Thursday, August 13, 2015

Win Devil's Bridge!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: What a special guest we have today! But before you hear from Linda Fairstein (whoo hoo)—let me ask you: What were doing in 1996? That was the year President Clinton (be well!) appointed Madeleine Albright as first female US secretary of state. The F.B.I. arrested the suspected Unabomber. Big movies were The English Patient, Fargo, Jerry Maguire. The Academy Award for best picture went to Braveheart. Ebay was started.

And remember? A gallon of gas cost $1.22. A stamp for a first class letter? 32 cents. Average cost of new car was $16,300.00. And a loaf of bread $1. (How much does bread cost now?)
Anyway! That year was a big one for Linda Fairstein.  It’s the book-birth year for the Alex Cooper novels.  This week, the 17th Cooper is out—and it has a BIG TWIST. And that’s what Linda joins Jungle Red today to reveal! 

LINDA FAIRSTEIN: So funny to think of 1996, Hank! Yes, my series of crime novels started that year when I 'created' Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. 

I gave her two great NYPD detectives, Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, to partner her in her professional life.  My readers seemed to see, long before I was conscious of the fact, that I had set up a lot of sexual tension in the friendship between Coop and Chapman.  And although there were sixteen novels, the trio only aged three years (one of the joys of writing fiction, I think) in those stories.  It wasn't until the last book (TERMINAL CITY) that the duo crossed the line from best friends to become lovers. 

 At book signings for years now, when fans asked whether there were other things I wanted to write, I always answered that I would enjoy doing a book from Mike's perspective.  I know him as well as I know Coop, and I thought it would be fascinating for me to explore the world from his point of view.  After my editor, Ben Sevier, heard me say that to an audience for about the tenth time, he took me to lunch and asked whether I really did want to write a Mike Chapman book.  I jumped to say 'yes'.  His reply was a nudge to do it, to give it a try.  It was our secret, and I spent weeks trying to figure a way into the story I wanted to tell.

When you've had success with a series, it's a dicey idea to fool around with the characters.  I decided to start with Coop's voice, as I always had, and let her take the reader through a day in court.  And it's a really bad day.  Things go dreadfully wrong for my protagonist, and after an evening celebrating someone else's success with other prosecutors and cops, Coop disappears.  Seventy pages into the story, when her world crashes to black, Mike Chapman picks up the narrative.  He has no idea that the woman he loves has gone missing as he dives into a homicide investigation in Harlem - unrelated to Coop's disappearance...or is it?  

From that moment on, we see and know what Mike does - what he learns about Alex and whether she lied to him, about whether her disappearance was willful and voluntary, about whether her long list of enemies is the secret to an abduction - or are the bad guys out to make another point.  It was a bit scary to do at first, but as I got more comfortable in Mike's head - in his mind and in his mouth - I had more fun than I have ever had writing a book in this series.  DEVIL'S BRIDGE is Coop and Chapman with a huge twist, and I'm anxious to see how my readers react to it all.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: And because she in the most generous person on the planet, Linda is offering PRIZES!  So we'll make it easy. What were you doing in 1996?  I was..let’s see. An investigative reporter in Boston, and meeting my husband Jonathan! (BIG year for me!) How about you?

   We’ll choose a commenter at random—to WIN a new hardcover of  DEVIL’S BRIDGE—and another will win a paperback of  TERMINAL CITY!

Linda Fairstein is one of America’s foremost legal experts on crimes of violence against women and children. For three decades, from 1972 until 2002, Fairstein served in the office of the New York County District Attorney, where she was chief of the country’s pioneering Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit for twenty-six years. In that position, she supervised the investigation and trial of Manhattan cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and homicides arising out of those crimes. She was the lead attorney in the homicide prosecution of Robert Chambers (the “Preppy Murder” case) in 1988, and directed major litigation in these specialties.
 Fairstein is an honors graduate of Vassar College (1969) and the University of Virginia School of Law (1972). In 1998, Fairstein’s law school classmates established a scholarship fund in her honor at their alma mater, supporting law school students interested in pursuing careers in the public sector. She has received numerous awards for her legal work and advocacy, and in many instances, was the first woman to be so honored. 
 Ms. Fairstein is the author of an internationally best-selling series of crime novels (translated into more than a dozen languages) which feature Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. The sixteenth in the series – TERMINAL CITY – debuted in June 2014 and was an instant New York Times bestseller, as were the dozen books which preceded it. DEVIL’S BRIDGE was published in August, 2015.  Fairstein serves on a number of non-profit boards.
 She is a trustee of Vassar College; and a founding member of the Joyful Heart Foundation (Mariska Hargitay of Law/Order: SVU’s charity to aid victims of sexual assault, where she co-chairs the national project to end the rape evidence collection kit backlog); Safe Horizon (the country’s largest victim advocacy organization); and God’s Love We Deliver (which feeds terminally ill New Yorkers). Fairstein lives with her husband Michael Goldberg in Manhattan and on Martha’s Vineyard.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Okay, I'm wracking my brain to figure out what in the world I was doing in 1996 . . . We had moved to Alabama in the early summer of 1994, so John was teaching, I was working in aerospace education. The girls were involved in Science Olympiad so both John and I were involved in coaching students for that.
    Both girls were skating, so we spent lots of time traveling to ice rinks for competitions [which means sewing skating outfits filled most of my free time]. Good memories . . . .
    "Devil's Bridge" sounds like a fascinating story, Linda; I'm looking forward to reading it.

  3. I love the premise of switching into the other voice, Linda. And I don't know how I've missed all these books of yours! Must remedy that, stat.

    In 1996 I was a freshly minted technical writer raising two young boys, I'd had my first short story published, and I'd written two-thirds of a murder mystery. Happy days.

