In her latest Alexandra “Coop” Cooper thriller, Killer Look, bestselling author Linda Fairstein sheds light on the ugly, violent side of the fashion world.
Cooper is back to star in the eighteenth novel in Fairstein’s long-running series about the fictional Manhattan Assistant District Attorney. This time, though, readers will see a totally new side of Coop as she continues to recover from the traumatic events in last year’s The Devil’s Bridge.
It’s been just one month since Cooper was kidnapped and endured a hellish few days at the hands of her captors. Now, hiding out while she recovers at the old farmhouse on Martha’s Vineyard that she bought more than a decade ago, Coop is a shell of her former self. Battling anxiety and PTSD, she turns to self-medicating just to make it through the day.
But nursing the bottle isn’t fixing her or improving her inner struggle–in fact, it’s just making life worse, if for no other reason than it’s driven a wedge between her and NYPD Detective Mike Chapman, who happens to be her boyfriend.
Chapman is tired of seeing Coop with a drink in her hand from sunup to sundown, and the frustration shows. Cooper, not oblivious to that fact, asks him more than once to not give up on her, promising that the “old me” will return in time.
Time, though, is running out. Well, at least for their time together on Martha’s Vineyard. Chapman was given five days off, which he spent with Coop, but must return to New York City and follow-up on a homicide case that he’s working.
Cooper, who makes it only a few hours on her own after Chapman flies out before hopping on a plane herself, also returns to the city. Though she’s back home, Paul Battaglia, the District Attorney (and her boss) insists that she continues taking time off to properly heal both mentally and physically.
It’s not until Coop bumps into an old friend with a problem that she’s pulled from her mental fog and sinks her teeth into a case again.
The previous day, Lily Savitsky’s father, fashion mogul Wolf Savage, was found dead in his hotel suite. His death was ruled a suicide, as it appeared Savage intentionally suffocated. There was no reason to suspect foul play, and, adding to the overwhelming evidence to suggest his death was self-inflicted, Savage left a brief note behind.
Here’s the thing, though. Lily claims that her dad, who she barely knows and who essentially abandoned her as a child, was murdered. She explains to Coop that her father had worked his whole life to build his fashion empire and that he was just days away from the biggest night of his career.
Wolf Savage had prepared a grand event for Fashion Week, which was to be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition to that, he was also in the final stages of selling a large portion of his company to a billionaire who had plans to take his already lucrative empire to the next level.
To top it all off, Wolf had a never-ending line of pretty young models strolling in and out of his bedroom. So why, then, would a rich, famous man who is otherwise healthy kill himself? Or, perhaps, more importantly, if he didn’t kill himself, who might have had the motive to take him out?
When Chapman ends up investigating the case himself, Coop tags along–because she wants to help, yes, but also because she’s still terrified to be alone.
As it turns out, Wolf Savage, at seventy-two, had no shortage of people who might have wanted him dead, including his five ex-wives, people he’s screwed over in the fashion industry, and even family members.
In fact, among the family members who become suspects are Wolf’s brother and son, both of whom help run his businesses and together insist on the medical examiner not performing an autopsy. Citing their Jewish faith, the uncle-nephew duo demanded Wolf’s body be released to them so he can be immediately buried.
Things, however, take an interesting turn when Coop and Chapman discover that Wolf’s death might be related to another homicide, blowing their investigation wide open.
In a world where nothing is real and everyone is putting on an act to some extent, Cooper and Chapman must see beneath the glamor, heavy makeup, and fancy clothes to find a killer on the loose. Buckle up!
Honestly, I now know far more about the interesting world of fashion than I ever cared to understand. Fairstein is rock-solid in creating page-turning mysteries, and I enjoyed seeing Cooper working a case away from her normal specialty, which happens to be sex crimes.
Fairstein herself was the chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney’s office in Manhattan and brings unmatched realism to her novels. While I wouldn’t normally be down to read a story centered in the world of fashion, I was pleasantly surprised with Killer Look.
What I didn’t love, however, was Chapman’s attitude and demeanor in this book. To be fair, though, I haven’t read enough of the series to know whether he’s always like this or if it’s a result of the traumatic events Coop went through.
There were some down points here and there, but overall, the pacing was good and the story twists and turns enough to keep you guessing throughout. While Killer Look is light on the action, it’s strong on character building. And the ending, by the way, provides a phenomenal last-minute cliffhanger that will undoubtedly lead into the next book, which should come out next year.
This might not be Fairstein’s best novel to date, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you crave a mystery in a unique setting, or if you’re a longtime fan of this series.
Author: Linda Fairstein
Pages: 381 (Hardcover)
Release Date: July 26, 2016 (Order now!)