Silent Mercy

Linda Fairstein, Editor
Linda Fairstein, Dutton, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-525-95202-2
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
In Fairstein's exciting 13th novel to feature New York ADA Alexandra Cooper (after Hell Gate), a middle of the night call brings Alex and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to Harlem, where the decapitated body of a young woman has been burning on the steps of the Mount Neboh Baptist Church, originally a synagogue until the neighborhood changed. Initially, the authorities suspect a hate crime until another dead woman turns up at a cathedral in Little Italy a few days later. A religious motive emerges, especially since both victims were considered "outcasts" because of their uncompromising demands about the role of women in organized religion. Meanwhile, Alex is prosecuting a defrocked Catholic priest accused of molesting boys, a high-profile trial that a politically connected bishop wants stopped. Fairstein excels at describing New York's complicated religious history as well as the vagaries of the city's legal and religious politics. 12-city author tour. (Mar.)
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