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Death Angel
Cover of Death Angel
Death Angel
Alex Cooper Series, Book 15
New York City. Central Park. For thousands of residents and tourists who fill it every day, it's an enormous urban sanctuary. For one killer it's the perfect hunting ground.

A young girl has been found dead in the Ramble, a secluded section of the park made up of winding paths, dense woods, and dead ends. Is she the first victim of a psychopath? Or a clue to other missing women in years past whose remains have never been found?

For the answer, Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and Detective Mike Chapman follow a twisting trail of evidence that takes them deep into the city's dark history—and deeper into the mind of killer whose work has only just begun.
New York City. Central Park. For thousands of residents and tourists who fill it every day, it's an enormous urban sanctuary. For one killer it's the perfect hunting ground.

A young girl has been found dead in the Ramble, a secluded section of the park made up of winding paths, dense woods, and dead ends. Is she the first victim of a psychopath? Or a clue to other missing women in years past whose remains have never been found?

For the answer, Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and Detective Mike Chapman follow a twisting trail of evidence that takes them deep into the city's dark history—and deeper into the mind of killer whose work has only just begun.
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    One

    "Can you hold up those guys with the body bag, Loo?" I was jogging down the steps from the top of Bethesda Terrace, trying to catch up with Mercer Wallace, when the four cops and two techs from the ME's office passed me on their climb toward the waiting morgue van.

    The lieutenant had his back to me, standing on the edge of the Lake and pointing at something across the water. Ray Peterson, the man in charge of Manhattan North Homicide, either couldn't hear me shouting because of the distance or wasn't interested in what I had to say.

    I swiveled and backtracked up the broad staircase, hoping to overtake the crew carrying the corpse to the roadway on the 72nd Street transverse. But they had already reached the open doors of the transport vehicle by the time I hit the pavement and was stopped by uniformed cops who were stringing yellow crime scene tape across the gaping space between the elegant balustrades.

    "Hey, Jack." After more than twelve years as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, I knew the morgue attendants almost as well as I knew my doormen. "It's me, Alex Cooper. Give me three minutes with her, please."

    Jack picked his head up and turned toward me just as one of the officers brushed my hand off the tape. "In or out, ma'am?" the cop growled. "You want to ride with the body, that's fine. But you don't get back in here once you walk past this point."

    I needed to talk to the lieutenant and be briefed on the findings along with Mercer, but I also wanted to see the girl whose remains had been found splayed beneath the northern abutment of Bow Bridge early this morning. I wanted to know what she looked like now, before her flesh met the cold instruments of the autopsy room.

    Jack called out over the back of the young cop who was restraining me. "No can do, Alex. It's already a madhouse here between the regulars and the press scavengers. Feel free to drop by my office later on. She won't be on the table until tomorrow."

    It was only 7:45, but it was obvious that police officers from all over the city were being bused in from their commands to form a perimeter around the roadways that led to the Terrace and the Lake, which was the very centerpiece of the Park. There was nothing more difficult to secure than a crime scene that had no obvious boundaries, in the middle of the most trafficked public space on the planet.

    Mercer Wallace, a first-grade detective with the Special Victims Unit and one of my best friends, had picked me up at my home just a few blocks from the Park entrance. We had passed trucks from every major media outlet and watched as reporters and camera crews sneaked through the dense spring growth of bushes and plantings to get closer to the vista where death had intruded on this glorious spring morning.

    "Alexandra, we're waiting on you." Mercer was shouting at me from beside the fountain at the foot of the steps.

    I waved at him to let him know I'd heard him, then watched the van drive off before retracing my way down toward the Lake. I'd left the stern cop manning the tape barrier with more pushy onlookers to contend with than me. It was too early for the thousands of tourists who would flood the Park later on this June day, but the daily complement of joggers, power walkers, bikers, dog owners, Rollerbladers, and wildlife aficionados all seemed to be stopped in their tracks, trying to figure out the cause of the commotion below.

    This time I took the two-tiered staircase—the eastern one— more slowly than my first descent minutes ago. I looked around at the stunning landscape and the water of the calm Lake sparkling with morning sunlight, but my...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 27, 2013
    In bestseller Fairstein’s engrossing 15th novel featuring ADA Alexandra “Coop” Cooper (after 2012’s Night Watch), the Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor digs into the history of Central Park when the murdered body of a teenage girl is found near Bethesda Fountain with its angel statuette. With help from detective pals Mercer Wallace and Mike Chapman, Coop soon connects the crime to the park’s forgotten 19th-century black enclave, Seneca Village, and a railroad tycoon who fashioned extravagant figurines for his daughter. Simmering under the tense investigation is the chemistry between Mike and Coop—which eventually kindles the wrath of Mike’s ex-lover, Judge Jessica Pell. After another female victim turns up, Coop gets on the trail of a rapist will a tell-tale clue—the words “Kill Coop” tattooed on his hand. In the end, Fairstein combines the many disparate strands in fortuitous ways to bring about a surprising finale. 7-city author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2013
    If you thought Sex Crimes Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper had already examined a body planted on every single block of Manhattan (Night Watch, 2012, etc.), you've forgotten about Central Park. The young woman perhaps three months dead who's washed up beneath Bow Bridge reunites Alex with her old buddy Detective Mike Chapman, NYPD Homicide. And her other friends would love to see Alex and Mike thrown even closer together. Although the crime is so old, the killer so long gone and the victim so impossible to identify that Alex suspects that her vindictive higher-ups have tossed her the case to guarantee that she fails, she's still likely to spend plenty of time with Mike, and there's no reason that can't be quality time, even intimate time. The fly in the ointment is that Mike's being stalked by Judge Jessica Pell, who's miffed that he's been pulled off her security detail because the threats she claims imperiled her life don't seem to have panned out, and she's stuck on Mike and antagonistic toward Alex. The evidence in the Central Park murder points to serial rapist Raymond Tanner, but Alex annoys everyone by her persistence in tying the case to the kidnapping a generation ago of little Lucy Dalton from the famed Dakota. Luckily, Alex is massively well-informed about the park's history and topography, and nearly every witness she talks to gets a chance to add more details about the neighborhood. Fairstein seems less interested in dramatizing official procedure or generating suspense than in serving as a relentlessly didactic tour guide in the mode of Margaret Truman. You'll learn an awful lot about Central Park, but one thing you won't learn is that the setting guarantees a successful thriller.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Death Angel
Death Angel
Alex Cooper Series, Book 15
Linda Fairstein
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