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 site. In her ten years as a sex crimes prosecutor, Alex has seen many victims, but few more poignant than today's, 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" will match DNA from the crime, scene with a suspect's DNA profile in the police database. Or is there a more sinister kind of "cold hit" that claimed the victim's life in this case? Who was she? Her elegant cloths and manicured nails suggest affluent connections, but just how well-connected surprises even Alex.
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 stunning, 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.
Read an Excerpt
It was after eight o'clock, and all I could see of the sun was its gleaming crown as it slipped behind the row of steep cliffs, giving off an iridescent pink haze that signaled the end of a long August day. Brackish gray water swirled and broke against the large rocks that edged the mound of dirt on which I stood, spitting up at my ankles as I stared out to the west at the Palisades. The pleats of my white linen skirt, which had seemed so cool and weightless as I moved about the air-conditioned courtroom all afternoon, were plastered against my thighs by the humidity, and I swatted off the mosquitoes as they searched for...
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Reading Group Guide
Questions and Topics for Discussion
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 o see more