Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein, a review

Bloody cold, making me cranky and miserable.

November feels like the longest of months.

I finished Hell Gate,

 and it is well worth the read.

A good tight mystery.

The plot centers around the shipwreck of a vessel from the Ukraine.

The women on board,

 were brought to New York under false pretenses.

They believe they are coming to the land of opportunity,

as domestic workers and restaurant wait staff.

In fact they are being brought in as sex slaves.

I have read a few novels with similar themes in the past few years,

a sign of the times,

 I guess.

What I like about this novel,

 is that there is no attempt to gloss over the horror

of these womens reality,

 and yet,

there is no sensationalism.

The plot contains many twists about history and politics,

 and the ongoing exploitation of women.

In keeping with her style,

Fairstein also educates us about the history of New York.

In Hell Gate,

 we learn about the origins of Gracie Mansion,

 which is the official residence of New York’s  mayor.

For me it adds a little extra to a strong contemporary story.

Always entertaining, the history is anything but dry.

The plot has many layers and is not predictable.

The modern crime novel,

 is a powerful tool for the discussion of ugly truths.

These stories need to be told.

When they are told with as much competence and compasion,

they add a very human texture,

 to the statistics of the news and non-fiction.

This is a real good read about victims but,

also about the everyday heroes who work all over the world to stop this kind of horror.

In Linda Fairstein’s world they are Alex, Mike and Mercer.

Good, smart people,

 sacrificing much to help others and,

 to bring these exploiters to justice.

They are also funny and cranky and human.

Fairstein’s novels do much to debunk the myths about the honour of criminals,

 and the ugly world of the sex trade.

She always makes me think and shakes my complacency.

Give her a try.

Later girls


Linda Fairstein and Book Club reminder.

Good morning, all.

Today is my day off,

 and as usual I have a million things to do.

After completing 900,000 of them,

 I will be starting Linda Fairstein’s Hell Gate.

As I mentioned in an earlier post,

Linda Fairstein has been a favourite for years.

I don’t remember how or when I discovered her.

 Her main character is Alex Cooper,

Alex is an assistant DA,

for the New York district attorney’s office.

One of the largest if not the largest in the U.S.

She prosecutes sex crimes and murder with a sexual element.

Alex is a fabulous character,

she comes from a rich family, has a first class education,

loves Ballet and the law.

Given her education , experience and money,

she could practice with any firm,

but, chooses to prosecute bad people and help victims.

You gotta love that.

My favourite secondary character is Mike Chapman,

 homicide detective extraordinaire.

Mike is a history freak and a complex, caring man.

Both characters share some of my interests,

 and  both are Jeopardy freaks .

The reason I like the Alex Cooper books so much,

 is that Fairstein herself,

 was a sex crimes prosecutor for over two decades.

So, her credentials are top notch.

Also, she has a light touch with very difficult material.

Her books are always realistic without being macabre.

I especially like learning about New York history.

In one of the novels,

 I learned about the islands around Manhattan,

 and their colourful and sometimes tragic past.

In another, I learned all about the miles of underground vaults in between

the Metropolitan Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Really interesting stuff.

I love history but,

only like contemporary mysteries,

 this series is the best of both worlds.

I will review later this week.

Btw, don’t forget The Mere Future by Sarah Schulman,

 is the November book for Book Club.

Hopefully some of you will read it and participate.

Later girls


Let’s talk in a few days

Well, it’s still grey.


The Canadiens won,


 I was worried they would get the November blues:-)

I’m reading quite a bit but,

 haven’t finished anything in a few days.

I took out a few mysteries from the library,

sure fire pick me upers for me.

Bartholomew Gill,  Death Of An Irish Tinker,

which I am shocked to say I haven’t read.

I thought I had read all of Gill’s Peter McGarr series.

It is fabulous and set in Dublin.

Also, I took out the latest Linda Fairstein, Hell Gate.

With Fairstein,

 you get truly likeable characters and credibility,


 you learn tons about New York City.

For an armchair traveller such as myself,

 they are precious.

 I have loved both Gill and Fairstein for years.

In a few days I’ll tell you why.

Later girls