- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Mar 2008
From the book
Mike Chapman bit into the tip of a Cohiba and held the match to the end of his thick cigar, drawing several deep breaths to make certain it was lighted.
"Take a few hits, Coop," he said, passing it to me.
I shook my head.
"The stench from that corpse is going to stay in your brain for weeks unless you infuse it right away with something more powerful. Why do you think I've always got a couple of these in my pocket?"
I took the cigar from Mike and rolled it between my fingers.
"Don't look at the damn thing. Smoke it. That broad's been decomposing for days in an empty room during a summer heat wave. Wrap your lips around that sucker and inhale till the smoke comes through your nose and ears, and maybe even from between your toes."
I put it to my lips, coughing as the harsh tobacco taste filled my mouth and lungs. There were no overhead lights above the concrete barriers we sat on at the intersection of South Street and Whitehall, which dead-ended at the East River, near the southernmost tip of Manhattan. "There's no air out here. Not even a breeze off the water."
"Almost midnight and it's still ninety-seven degrees. She's cooking in that room," Mike said, tossing his head in the direction of the crime scene that he'd been working for the last three hours. His black hair glistened with sweat, and the perspiration on his shirt made the cotton cloth cling to his chest. "Whatever body parts were left intact will be fried by the time they bag her."
"Are you going with the guys to the morgue?" I asked.
"Might be the coolest place in town tonight. You into refrigerated boxes?"
"I'll pass. Are they almost done?"
"The ME was ready to call it quits when the maggot maven showed up."
The putrefaction of the woman's body, which had been left to rot in the abandoned government offices over the old ferry slip, offered an irresistible opportunity to swarms of summer flies, which entered to lay their eggs and leave their offspring to nourish themselves on her flesh.
The blast of the horn from the Staten Island Ferry, its giant orange hull sliding out of the pier from the enormous modern terminal just twenty yards downriver, startled me. We were half a mile south of the bustling marketplace that had once been the South Street Seaport, flanking the glittering towers of Wall Street, outside what seemed like the only building in the downtown area that had been neglected alongside the water's flotsam and jetsam.
I stood up from the concrete barrier and looked over my shoulder at the entrance to the deserted slips—three vaulted openings that led to the water, supporting a raised porch and the offices in which the body had been found, centered between forty-foot-tall columns that faced Whitehall. Crumbling wooden pilings bordered the walkway behind me, while trash floated and bobbed among the large rocks in the water ten feet below.
"Jumpy already?" Mike smiled at me as he held the open collar of his shirt between his thumb and forefinger, waving it back and forth as though the cloth might actually dry out despite the oppressive humidity. "You don't even know what happened to her yet."
"Has he got any ideas about how long the woman's been dead?" The cigar smoke filtered up through my nostrils, overwhelming the pungent odor of death.
"Bug juice, Madam Prosecutor. The good Dr. Magorski likes to bring this whole thing down to when he figures the flies laid the maggots which finished feasting and then sat on the floorboards and pupated. He's picking up the pupal cases to take to his lab. It's a slow process," Mike said, dismissing the expert with a flip of his...
"Fairstein delivers a scorcher of a crime novel --her hottest yet." - -Library Jounal
"Fairstein's nail-biting 10th legal thriller... manages to both entertain and educate." - -Publisher's Weekly
"Intriguing... fans will love the result." - -Kirkus
"Fairstein proves what a fantastic legal mind she has." - -The Mirror
"One of the best crime fiction writers in America today." -Nelson Demille
"Fairstein . . . makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase." - New York Times
"Alexandra Cooper, like her creator Linda Fairstein, is a force to contend with; smart, tough, and literate to boot!" -Sue Grafton
"The romantic tension, the fast-paced plotting, and the New York setting will keep fans of Fairstein's series engrossed." - -Booklist
"No-holds-barred adventure." - -Kirkus Reviews