TITLE: NIGHT WATCH
AUTHOR: LINDA FAIRSTEIN
Details: no. 14 Alexandra Cooper
From the back of the book:
“Forty-eight hours after New York Assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper arrives in France to visit her restaurateur boyfriend Luck Rouget, her holiday is cut short when a young woman is found murdered. The only evidence discovered on the body is one of Luc’s matchboxes promoting his new restaurant in New York. Before the investigation begins, Alex is summoned back home to handle a high profile case.
Mohammed Gil-Darsin, Head of the World Economic Bureau has been accused of attacking a maid in his hotel. As the scandal unfolds Alex finds her attention torn between preparing the alleged victim to testify and a murder case with ties too close to home.
When a second body is found with Luc’s matchbox – this time in Brooklyn – Alex begins to fear that the two cases may be connected and that uncovering the sordid secrets of the city’s most wealthy and powerful could cost her and her loved ones everything they hold close.”
As may be clear from the book description, this is one action packed story. With not one but two separate but high profile and complicated mysteries to deal with our Alex has a very stressful time ahead of her. And both story-lines are interesting, well plotted and full of twists and turns. But – and since I didn’t rate this book 5 stars you must have been expecting the “but” – both parts of the story also managed to disappoint me a little bit.
As far as the story involving Luc, Alex’s boyfriend, is concerned there were quite a few things that left me dissatisfied but I can only give a detailed reason for one of them without giving away spoilers.
It is always disappointing when a favourite character lets me down, and boy does Miss Alexandra Cooper do so in this book. I get that she is very much in love with her French chef and that she is worried about him and their relationship. But does that really have to mean that she suddenly starts acting like a silly teenager? Would she really forget everything she knows about the law, her job, how the legal system works just because there is some connection between her lover and two murders? Is it realistic that all common sense would disappear? Personally I think not. And yet, that is exactly what happens in this story. I guess the idea was to make the story more emotionally engaging but on me it had the complete opposite effect; it only managed to spoil the rather positive image of Alexandra Cooper I had after the previous 13 books.
As far as the case involving Mohammed Gil-Darsin is concerned; it was too close to the real case involving Dominique Strauss-Kahn for my liking. I felt as if I had read whole set-up with the chambermaid in the hotel, the subsequent international media circus and dismantling of the alleged victim’s reputation before, only not in a fictional setting. And while I get that for a lot of people this might be a bonus rather than a drawback – after all, it does give the reader a good insight into how such an investigation is conducted and why what appears to be straight-forward may turn out to be anything but – for me it turned into a case of been there, done that. It just didn’t read like an original story to me.
Now, having said all that I should probably stress that I did really enjoy reading this book. Linda Fairstein writes a very good mystery-thriller. She is also excellent when it comes to integrating interesting bits of fact into her story without taking the pace out of it or making the reader feel that they are being taught something. I like the interactions between Alex and her two regular partners in crime-solving, Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace. And I love the Final Jeopardy questions that are such a staple part of these books.
So overall I would have to say that while this was, for me, maybe not the best book in this series, it was still a very enjoyable and easy read. And I know that I will be reading the next book as soon as I can get my hands on it.