My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have a fondness for mysteries written by former professionals in the field their protagonist is in. Fairstein, like Alex Cooper was a sex crimes prosecutor in NYC and I have enjoyed this series. Lately the series seems to be running dry and this one was running nearly on empty. It was so unsatisfying that when my time ran out on the library renewal and there was another hold on it, I didn’t hang onto it and pay the fine just so I could find out whodunit. No, I let it go for a month and didn’t enjoy the second half any more than the first.
It opens with Alex in France with her lover, Luc Rouget. He’s having a fancy party at his superb restaurant. Meanwhile back in NYC he’s trying to reopen Lutrece, his father’s restaurant that was very famous. Part of my problem with this is I don’t even like Luc. And since this was book was more than half Luc, it was a recipe (no pun intended) for disaster.
It starts out just odd. Alex almost catches someone in the act of putting bones on Luc’s property and rather than call in police, Luc does nothing and she’s oddly okay with this. Not long later, a dead woman turns up in a nearby pound dressed in all white as if she were at Luc’s fancy party with a matchbox to the new Lutrece in her purse and where in the French police all come off as Inspector Clouseau.
That same day Alex gets a call from back home where Mercer is involved in a high profile case where a hotel maid is raped by a millionaire Frenchman, “Baby Mo.” (while it is common practice to take mystery books from headlines, this one is more poorly disguised than even a Law and Order episode). Luc’s reaction was ‘what a shame the American press is destroying this man’s reputation. We wouldn’t do that in France,’ and ‘why do you even care? She’s just a servant.’ If my lover spouted this sort of crap, I’d be taking a hard look at my relationship (and I’m not even a sex crime prosecutor).
Naturally Alex goes home with Luc not far behind. Yet another person ends up dead with lutrece’s match box in his pocket and Luc is Mike’s number one suspect (even though he claims he doesn’t believe it.) The maid storyline is SO predictable with the money-grubbing civil case starting immediately and the fact that she lies about absolutely everything that I actually stopped reading those chapters and concentrated on the murder (and yes it ended up exactly as expected except for Baby Mo’s ultimate fate).
Far too much of this was Mike not so much teasing Alex about her love affair but being downright mean. Mercer wasn’t in it nearly enough and Alex was being a flat out jealous bitch especially about Gina Verona whom I didn’t think was acting anywhere near as weird or flirty (with Luc) as I apparently was supposed to. This was long and drawn out and Baby Mo’s story line was there because it had to have SOME kind of sex crime in it. The last 40 pages were the only redeeming factor and that came after Alex doing something so unprofessional I wouldn’t have cared if Battaglia canned her.
I’ve seen others complaining about it in past books but it really felt forced in this one, the whole betting on final Jeopardy! Thing then going to restaurants a cop couldn’t begin to afford. Especially when they’re all fighting. It’s like way too much formula here. If the next one isn’t a bit better I might have to part ways with this series and that would be sad.
View all my reviews