Book Review: BLOOD OATH by Linda Fairstein

Confidently written and utterly engaging, Blood Oath is number twenty in Linda Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper, legal thriller series, but it is my first book by this author, and can certainly be read as a standalone. An honest-to-goodness page-turner, especially if you, like so many right now, are interested in the procedure involved in bringing a criminal case to trial in the United States, “press pause” on the news, and make Blood Oath your next weekend read!

Blood Oath features Alexandra “Coop” Cooper, a thirty-eight year old, Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan who has run the Special Victims Bureau, overseeing and prosecuting sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and related murder cases for more than ten years. Alex is smart, likable, and filled with moxie; like the author herself, Alexandra Cooper is a strong victim and survivor advocate, and has dedicated her professional life to seeking justice in the courts for victims of intimate violence. When twenty-four year old Lucy Jenner is brought to “Coop’s” office, Lucy doesn’t know, at first, if she can trust Alexandra Cooper. Ten years earlier, when Lucy was a critical witness in a federal murder trial and only fourteen years old, she experienced something at the hands of someone she trusted, and was not taken seriously when she tried to report it. But she hadn’t met Alex Cooper, who is now listening to Lucy. Alex is assisted in her search for the truth about what happened to Lucy all those years ago by her trusted paralegal, Maxine, and legal secretary, Laura, her SVU colleague and friend, detective Mercer Wallace, as well as fan favorite, Mike Chapman, a hard-boiled-talking detective with Manhattan North’s elite Homicide Squad, who also just happens to be Alex’s boyfriend.

From what I’ve read about this series, Ms. Fairstein always includes edifying information about architectural and cultural landmarks in New York. Blood Oath is no exception, and learning about old New York, Italian restaurant, Forlini’s, and its proximity to the courthouse, The Tombs (the city prison), and the “Bridge of Sighs” (pictured on the book cover) that connects the courthouse and the prison gives this novel an intellectually stimulating quality, while never losing its suspense factor! Esteemed New York City, medical research facility, Rockefeller University, becomes part of the story when a defense attorney friend of Alex’s appears to be suddenly struck by a mysterious and severe medical condition. While some readers may find the ultimate reason for this condition to stretch plausibility only a bit, Ms. Fairstein must be commended for managing multiple, interweaving plot lines seamlessly. The dark, narrow, crumbling tunnels underneath the original, historic campus of “Rock U” (which actually exist!) feature in some of the book’s most gripping, breath-holding scenes!

If you’ve been following Mystery in Minutes (and I hope that you have), you are probably familiar with my most frequently reviewed psychological suspense and police procedural subgenres. Well…….say hello to a new favorite subgenre of mine! There is nothing quite like venturing into a genre or subgenre that you don’t often partake of to “recharge your reader batteries”! Legal thriller, Blood Oath, incorporates timely topics, such as the #MeToo movement, without being preachy or partisan, making it an of-the-moment, yet very entertaining crime fiction read that I dare you to put down, once started! I’m already looking forward to reading about Alexandra Cooper’s next case!

Blood Oath by Linda Fairstein book cover image.jpg

Best for Crime Fiction Readers:

  • Who enjoy reading courtroom dramas and legal thrillers.

  • Who appreciate crime fiction that is set in New York City.

  • The Alexandra Cooper series may appeal to fans of historical crime fiction, in that the reader learns about restaurants, cultural, and architectural locales of historical significance in the City of New York.

  • Fans of hard-boiled crime should know that character Mike Chapman has a definite “hard-boiled vibe”. Much of the dialogue features snappy, NYC cop and prosecutor lingo.

  • Who are interested in prosecutorial procedure, as well as a bit of the possible, political machinations of a district attorney’s office.

    Pages: 400 (Hardcover)

Publisher’s Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein returns with a timely, captivating thriller about the deep--and often deadly--reverberations of past sins.

Linda Fairstein is the queen of intelligent suspense, cleverly interweaving shocking crimes with the hidden, often dark history of New York City locales. In her latest novel, Linda tackles both the first biomedical research center in the United States and the #MeToo movement, as Alex Cooper takes on the case of a young woman who testified years earlier at a landmark Federal trial . . . and now reveals that she was sexually assaulted by a prominent law enforcement official during that time. As the case grows more complex, Alex, along with NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, find themselves in uncharted territory within Manhattan's Rockefeller University, a research institute born of tragedy that has evolved into a premier scientific facility, hospital, and cornerstone of higher learning. But when dark secrets of the century-old institution intersect with life-threatening events, the experience may just help determine whether Alex will keep her job, or throw her hat in the ring to become the next district attorney of New York County . . . if she can survive that long.

About the Author:

Linda Fairstein (born 1947) is one of America's foremost legal experts on crimes of violence against women and children. She served as head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's office from 1976 until 2002, and is the author of a series of novels featuring Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. She is also the author of a series of books for middle grade readers featuring kid sleuth, Devlin Quick. The series is an homage to Nancy Drew, who inspired both Ms. Fairstein’s legal, as well as her crime writing careers.

Ms. Fairstein is an honors graduate of Vassar College (1969) and the University of Virginia School of Law (1972). She joined the Manhattan District Attorney's office in 1972 as an Assistant District Attorney. She was promoted to the head of the sex crimes unit in 1976. During her tenure, Ms. Fairstein prosecuted several highly publicized cases.

Linda Fairstein left the District Attorney's office in 2002, and has continued to consult, write, lecture and serve as a sex crimes expert for a wide variety of print and television media outlets. She is also a frequent speaker on issues surrounding domestic abuse.

Ms. Fairstein lives in Manhattan and on Martha's Vineyard. Her novels draw on Ms. Fairstein's legal expertise as well as her knowledge of, and affection for, the rich history of the city of New York.

MINM Overall Rating of the book, Blood Oath: 4.75/5 Stars