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About The Book

Manhattan Assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper is working feverishly on a tough trial, seeking justice for investment banker Paige Vallis. But in a heated "he said, she said" case, Alex learns that Paige herself has something to hide. Uptown, the murder of an elderly woman with an intriguing past has NYPD officer Mercer Wallace and detective Mike Chapman hunting for an item of stunning value that may have cost McQueen Ransome her life: a legendary Double Eagle gold coin. The twisting threads of the seemingly unrelated tragedies soon entangle Alex in a life-and-death struggle in the watery inlets of New Jersey known as the Kills...where a violent predator is determined to silence her forever.

Reading Group Guide

Linda Fairstein

Questions and Topics For Discussion

1.      In THE KILLS, Alexandra Cooper’s date rape case takes a dark turn, and she once again teams up with Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to investigate a murder. What makes the three of them such an effective team?  What unique talents does each bring to the table?

2.      The demands of Alex’s profession are starting to wreck havoc on her relationship with Jake Tyler.  What other issues are coming between them?  Do you think that Jake will return in the next book?

3.      During the trail, Peter Robelon dismisses a number of female jurors, assuming that they’d be prejudiced in favor of the alleged rape victim.  Instead, Alex tells us that this is a classic mistake: women are often more critical of the victim.  Why is this the case?  Did this information come as a surprise to you?

4.      Why does Chapman prefer to handle murders rather than sexual abuse cases?

5.      As Alex reviews the photographs of McQueen Ransome’s murdered body, she mentally catalogs the number of people who would also be looking through them.  How is the murder investigation itself in some ways another act of violation against the victim, however unintentional?

6.      What other cases—and hazards—does Alex have to contend with while dealing with Paige Vallis’s trial?  What do these subplots add to the story, and what do they tell us about Alex?

7.      In her ballet class, Alex wonders what it would be like to be as unburdened by daily tragedy as the other people in her class were.  Do you think Alex’s life would be much different if she were in another line of work?  What else could you imagine her doing? 

8.      Why do you think that we never actually see Dulles Tripping in this novel, despite how integral he is to the story?  Do you think it was an oversight or a deliberate choice on the author’s part?

9.      When Chapman turns Alex down for a friendly
nightcap, she worries that the dynamic of their friendship is changing.  What accounts for this shift?  What do you think the ideal form of their friendship would be? 

10.  Did you think that Queenie’s affair with King Farouk entitled her to make off with some of his treasures?  What did you think of Queenie’s character?

11.  How has Chapman’s relationship with Val affected him?  What does his willingness to shoulder the burden of her illness tell us about him—and about his feelings for her?

12.  Jake’s plan to drive out to Martha’s Vineyard during the storm sets off all of Alex’s alarm bells.  How does Adam Nyman’s death so many years earlier continue to affect her?  Why is Jake so reluctant to believe her reason for asking him not to come?

13.  What does Alex’s last act of the novel—erasing the messages on her answering machine without listening to them—suggest? 

About The Author

Linda Fairstein was chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney's office in Manhattan for more than two decades and is America's foremost legal expert on sexual assault and domestic violence. Her Alexandra Cooper novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She lives in Manhattan and on Martha's Vineyard.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (January 13, 2004)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743264204

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Raves and Reviews

"Seamless...razor sharp."
-- John Sandford

"A superior piece of entertainment."
-- The Washington Post

"Fairstein...makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase."
-- Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

Kathy Reichs Fairstein has the expertise and the experience, and it shows. The Kills is a white-knuckle ride through the back roads of history, the side streets of New York, and the chilling world of unbounded greed.

John Sandford Linda Fairstein's knowledge of the criminal justice system explodes on these pages -- seamlessly plotted, spiked by razor-sharp dialogue and the knowledge of a lifelong insider.

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