Scribner, Jan 2004, 25.00, 400 pp.
Manhattan Sex Crimes Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper tires to persuade a jury to convict counter terrorism security consultant Andrew Tripping of raping thirty something Paige Wallis. The problem with the case is that the alleged victim has no injuries or bruises so it becomes a “He said she said” scenario in front of a judge who hates these so called rape date trials due to the typical lack of solid evidence for instance like a corpse in a homicide.
In the courtroom, Alex's case is in trouble. Meanwhile, someone murders McQueen “Queenie” Ransome, a former Harlem Renaissance dancer. Surprisingly Queenie had a fascinating past as a WW II secret agent and as the mistress of Egypt's King Farouk, whom she left one day with plenty of his treasure. NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace investigate the homicide that also brings in the CIA and links to the Tripping rape trial while someone tries to kill Alex.
THE KILLS (named for a part of lower Manhattan) excitingly and smoothly combines a legal thriller with a police procedural as Alex makes her third starring performance (see THE BONE VAULT and THE DEADHOUSE). The story line moves forward rather quickly, but it is the courtroom scenes whether in front of the jury or in the judge's chambers that raise the quality level. Though attempted murder of a government prosecutor seems hard to accept that fits in the logic of the plot especially since Alex is doing her own legwork (not sure where she finds the time – sort of like reviewing 3-4 books a day). Fans will admire the heroine and appreciate this fine thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner