In the latest thriller in Linda Fairstein's best-selling series, Alex Cooper dives deep into the byzantine, sinister world of New York City's powerful religious institutions.
It's the middle of the night. Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper is called to Harlem's Mount Neboh Baptist Church, a beautiful house of worship originally built as a synagogue. But the crowd gathered there isn't interested in architecture, or even prayer. They've come for the same reason Alex has: to find out why the body of a young woman has been decapitated, set on fire, and left burning on the church steps.
The only identifiable artifact on the charred remains is the imprint of a Star of David necklace seared into the victim's flesh. Alex wonders if the fire was meant to destroy this woman's body, or to draw attention to it. Her fears are confirmed days later, when a second corpse is found at a cathedral in Little Italy.
The killings look like serial hate crimes, but the apparent differences in the victims' beliefs seem to eliminate a religious motive. Convinced that another young woman is bound to die, Alex mines the depths of Manhattan's many houses of worship to find a connection between the victims - and in the process uncovers a terrible and perilous truth that takes her far beyond the scope of her investigation, and directly into the path of terrible danger.
©2011 Linda Fairstein (P)2011 Penguin
I am an avid Linda Fairstein fan and have listened to all her books at least twice. Silent Mercy, which I waited for with much anticipation was a disappointment. The story did not hold my interest and I even listened to several other books before I finally decided to finish it. Even then I found my thoughts drifting and just was never "taken" by the story. In the genre, Alex is such a strong character and usually the stories are compelling but this one just did not hold together. Too bad.
The only thing that elevated my overall rating to 3 stars was Barbara Rosenblatt's excellent narration. She is a versatile and convincing vocal actress and her performance was what kept me listening.
Although I have always been happy enough to find an Alex Cooper paperback in the fairly grim airport newsstands where I have purchased them, I found this listen to be a drag, as I couldn't skip over the excess folderol as I can when reading.
And I think the cases are getting more outré. I won't spoil the plot, but it is bloated to say the least, stuffed full of silliness, so that it is much longer than warranted. I am getting tired of Chapman's Jeopardy shtick, Alex's suave and cliched French lover and her constant nattering about her wealth and privilege and wardrobe, and the history lessons which erupt ever more frequently. The history lessons are always interesting but they totally interrupt the narrative drive, and sound like high school essays, not normal, adult, colloquial human speech.
Yes, yes, this is fantasy detective fiction, but these people are human yo-yo's--one minute facing almost certain death (after three sleepless days) and the next minute sucking down champagne, tra-la-la.
If you like this sort of thing, you will like this sort of thing, but I'm finished.
The book was more about spouting social/religion agendas and about putting in every iota of research trivia than it was about the plot. The book could have been condensed to about a fourth of the length and then might have been interesting. I've had to plow through it, only finishing because I hate to pay for a book and not finish it.
Over the road truck driver and an avid fan of audiobooks.
If you want to listen to Barbara Rosenblat suck cough drops and swallow her saliva and gasp for breath during every pause; by all means feel free to waste a credit on this book.
It was so annoying that I stopped listening after 10 minutes.
While I love Linda Fairstein, and ordered her entire "Alex Cooper" series, the reader makes it impossible to listen to them.
Sorry to have wasted my $$$ and credits.
I realize that Barbara Rosenblat is an esteemed narrator, but this is the second book I have listened to that I did not enjoy, because of her narration. This book is not great literature, and I'm sure it was never intended as such. That said, it IS a good story, with interesting characters. A narrator can surely influence the listener's perception of the characters, and her interpretation led me to see some of the female characters as hysterical whiners, when I am sure that is not how the author meant for them to be portrayed. Granted, there are a number of strong female characters, but it is almost impossible to tell them apart by the narration. This is the first Alexandra Cooper book I have read. I liked the book and will read others in the series, but I will read them in print, not as audio books.
Did not read the book but LOVED the getting lost in the audio.
All of them.
Yes, It was very hard to put down.
Barbaba Rosenblat has a very flexible voice. At times I thought there were more than one reader. She does an excellent job portraying the different characters.
First let me say that I'll buy anything that's read by Barbara Rosenblatt. She could read the list of contents on a box of Wheaties, and I'd normally find it fascinating. That said, she had to struggle with this one.
I may be tiring of Linda Fairstein -- used to love her books, waited for them to appear. But the last several have been just too...... what? educational, I guess, for me. I have nothing against education -- and certainly not with history -- but the history lectures in these books are getting to be too much. I'm sure Miz Fairstein gets rave reviews from her own social circle for all the good she's doing, in terms of trying to educate us rubes along with offering a piece of fiction, but the books are becoming way too weighted down with excessive erudition. When I want to read history, I'll do it. If I want mental escape through fiction, i wish fiction writers wouldn't try to slip in too much learning or you'll find me drifting away.
Especially when the 'learning' comes from such a overwhelmingly prejudiced viewpoint. In this book, her vendetta against the Catholic Church is so excessive it makes even me -- a Jew -- cringe. Good grief!
I realize she operates from the "my clients never lie" theory of legal representation -- which as a lawyer myself I find ludicrous -- but really, a little bit of moderation would go a long way to making a more believable story.
I dunno. I listened to the book, the whole thing -- but if anybody other than Barbara Rosenblatt had been reading it, I probably would have checked out early.
Yes. I enjoyed the background on NY and the history of the religious buildings
The narrator was wonderful on the male characters and at first Ithought it was a male. My problem was with her voice as the female protagonist. Yes I know women and even famous actresses with those
I read mystery stories for atmosphere and location not just plot..This is a winner
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
I finished reading “Silent Mercy” a couple of weeks ago, and I waited to write this review because I realized I was angry.
I’ve been reading Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper series for years. I have half a dozen of the books in hardback, and I’ve kept them instead of donating them, because I’ve reread a few. Rereading a book you love is like going back to a favorite neighborhood park – sure, you know the park very well, but there are always new things to notice.
I love the genre – New York City legal/crime procedurals. The characters are interesting and grow and change, but not so much that it hurts to read a book out of order.
Since I’m a lawyer, I like to call these “attorney porn.” Alex Cooper has more money than she’ll ever need; the freedom to tell off her elected bosses without worrying about how she’ll pay the mortgage if she gets fired; enough free time to devote all the time she wants to her current cases; she keeps up with her hobby of ballet dancing; and go to expensive restaurants with her friends several times a week. If a real practicing lawyer exists like that, I’ve never met her.
The reason that I was angry after reading the book was that there was a lengthy anti-Catholic Church screed in the middle of the book, and it didn’t advance the plot. Fiction can be extremely important in bringing forth important social issues (Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, for example, was crucial in advancing the anti-slavery cause) but “Silent Mercy” didn’t do it for me. Parts of “Silent Mercy” were like suddenly finding myself in the middle of an op-ed piece.
That being said, I’ve liked too many of the Alex Cooper books, and the actual plot in this one was intriguing enough to get over my feelings, and I finished it. I am not going to stop reading this author because of this book.
About the narration: listening to Barbara Rosenblat is like listening to a storyteller as she drinks a warmed snifter of brandy in front of a fire, her voice roughened by a few cigarettes and a late night. I always enjoy her narrations, but the reason my rating isn’t higher is that in a few places, Mercer sounded like Wallace, and Wallace like Mercer. That was confusing, and distracting.
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