Linda Fairstein is a compelling read. Anyone who likes the
SVU TV show should love these plots. This is the seventeenth
book in this series, which follows sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra
(Alex) Cooper and two detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace.
This story is unique in that it is the first one told from
Mike's point of view; where as all of the previous books in
the series have had Alexandra as the storyteller.
The author noted, “ There is a lot of skill involved
and a reliance on science. I worry that sometimes young cops
go straight to the science without using their investigative
skills. The third element unquestionably is luck. One of my
first cases after DNA became prominent included a bit of luck.
The criminal used Clorox to scrub down the apartment. Then
he stole jewelry so we got him when finding those fingerprints.
Detective Mike is a pretty special guy since he is a composite
of the great men I worked with over the years. As a prosecutor,
I had the pleasure and honor of working shoulder-to-shoulder
with the best detectives in the NYPD, and I just channeled
them whenever I had Mike speak.”
This plot is based on a real case in the NY City DA’s
office. As with all of her books, the issue involves female
victims. In this novel there were two events, one of which
has Alex prosecuting a deviant person, and the second involved
Alex herself. The story begins with Alex in court trying to
indict a defendant for sex trafficking crimes. But she must
also contend with an escaped convicted rapist who is stalking
her and a hacker who has accessed her most secure information.
But, these become the least of her worries when she is suddenly
kidnapped. For the rest of the book she becomes MIA, allowing
the reader to have the NYPD detective, and Alex’s recent
lover, as their eyes and ears. As it becomes obvious she is
a victim of foul play detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace
pull out all the stops to get her back alive.
Fairstein has become well known for having the setting of
New York City as almost a secondary character. A history of
the city is incorporated throughout the book, specifically
the New York Waterfront that includes the George Washington
Bridge, the Hudson River, and The Statue of Liberty. She highlights
the nooks and crannies of the area, making it feel as if the
reader is actually a part of the location.
The author’s vast prosecutorial experience has allowed
her to write believable and realistic plots. She is able to
draw upon interesting facts having been chief of the Sex Crimes
Unit of the district attorney’s office in Manhattan,
the first in the country, for more than two decades and America’s
foremost legal expert on sexual assault and domestic violence.
In fact, people will wonder how much of Linda is Alex.
She hopes readers will be entertained and “ educated
about the issues of domestic violence, sexual predators, and
date rape. My passion is working with victims of violence.
I keep my legal credentials current so that I can work on
cases or help survivors get access to the system. Two of my
nonprofit boards are “Safe Horizon,” the country’s
largest victim-advocacy organization, and the “Joyful
Heart Foundation”, founded by Law and Order: SVU star
Mariska Hargitay, where our current emphasis is ending the
backlog of rape evidence kits across the nation. It’s
work that makes you feel great.”
But she also wants to issue a word of warning, “ Alex
and I understand that a prosecutor’s job is not necessarily
to get convictions but rather to do justice to the system.
A good prosecutor makes sure you get the right guy. I saw
my job as convicting the guilty, with emphasis on the guilty
as charged. Take for example the Rolling Stone article where
the accuser outright lied. One of the things that saddened
me the most was that smart young women said it did not matter
she lied, because important issues were brought to light.
Of course it should matter that she lied, truth seeking is
a key role.”
Although never a paid consultant she did work with the SVU
TV team. She watches the show because she has not given up
her passion of advocating for victims of violence. She worked
with the original prosecutor on the show and the main detective,
Olivia Benson, allowing them to pick her brain. It appears
that the producer Dick Wolf gave a shout out to Fairstein
by using the first name and last name initial for the show’s
first prosecutor, Alex Cabot versus Fairstein’s main
character, Alex Cooper.
Devil’s Bridge keeps the reader on the edge
of their seat. This novel has an action packed plot that allows
readers to learn a little something about sex crimes; yet,
also weaves in some history and trivia. Anyone looking for
a suspenseful thriller should read this book.