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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Beverly
  • Goleta, California 93117
  • 03-24-11

Not up to Fairstein's Usual Flair

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Churches and lepers and murders, oh, my!

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Boring

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Quite a vendetta

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Good story, but could not handle the narrator...

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Dickinson, TX, United States
  • 07-24-11

HORRIFIC reader ... Buyer BEWARE

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.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee
  • Spring Branch, TX, United States
  • 04-14-17

Barbara Rosenblat is an entire theater cast

As usual, Linda Fairstein made her book just a little too complicated to guess the entire plot by the first chapter. She has a wonderful way of tossing in background knowledge so that I learn interesting facts along with the entertaining fiction. The plot was complicated but easy to follow. The characters were believable and the narration, as usual with Ms. Rosenblat, was like a really talented theater troupe playing the roles live on a stage. Another great listen.

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Supense and History Too

Silent Mercy by Linda Fairstein is a slow but engaging thriller about a killer driven by his belief that women should not be priests, ministers, or preachers. Fairstein sprinkles this timely story with interesting historical factoids about New York City where the story is set. I enjoyed what I learned about New York City as much as I did the suspense of the plot.

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  • Sahal
  • Tucson, AZ USA
  • 01-25-13

Thrilling

Would you consider the audio edition of Silent Mercy to be better than the print version?

Did not read the book but LOVED the getting lost in the audio.

Which character – as performed by Barbara Rosenblat – was your favorite?

All of them.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, It was very hard to put down.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

intruiging, interesting, ties together well

Any additional comments?

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.