Silent Mercy (Alexandra Cooper Series #13)

Silent Mercy (Alexandra Cooper Series #13)

by Linda Fairstein

Hardcover(Large Print)

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New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein is at her explosive best as she plunges into the byzantine world of New York City’s most powerful and sacred institutions—and unearths the most sinister of secrets…

Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper has been called to a Harlem Baptist Church, where a woman has been decapitated and set on fire on the church steps—with the imprint of a Star of David necklace seared into her flesh. Then a second body is found at a cathedral in Little Italy. Alex is blind to the sick and inconceivable motives feeding a particularly vicious serial killer—until she mines the depths of the city’s vast and serpentine religious history.

What Alex follows is a dangerous path that takes her far beyond the scope of her investigation, and directly into the path of a frightening and inescapable truth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781410434920
Publisher: Gale Group
Publication date: 03/08/2011
Series: Alexandra Cooper Series , #13
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 575
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Linda Fairstein was chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney’s office in Manhattan for more than two decades and is America’s foremost legal expert on sexual assault and domestic violence. Her Alexandra Cooper novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Fairstein was the winner of the International Thriller Writers Silver Bullet Award in 2010. She lives in Manhattan and on Martha’s Vineyard.


New York, New York and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

May 5, 1947

Place of Birth:

Mount Vernon, New York


B.A., Vassar College, 1969; J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1972

