cover image Blood Oath

Blood Oath

Linda Fairstein. Dutton, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-524-74310-9

Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor Alex Cooper has no time to ease back into her routine after being kidnapped and witnessing the assassination of her boss in 2017’s Deadfall, in bestseller Fairstein’s 20th series legal thriller, notable for its focus on how to prove a rapist’s guilt. When 24-year-old Lucy Jenner is arrested in Brooklyn on an outstanding Manhattan warrant, Alex’s lover, NYPD Det. Mike Chapman, has the job of bringing Lucy to Alex’s office. At the Brooklyn precinct, Lucy freaked out after seeing a photograph on the wall, and Alex manages to elicit from her that one of the men in that photo raped her many years earlier, a crime that Lucy had reported to the police, who failed to follow up. Despite warnings from Lucy’s aunt that she’s unreliable and manipulative, Alex finds Lucy’s account and her identification of a powerful man as her assailant credible. A murder subplot and some plot contrivances are unnecessary in this otherwise solid entry. Fairstein’s vast experience of working as a pioneer in sex crimes investigations enables her to make Alex’s efforts both plausible and fascinating. Five-city author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Mar.)