” of her new boyfriend. Though her relationship with them is platonic, do you think that this joke hits close to home? Could any boyfriend possibly be as close to Alex as the two of them are?
13. Denise Caxton’s life—with her multiple lovers, shady art acquisitions, and questionable partnerships—was complicated, but the reason she was murdered was ultimately very simple. Were you surprised when you learned what really happened?