Monday, June 23, 2014

Terminal City by Linda Fairstein

Linda Fairstein's newest ADA Alex Cooper novel is a fun, edge-of-your-seat story filled with little bits of politics, law, human frailty and alot of New York City history. Terminal City is simply the latest in a long line of great reads filled with the  mysterious twists and turns of a good book. To anyone who has been reading the exploits of ADA Cooper, the list of characters here are quite familiar. Certainly there is Alex, the brilliant assistant district attorney, head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, paired up with her erstwhile companions, our two favorite police detectives, Mike Chapman, and Mercer Wallace.

The book begins as a hunt for a serial killer who has decided to announce himself in one of New York City's oldest and most distinguished hotels, which, by the way, is about to receive a visit from POTUS. Throw in a nod to the cannibal cop case, replete with smarmy legal aide attorneys, the misplaced loyalty of that thin-blue-line, a criminal judge just getting his feet wet on the bench, and you have yourself some very exciting and interesting legal juxtaposing. A command performance with the City's new mayor also comes as a bit of a surprise to everyone involved, and only adds fuel to an already creepy fire. Meanwhile, in the middle of wrangling the evil that haunts our streets, Alex has to deal with her own personalized member of Satan's legion in the guise of Raymond Tanner, the escaped  serial rapist/sadist from her last novel, who seems to run quite under the radar and stalks Alex's life.

However, in this novel the central character is not really the latest madman to run afoul of our legal trio, but it is a building of old great stature. A building imbued with the dreams, hopes and fears of all who pass through her on a daily basis. She brings forth excitement, promise and trepidations of the unknown. Your breath catches when you see it from the train window. Grand Central Terminal is the eye in the storm that is New York City.

Whenever a person thinks of New York City, humanity's civilized brilliance comes to mind. Individuals marvel at the amazing creativity that comes from a people that could erect a City filled with such wondrous examples of living concrete and steel. The forethought and prescience needed to shepherd a City to this level of greatness bespeaks minds not beholden to the rules and formalities of any era. It is New York City's ability to exemplify the grandeur of the old and incorporate the best of the New World that typifies it's way of life. Grand Central Terminal is a  testament to the planning of those who built New York into the center of finance, art and culture that it is today. Grand Central Terminal is a symbol of American ingenuity and bravado. Yet New York City is a funny place; there people take pains to honor the greatness that is modern civilization, while simultaneously dealing with, and at times ignoring, all the evils that haunt humanity.

Grand Central is the story. It also just so happens  that our legal trio find a murderer living in its bowels.  Grand Central becomes the scene of murder, insanity and the boogeyman of our nightmares. And as our protagonists delve into murder and mayhem you travel through the history of Grand Central. You learn to understand her secrets, her charm and the pull of her aura. You understand how and why Grand Central means so much to so many. This story is as much about the lengths that humanity goes to in order to preserve all that is good and unique about our world, as it is about those that would destroy that which we hold most dear. Parallel worlds that come to an apex on a clear-see-through walkway at the top of one of America's premier symbols.

This book is a terrific read. Take it with you to the pool, the beach, the country.  It will stay with you. In fact, I bet, the next time you walk through Grand Central Terminal you will definitely spend alot of time looking around and trying to figure out her secrets. I know I will.

"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to the mayor of New York City in 1975, upon learning of plans to demolish the majestic Grand Central Terminal. (p.377)

My other reviews of Linda Fairstein's novels:
Night Watch 
Death Angel

Note: I was given a copy of this book to review.

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