Workers demolishing a nineteenth-century brownstone where Poe once lived discover a human skeleton standing -- entombed -- behind a brick wall. When assistant district attorney and sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper hears about the case, it strikes her as a classic scene from Poe's fiction...except that forensic evidence shows this young woman died within the last twenty-five years.
Meanwhile, Alex is furious at the news that an old nemesis may be preying on women once again. The Silk Stocking Rapist first struck four years ago, leaving a string of victims in his wake, then abruptly disappeared before Alex and the NYPD could identify him. Now, with improved forensic technology and a national DNA databank to draw from, a fresh attack may give Alex a new lease on many old crimes, just in time to beat the statute of limitations.
Masterful and exhilarating, this heady thriller combines dramatic New York City lore and the macabre world of Edgar Allan Poe with the authentic legal and forensic detail that only Linda Fairstein can offer. Entombed is electrifying crime writing at its very best.
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Reading Group Guide
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Premature burial is a recurring theme in ENTOMBED. Alexandra Cooper discovers a body bricked behind a wall and is herself nearly entombed twice. And the murder victim Emily Upshaw, years before her death, worried especially about that particular fate. What makes the prospect of being buried alive so uniquely terrifying? What kind of mood does it lend to the story?
2. Early in the story, Alex, though a prosecutor, explains that she always makes it a point to visit the crime scene herself. What does this insistence on seeing things firsthand say about her approach to her job? What does it also tell us about her personality?
3. Alex convinces the District Attorney to let her prosecute the Silk Stocking Rapist in a new and potentially controversial way. Later, we see how advances in DNA collection are constantly changing how she and her colleagues do their jobs. What other new techniques and advances did you find peppered throughout? What effect do these ripped-from-the-headlines details have on the novel?
4. How has Alex’s breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Jake Tyler, affected her? If you’ve read the previous novels in the series, were you surprised or disappointed to learn that they had split?
5. Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Cask of Amontillado” obviously figures very heavily into this novel. What other Poe sto see more