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Likely to bore a reader to death
on 23 September 2011
This was my first read of a Linda Fairstein novel and I'm sorry to say that it will probably be my last. Whilst it had a great sounding premise and the author's writing is capable enough, the novel generally just didn't enthral me in the way that I expected it to and as a consequence I really found my attention wandering. In terms of `thrillers' this is probably one of the slowest moving ones I've ever read, and given the authors own background I have to wonder how much of this story is fact and fiction and just how closely she has based the traits of the main protagonist on herself and her own career.
The book revolves around the murder of a neurosurgeon who is found murdered in her office in a New York medical centre. She's been raped and therefore the case falls to Alexandra Cooper, a DA who is the cities top sex-crimes prosecutor. Soon the police discover that the hospital is nowhere near as secure or safe as they'd thought and there are soon a multitude of possible suspects...
I feel that this book was just far too wordy and is trying to be something that it's not. It is so bogged down in both forensic detail and meaningless character backgrounds and information that it just seems to take an age to get anywhere. Cooper repeatedly divulges random details about friends and aquaintances (and mostly her own life) but I just don't think they're relevant to the story. I read this wanting mystery and thrills, instead I found out way more about her lifestyle than was needed. I'm all for character development, but still.
For me, personally, I just don't think the story being told in the first person narrative really worked, which was the biggest sticking point for me and why I just couldn't get fully immersed into the plot. I prefer to be `shown' rather than told something, and Alex Cooper's narration and overview felt a bit too overdone and cloying. I think this novel would have worked better at seeing it told from the third person narrative, which would have given the author a bit more flexibility in terms of the plot line, which did come a bit restrictive after a while in only seeing it from the one perspective. Also, in my opinion there were just too many characters. I also had to suspend my disbelief a lot at what actually went on in the hospital in terms of sexual assaults, stalking and whatnot. Surely those kinds of things- though they do happen- would not be in such abundance in one place- the building would have been shut down. It was ridiculous and sensationalist for shock value only. It sounded so grim and really made me shudder- thank god for the NHS! All in all I felt it was depicted in a bit of an over the top manner.
Generally I'm glad I gave this story a try, but I sensed from the outset that I probably wouldn't try anything from this writer again, so that's merely another author I can cross off the `tried' list. It's a decent enough book and it's clear that the author really knows her stuff (again, I have to wonder how much of the plot is taken from her real life experiences), but just didn't captivate me in the way that I wanted- and even for a mystery/thriller seemed a bit overly complicated. I'd say to read it if you want a mere escapism, but be prepared to scratch your head in confusion a bit!