Review: Solving three murders in and around Manhattan's Grand Central Station take on even greater urgency when it is learned that the President intends on terminating his cross-country train journey in that very station in just three days' time, in Terminal City, the sixteenth mystery in this series by Linda Fairstein.
Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is assigned to the investigation, not so much to assist but to be the eyes and ears of her politically sensitive boss, her primary job to keep him informed as to what was happening and how quickly the case could be wrapped up. At first, the three murders seem to have nothing in common other than their proximity to each other. But then it is discovered that each body has been carved with a set of train tracks. The police believe the culprit may be one of the many homeless men living beneath the city streets. But how would one of them get a body into a suite at the Waldolf Astoria? With little to go on, Alex and her team dig into the backgrounds of the victims and the history of the landmark station to determine if there might be a link between them … and a clue to the identity of the killer.
Typical of many books in this series, there is a lot of historical detail associated with the setting of this story. And while there is a wealth of often fascinating Grand Central Station trivia presented here, it cannot compensate for the lack of a credible (or even interesting) murder mystery storyline. Alex's character is completely wasted here, contributing absolutely nothing to the investigation and being more in everyone's way than anything else, stumbling through Grand Central Station until the end when she improbably becomes the proverbial damsel in distress in need of a knight in shining armor to rescue her. That won't be her on-again, off-again boyfriend Detective Mike Chapman, who is hardly in character here either. There are clearly personal issues between them to be resolved, but their relationship in this book can best be described as awkward. Maybe if some of the esoteric facts about Grand Central Station were used to help provide that "aha" moment when it suddenly becomes clear whodunit and whydunit, this might have been a better book. But as it is, Terminal City is at best a historically interesting if also rather routine mystery.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided an eARC of Terminal City for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Dutton (Hardcover), July 2013
ISBN-13: 9780525953876; ISBN-10: 0525953876
Location(s) referenced in Terminal City: New York City
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Terminal City by Linda Fairstein — An Alex Cooper Mystery
Publication Date: June 2014
List Price: $27.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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