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Silent Mercy (Alexandra Cooper Series #13) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 reviews.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Another mediocre novel from Linda Fairstein, who may have reached the end of her trove of good stories to tell. In this one, the killer search is almost secondary to lectures on feminism, especially on the plight of women in various religions. I agree with the author on the subject, but it wasn't why I picked up her novel. She has been pretty good with novels that involve New York and its history, but this one doesn't go far once we have seen some of the area's churches. What is interesting about this latest novel is that now, with Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau out of office and the novel dedicated to the new DA, Cyrus Vance, the fictional DA Paul Battaglia is no longer looked upon with so much favor. Fairstein has him interfering with the trial of a defrocked pedophile priest to help out the church against his own deputy DAs, but he also has a trove of illegal Cuban cigars and accepts comped baseball tickets, an act which has gotten some New York politicians in trouble. Battaglia is not much of a feminist in this novel either. So we can no longer wonder how much he is based on Morgenthau, can we?
harstan More than 1 year ago
In an obvious ritual slaughter, a decapitated severely burned female body is found outside Harlem's Mount Neboh Baptist Church. She is identified by her rap sheet as activist Naomi Gersh. Her head lies just outside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. A second mutilated corpse is found just outside Old St. Patrick's Church. The victim, whose tongue was ripped out, is excommunicated Ursula Hewitt after being ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. Manhattan's Special Victims unit chief Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper and NYPD colleagues Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace investigate the ritual killings seeking a link between the two victims beyond silencing two female activists. They soon connect the Manhattan murders to homicides of a female pastor in Kentucky and a gay Pentecostal minister in Georgia. The ADA also works two other high visibility cases of a school student's claim of rape and an accusation of clerical sex abuse. The latest Cooper investigative legal thriller (see Hell's Gate) is an exciting action-packed tale with quite a wallop. As required but still fun is a tour of Manhattan "as an island of churches". The story line focuses brilliantly and sharply at organized religions' antiquated but methodical allegorical beheading of women with an avenging sword wrapped inside holiness that will lead to Linda Fairstein's excommunication. Fast-paced within a strong whodunit, fans except religious fundamentalists will relish Silent Mercy. Harriet Klausner
mysterygirlSC More than 1 year ago
I kept reading thinking this book would improve, I skipped pages and pages and was still able to follow the story. I have to be honest and admit that Linda Fairstein hasn't been one of my favorite writers for sometime. Thought I would try her again but was really disappointed. Use to love her books years ago.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
At a Manhattan Baptist church, the headless charred remains of a woman are found. Soon, her decapitated head is found outside the Cathedral of St. John Divine. Another victim whose tongue is cut out is found outside Old St. Patrick's Church. ADA Alexandra Cooper thinks that because of the locales these could be the work of some religious fanatic, until she investigates more and opens a huge can or worms. As always, Linda Fairstein adds in some of New York City's historical facts; this time the old churches. I always find this very fascinating. The story itself, although, fast paced and mysterious, didn't quite hold me as previous novels.
Lynie More than 1 year ago
Manhattan Prosecutor Alexandra "Coop" Cooper and Detective Mike Chapman arrive at the scene of a horrible murder. A young woman has been decapitated and set on fire on the steps of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem. Coop is assisting with the prosecution of a defrocked priest accused of molestation. Because she's been rattling the cages of the Catholic hierarchy, her boss assigns her to this new murder instead. Joined as usual by Det. Mercer Wallace in this investigation, another body is soon discovered at a cathedral in Little Italy. It appears that someone is targeting women of different religions who aspire to become church or synagogue leaders, rather than assume the typical roles of their gender. Fairstein has once again provided an interesting historical backdrop. In SILENT MERCY, she's injected the story with obscure facts about the history of many of New York City's churches. For me, reading one of Fairstein's novels is usually like slipping on a comfortable pair of slippers. Coop, Chapman and Wallace continue the bantering relationship that's been well established in Fairstein's previous novels, and they make their friendly wagers on the final Jeopardy questions. Coop continues to have her disagreements with her boss and is still involved with her French restaurateur lover. But SILENT MERCY disintegrates into the absurd when the trio begins to hone in on the killer. Although entertaining, this one is definitely not up to Fairstein's standards. Lynn Kimmerle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another brisk and bouncy outing with New York prosecutor Alex Cooper, with all the earmarks of this long-running series -- a crazed mass killer, a tour of one segment of New York history, and a violent ending in which Alex is in dreadful peril somewhere cold and dark. This time, the killer's mania is religious. Several of the crime scenes are religious institutions, and Ms. Fairstein scatters a good bit of information on various religious groups. Also, her strong feminist views come through, which is interesting in the religious context. One reason I keep reading these is because I am a New Yorker, and I like local info. Another is that I keep waiting for Alex to dump the latest in her series of improbable boyfriends and focus on ----- .. But no spoiler, and not yet
Menagerie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another installment of Alexander Cooper, assistant DA for the sex crimes unit of NYPD. I like the fact that Fairstein puts so much history of New York in her books. I have learned so much about the city through this series. However, I think she made a significant mistake in this book because her killer is not a local and would not know the history that allows Alex and the detectives to figure out who he is. While the identity of the killer is interesting, it did not blend with the rest of the plot and was not believable at all. I feel like Fairstein either started this without knowing who her killer was or made a sea change mid-way through. I'd also like to see her shake up Alex's world a bit. Too much of the same is coming through in each book; lots of expensive booze, deferential restaurant owners, and the same shenanigans from her office nemesis. I'd like a surprise now and again.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Linda Fairstein is one of handful of writers with series that I enjoy enough to always read whatever the latest is. It's a relatively select group that provides me with great reading comfort food and sometimes that's just what you need. I have a lot of respect for Linda Fairstein and her pioneering work as a Sex Crimes DA back in the days when the victim deserved it. As bad as it is now, it is much much better than it used to be and women like Linda Fairstein helped make that happen. Bonus that she writes good crime fiction.All of that said it's feeling like she's running out of steam in this series. I still enjoyed it, particularly due to her penchant for teaching about the history and architecture of New York, but she's starting to head into Patricia Cornwell territory and that means I'll stop reading her at some point. Both this book and the last one were pretty annoying. Her books have great secondary characters, including her detective friends Mercer and Mike, but she's pretty much doing nothing for these characters. It's great that Alexandra is one of the guys, but for two books now Mercer has played little role and Mike is just so snarky that I don't know why anyone would stay around - and yet Alexandra always has an excuse for him. There's subtle victimization in the relationship that makes me really uncomfortable given the context.I think I'll read one more of her books and if there isn't huge improvement, we'll part ways.
