Review: Terminal City by Linda Fairstein

terminal-city“With her newest Alexandra Cooper novel, Terminal City, New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein delivers another breakneck thriller that captures the essence of New York City—its glamour, its possibilities, and its endless capacity for darkness.
Linda Fairstein is well-known for illuminating the dark histories in many of New York’s forgotten corners—and sometimes in the city’s most popular landmarks. In Terminal City, Fairstein turns her attention to one of New York’s most iconic structures—Grand Central Terminal.
From the world’s largest Tiffany clock decorating the 42nd Street entrance to its spectacular main concourse, Grand Central has been a symbol of beauty and innovation in New York City for more than one hundred years. But “the world’s loveliest station” is hiding more than just an underground train system. When the body of a young woman is found in the tower suite of the Waldorf Astoria—one of the most prestigious hotels in Manhattan—Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace find themselves hunting for an elusive killer whose only signature is carving a carefully drawn symbol into his victims’ bodies, a symbol that bears a striking resemblance to train tracks.
When a second body bearing the same bloody symbol is discovered in a deserted alleyway right next to the terminal building, all attention shifts to the iconic transportation hub, where the potential for a bigger attack weighs heavily on everyone’s minds. With the President of the United States set to arrive for a United Nations meeting at the week’s end, Alex and Mike must contend with Grand Central’s expansive underground tunnels and century-old dark secrets—as well as their own changing relationship—to find a killer who appears to be cutting a deadly path straight to the heart of the city.” – Publisher Summary

Y’all, Alexandra Cooper is back and this time she is getting down and dirty below level as she explores New York City’s underground train system, searching for a brutal killer and possible terrorist – all the while conducting a little flirtation of her own with NYC cop Mike Chapman. Terminal City is Linda Fairstein’s 16th contribution to the Alexandra Cooper series and things are only getting better with time. Fairstein is changing things up a bit and keeping us on our toes with new mysteries, new alliances, and new love.

After three related murders with similar touches, Alex Cooper, Wallace Mercer, and Mike Chapman are pointed to New York City’s Grand Central Terminal where they learn anything and everything one ever wanted to know about NYC’s underground railroad system. They travel underground, exploring the tunnels themselves and meeting the city of so-called “mole people”, the homeless who make their beds in the dark tunnels. As they explore the tunnels and the Terminal itself they come closer and closer to the dangerous killer who is terrorizing the city and endangering the President’s upcoming visit. Will they find him in time?

Fairstein is known for her highly researched descriptions of the landmarks or locations featured in her books – Central Park, the New York Public Library, and now Grand Central Terminal. I believe that this time she took things a tad too far, and went overboard with the technical descriptions and blah-blah-blah-ness of NYC’s underground railroad’s history and inner workings. I mean, yes, this is interesting information, but I could read a history book for that kind of thing. This is supposed to be a novel full of excitement! Instead, I felt like half of the book was prepping me for a surprise pop quiz at the end.

What I loved most about this chapter in the Alex Cooper series was the finally openly acknowledged attraction and flirtation between Alex and Mike Chapman (hey, I’m a sucker for romance, people). I’ve been rooting for these two for years and they are finally getting their stuff together enough to make things happen. There is definitely a high level of sexual tension going on – Fairstein maybe even plays on that a little too much – and fans of an Alex/Chapman romance will be tickled at the word-play and banter that the two pass back and forth throughout the novel.

Things are definitely evolving and changing with the dynamic within Mercer, Alex, and Chapman’s little triangle and it’s high time that Fairstein moved things along. There is plenty of excitement and jitters at the end of the novel to keep you at the edge of your seat (you’ll get over the history lesson by then) as things begin to move at a record-breaking speed. Whether you’re a new reader or already a fan of the Alexandra Cooper mystery series, you are going to want to jump on this train and hang on for the ride!

Terminal City by Linda Fairstein. Buy it, read it, love it.

3.5 stars

Source: Penguin/Dutton {via NetGalley}



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