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Silent Mercy    by Linda Fairstein order for
Silent Mercy
by Linda Fairstein
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Linda Fairstein's deservedly popular series starring New York ADA Alexandra Cooper (a sex crimes prosecutor) only gets better as time passes. In Silent Mercy, as in previous entries, Alex works closely with NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace. The ongoing banter amongst the investigative trio enriches the story and makes it real.

As Silent Mercy opens, Alex and Mike head to Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem (which was a synagogue a hundred years ago). The decapitated body of a young woman has been found burning just outside the church - and the head has gone missing. At the scene, a witness speaks of a hooded figure who 'didn't move like any man I ever seen.'

The next corpse 'was dumped at the doorstep of St. Pat's' (the original St. Pat's, that is, in Little Italy), her throat slit and her tongue missing. And there are more killings that seem to be related. What do the victims have in common? They were all perfect pariahs. The only link that the investigators can find is a young actor, Daniel Gersh, who disappears.

While this goes on, Alex's prosecution of a defrocked Catholic priest (an accused pedophile) gets her in hot water with the religious establishment and her bosses, who advise her not 'to play Torquemada'. And she has trouble with the aggressive father of a teen girl who falsely accused a scholarship student at her expensive prep school of rape.

As Alex, Mike and Mercer race against time to a desolate island with a sad history to save a final victim, the author fills readers in on New York religious history and a new fighting evangelism. And as always, she delivers a credible background on sex crimes, a themed historical connection, a competent, appealing heroine, strong friendships, and an action-packed finale. This thirteenth in the series is not to be missed!

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