ShelleyJax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rating: 2.5 because I feel generousSetting: NYC, New Jersey, and MassachusettsSilent Mercy is the thirteenth novel in the Alexandra Cooper series. Cooper is the Assistant District for the Special Crimes Unit (Sex Crimes Unit.) Her colleagues includes Detective Mike Chapman of the Manhattan North Homicide Division, and Detective Mercer Wallace who works throughout Manhattan and supports the SCU full time. Cooper is the historian of the book, and most time his in depth look at the buildings and history of NYC is quite appealing being a former New Yorker. Mercer is the oldest and most experienced and one of the few Detective first grade who is black, while Cooper is the youngest and has been in the SCU for 10 years now.As we open the story, Mike and Alex arrive at Harlem's Mount Neboh Baptist Church, a house of worship originally built as a synagogue. The ghastly remains of a young woman who has been decapitated, set on fire, and left burning on the church steps awaits them. The victim was wearing the Star of David, which is we know is a Jewish cross. Soon, Mercer joins them and the search for her killer begins in earnest. Chapman goes beyond reasonable means in order to protect Alex from the things she sees on a daily basis, including putting her down constantly. Not sure when that is going to cause a rift between the two. Then, the story diverts away from the actual murder investigation, to a court room where a priest is on trial for sexually molesting boys. Naturally, after all the rumblings that the Catholic Church was complacent in not allowing these priests to be prosecuted in a court of law, you knew it was only a matter of time before Fairstein, who spent 26 years in the SCU of Manhattan, would jump feet first into the controversy in order to further stir the anger and resentment that still remains today.The fact that she had the Attorney General and the Bishop of the Church so friendly was disturbing to me as well. Especially later when she is told by the AG and Police Commissioner that they no longer want her on the Clergy Killer case because of her own religious beliefs and the fact that she pissed off the Bishop by demanding answers to why they continued to cover up the crimes for so long. Talk about a political hot potato. *Note* I grew up a Catholic, although I am currently lapsed, and I will say up front that I do not condone the actions taken by the church in burying these secrets deep, and then spreading them around the country. Each and every single priest, or Bishop that was responsibe for harming a child, or hidng the truth, should have been brought to justice and jailed with the most awful convicts alive today as their bunk mates.The book also dives into the controversial decision by the church not to allow women to be ordained as priests, forgetting about the fact that it also doesn¿t allow priests to marry unlike other churches, which I disagree with. Maybe if priests were able to marry, the abuse of children would have been prevented or minimized.The author, who is Jewish like her character Alexandra, makes it a point to allow Chapman to explain or support the reasons behind the churches decisions. Chapman grew up in a devout household and also attended Fordham. He goes onto to state, in the authors words, cases where the Catholic Church actually made it a ¿grave crime¿ to have any women in a priest¿s role. The penalties are silencing first, then ex-communication from the church and the banishment from teaching at any school. It was almost as though she knew the story was going to be controversial and thus needed a voice, Chapman, for those who are Catholic to speak up and defend the church against these charges. ::shakes head:: - 2 points off my review for putting in personal views once again into a story line that was discombobulated and not really all that fun to read.This was also the underlying reason why the ¿Clergy Killer¿ targeted feminist women in the first place. The dead, or targeted, are wom
marsap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a typical Alex Cooper mystery. The "mystery" plot is a little thin, but as in all of this series the best part is history and the involvement of locations in New York City. This time it is some of the religious buidlings found in the City. I would give this one 3 out of 5 stars.
Kathy89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alex, Mike and Mercer tackle an interesting case that they believe is tied to priest pedophilia but does have a religious zealot leaving religious leaders bodies on church steps and altars. Very suspenseful ending after boarding a train to catch the killer and ending up on a deserted lepher coloney island off of Cape Cod.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confusing and tended to drift between paragraphs. If Ms. Coopers building was so secure, how could an intruder get in? I did not find the book suspenseful. After the first murder, I lost interest. Tended to be drawn out. I skimmed the last seven chapters. Glad I got the book from the library and did not waste my money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LFM400 More than 1 year ago
Linda is one of my favorite authors.  If you are a fan, this is another great read by Linda.  As always, she manages to slip in an interesting history lesson about something in NY, which I personally love about her books.  In this book, she taps into the connection between some of the churches and religious institutions throughout NY City.  She also throws in a little history about one of the islands along Cape Cod.  Without giving away too much, the story is about women being brutally killed and their bodies/body parts being left at different churches.  Alex, Mike and Mercer are on the case to stop this serial killer before anyone else gets killed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
unfortunately, this book isn't up to her usual standards.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is another great read in the Alexandra Cooper series. Having grown up in NYC, it's been great fun to read these books and find out about little known areas in and history of the City. Each book is its own special treat covering a different aspect of NYC intertwined with a fascinating story and a set of appealing characters. This latest will not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of this author and this book is great!!
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
This deeply researched series highlighting New York landmarks featuring Alexandra Cooper and Mike Chapman takes the reader in a somewhat different direction from previous entries. This time the author tackles religion, albeit in a non-controversial manner. While New York continues to be the prime real estate, the murderer the duo is chasing has committed the same crime in other states, ending up on Cape Cod. But various religious institutions set the stage for the chase as the culprit leaves his victims on display at various churches, apparently making a statement. And Alex and Mike visit a couple of leading teaching institutions undergoing a crash course in various religions and beliefs in an effort to learn what the murderer is attempting to say. As usual, the reader learns a lot about the streets and history of New York City, always an important part of reading a novel in the series. But equally important is the tightly written mystery and analytical approach to solving it. This author’s books are always a delight to read and this newest one, as all her prior novels, is recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago