At end of Linda Fairstein’s Terminal City, the 16-book-long flirtation between Manhattan’s top sex crimes prosecutor, Alexandra Cooper, and New York City Police Detective Mike Chapman has finally moved into an affair. But the affair is on hold in The Devil’s Bridge (Dutton, Aug.), the 17th installment in the series, as Alex fails to return home one evening and is declared missing. After a decade of putting criminals behind bars, the suspects in her disappearance are legion. There’s also been a recent security breach with dangerous repercussions, and the police commissioner is increasingly wary of the methods Mike may be using to get Alex back. For the first time, most of the story will be told by Chapman. “We go inside Mike’s head,” says Fairstein “looking at her disappearance from his point of view.”
Fairstein, the former chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and Alex Cooper have more than law enforcement in common. They share a passion for the works of 19th-century English novelist Anthony Trollope. “Alex reads Trollope to get away from the grit of her job, and I have this thing about reading all of Trollope before I die,” Fairstein says. “Right now, I’m reading Phineas Redux.” Fairstein has always included characters who are readers in her bestselling series and “insisted that part of Alex’s character is she’s always reading a book.” Harlan Coben, Lisa Scottoline, P.D. James, and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca have all been found on Alex’s nightstand. Chapman is always reading military history, crime fiction, and hardboiled detectives such as Raymond Chandler. In The Devil’s Bridge, Chapman dives into books by Coben and Michael Connelly. “I usually include a nod to one of my friends who’s the competition,” says Fairstein, laughing. “I often hear from readers that they’ve bought titles mentioned in my books. and when I post on social media about books I’m reading, I always get feedback from readers who tell me they are ‘going to the bookstore today.’”
Fairstein will be signing galleys at Table 13 in the main autographing area today, noon–12:30 p.m. A book tour with stops in New York City, Phoenix, Houston, and on Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard is also in the works, as Fairstein “loves going back to the bookstores that grew me.”
This article appeared in the May 29, 2015 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.