Friday, March 26, 2010

212-Alafair Burke

Alafair Burke
Harper, Mar 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780061561221

NYPD is at the penthouse at 212 Lafayette owned by real-estate tycoon the Sam Sparks. Inside is the corpse Robert Mancini, an employee of the Sam Sparks. Leading the investigation is Detective Ellie Hatcher, who upsets the owner with her shoes on his carpet; the tycoon seems oblivious that his employee has been shot with a zillion or so bullets. Although evidence points towards an escort being with the victim just before he was killed, Hatcher finds that too convenient and looks closer at the Sam without ruling out the missing companion. That upsets her politically devoted bosses.

At the same time Hatcher is warned to stop looking at the Sam, NYU student Megan Gunther receives threatening messages on Campus Juice anonymous website. Her parents ask the police for help, but are told nothing can be done about untraceable creeps who have not broken the law. They are irate that unless something happens to their daughter, the cops will do nothing. They prove prophetic when someone kills Meghan less than twenty-four hours after their police visit although her escort roommate might have been the target. As more corpses are found, Hatcher and her partner J.J. Rogan struggle to end a serial killing spree.

The latest Hatcher police procedural (see (after Dead Connection and Angel’s Tip) is a tense modern day timely thriller that grips the audience from the opening murder scene and never slows down although there is an abundance of bodies. The convoluted story line is loaded with action as the two cops struggle with clues that end or take them in a different direction. Fans will enjoy this deep cautionary tale as Internet stalking is a phenomenon that is difficult to deal with beyond unplugging.

Harriet Klausner

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