Deadfall begins, exactly where Linda Fairstein’s previous book, Killerlook, ended, with the assassination of the Manhattan district attorney. He is shot on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum Art and falls dead into Alexander Cooper’s arms. In shock Alex refuses to leave the body, and we catch up with her in the morgue, where she stands watch over Paul Battaglia, until being interrogated by a very nasty New York police detective.
Why was the district attorney coming to meet you?
What were you doing at the Met gala in the first place?
How much did you have to drink that night?
Weren’t you on leave and yet you were investigating a murder?
Peppered with questions and unable to recall what had just happened in front of her, Alex is kept off guard and continually confronted about her own machinations in the past weeks since being kidnapped. She is questioned about her relationship with the district attorney, and it is implied that she had something to do with his death. Treated like a perpetrator, Alex learns in a very bizarre way what it means to be the prime suspect in an investigation.
But all is not as it seems. The district attorney was mixed up in something with a global reach and a very dangerous undercurrent. As usual he kept all his information close to his chest, and it is this secrecy that eventually got him killed. Typically, he was also involved in some cases for the US Attorney, so in walks the feds. Jurisdictional nonsense ensues, and political interplay is at work when it comes to finding out exactly why the district attorney was murdered. (One of the more realistic parts of all her books, as a former Manhattan prosecutor, Fairstein is able to bring to bear the nonsensical realities of the district attorney’s office.)
Meanwhile, not waiting for someone else to find the answers, Alex and her intrepid band of merry men, and women, begin the hunt for the information that would not only clear her name, but find who really killed Paul Battaglia. From Hong Kong, to the nature reserves in Africa, to southeast Asia and back to the Bronx Zoo, we are brought into a world where cruelty, trafficking, and human ignorance knows no bounds.
We learn about the global extent of the illegal trade in animal parts. We learn about it’s interplay with drugs and human trafficking. We learn that trophy hunters actually consider themselves conservation heroes. We learn that there exists an entire subgenre of humans with too much money, too much time, and not enough compassion for others in the animal kingdom.
Tautly written, this latest in the Alexander Cooper series keeps you on your toes and guessing to the very end. It is an enjoyable read.
But be forewarned. It will also leave you very angry as to the cruelty and callousness of some members of the human race.
This book is available July 25.