This is the thirteenth in the Alexandra Cooper series. Ms Cooper, like her author, is a sex crimes/special victims prosecutor in NYC and that is one of the things that I like about the series, the author writes from real world experience.
In this, like in all the others, Coop has one case already in front of the court when the new main mystery crops up. This time it’s a Catholic Priest that was molesting boys on trial and Alex’s boss and the mayor aren’t too thrilled that she’s coming down on them hard.
In the meantime, a young woman’s body is found naked and partially torched at a Harlem church that used to be a synagogue. Naomi Gersh was an outspoken feminist and Jewish theology student before she was murdered. As they start looking into the crime, another outspoken female involved in murder ends up dead at another church and a pattern emerges. There is a lot of interesting history given but sometimes it's just like it's out there in the ether and not really part of Alex's thought processess (as if Fairstein learned all this stuff and you were going to see it one way or the other)
Overall the mystery was good but I found the killer a little fantastical, not completely unbelievable but close and there wasn’t much a reader could have put together to come up with who the killer was. I could have handled that but the ending was so over the top Hollywood that I was really bothered. I’m not actually fond of the need for mysteries to have these heart stopping endings. They’re rarely done well or believably and I found this one a little unbelievable. It did take away a little from my enjoyment. One other thing is, I know that these are formulaic but it’s getting a little wearying after 13 books to always see them go out for high end dinners (I’m not sure how the two detective afford this) and to whip out 20$/night on Jeopardy questions. Cooper might have that kind of money but it seems unlikely that Mercer especially since he has a family, has 400$ he can afford to lose (or win) a month.