  4. Sewing skating outfits, Joan! That's amazing..I'm trying to picture it. Adorable.

    Yes, indeed Edith-you'll love LInda's books!

    Stange huh, the markers we have to use to remember what we were doing so many years ago? I remember Jonathan and I went to see Sling Blade, and there are mangy memories attached to that.

  5. Are you seeing funny font sizes on your computer? Trying to fix..grr.

  6. Fascinating Linda! what a brilliant way to enter that book...

    In 1996, I was a practicing clinical psychologist, and I'd written my first article on the psychology of golf, which would lead to the Cassie Burdette golf mysteries.

    Hank, what in the world is Sling Blade?

  7. Lucy/Roberta, Sling Blade is a movie with Billy Bob Thornton, of all people. It's ..ah, devastatingly sad, and if I describe what it's about, it'll sound awful. I cried for an entire week, let's just say.

    It's also memorable because it's the first movie Jonathan and I saw together.

    I'm trying to think of other 1996 things. I wasn't writing crime fiction yet, not at all.

  8. Bittersweet, 1996. Blinded by tears and stumbling down that long year, but lifted up by the amazing grace and spirit of my friend, Gary, who was dying of AIDS. Along with his partner, parents, and other friends, established a scholarship in his name which endures to this day at his alma mater.

    I love the way you are so far into this series, Linda, and can come up with something new and exciting and scary for you to try! Can't wait to read Devil's Bridge!

  9. I can barely remember what I was doing yesterday and yet you want me to remember 1996? Not gonna happen. ;)

    I love Linda Fairstein's series. Coop and Chapman (and Mercer) have been favorites of mine since I first stumbled upon them in Final Jeopardy. I have long wanted to see things from Mike's perspective, so this sounds like a brilliant move and a great way to keep the series fresh.

  10. we lived in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics, which was exciting. Otherwise a blur of three kids going in ten different directions and driving a sports taxi. Looking forward to reading your latest book. I enjoy them all, the Poe book a particular favorite.

  11. Hi, Linda! (Waving)

    I'm a huge, long time fan of Alex Cooper. And it IS hard to give up one's loyalties and go with a new narrator. But it only hurts for a moment... when it's well done. Looking forward to DEVIL'S BRIDGE!

    1996... Hmmmm. I just did a scan of my computer files and the oldest ones are essays I wrote in 1997, including the first one I got published in a Travelers Tales anthology called A MOTHER'S WORLD. It was about going to New York for the first time with my mother who was so out of her element in Southern California where I grew up an so astonishingly (to me) IN her element on the streets of Manhattan.

    Late '90s I was in transition. I quit my job and started a freelance business so I'd have the time to write, took a class in fiction writing at Radcliffe Seminars from a wonderful teacher, Arthur Edelstein, finished a book I could never publish and started what would be my first published book. Workng on a PC and backing up to CDs.

  12. 1996? We were living in Portland, Oregon, far, far from our Texas home. My husband was working for Intel and I was attempting to homeschool our daughter, a middle schooler at the time. I had never done that before, but we did OK. It was gorgeous to be living in the Pacific Northwest, but we had moved there knowing no one and we missed our families. And then I discovered Powell's Bookstore in downtown Portland. My word - what a marvelous place. I read Linda's first book while we lived there and remember it well. Look forward to reading this one.

  13. Interesting twist on tale-telling.

    1996: Early in the year, I was working in the Caribbean for the Small Business Association in relief of Hurricane Marilyn. I had just transferred from Puerto Rico to St. Croix in January; talking my way into Yost Van Dyke in the BVI for their New Year's Eve party (no passport, but it was rated as the third biggest party in the world at the time - how was I going to miss it? - I got the BVI immigration official to accept my photocopied birth certificate; I felt very rebellious). Came home in March, immediately started planning my wedding, got married in August (in fact, my 19th anniversary is next Monday) and moved to Pittsburgh.

    Don't ask me to remember all the years in my history in such detail. It's just that some of them stand out. =)

  14. In 1996, I was living in Florida and working as a freelance textbook editor/writer, having left an in-house position with a major textbook publishing company in Texas several years earlier. That's about all I remember from that year because I was working all the time!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  15. Linda Fairstein!! I first learned about her through the Diane Rehm Show (where my daughter, ELizabeth Terry, was a producer) -- and I love love love this series -- the forgotten corners (& depths) of New York City!!! I expect Devil's Bridge to be delivered today!!

    In 1996, I was teaching 7th/8th grade English at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC. My kids were transitioning to college and beyond -- (one left in Sept of 1990, the second in Sept of 1992, and the third Sept. 1994). And we still had one at home.

    If you have not read these books, put them at the TOP of your list.

  16. To move to another voice after so long in the other protagonist's head, I cannot imagine how hard that would be no matter that you have created both characters. People are going to be lining up in droves for this one.
    I do know about lines. In 1996 I had been volunteering for the Atlanta Olympic Committee since its inception in 1989. During the actual Games, I worked in Protocol which sounds glamorous but was very like herding cats, albeit very politely.

  17. In 1996 we were living out west of Chapel Hill, as my wife was getting her Ph.D. at UNC-Greensboro and I was working in RTP as a technical writer/info architect on a couple of software products. Our boys were in middle school and I coached them in the local recreational basketball league. As others have said, lots of driving them around. I wasn't keeping a reading journal back then, and I was reading more F&SF and general fiction than mysteries. Mid-nineties, as I recall, was Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun, Guy Kay's Lions of Al-Rassan. Movies I recall were Apollo 13, Get Shorty--on VHS, of course. Music was Toshiko Akiyoshi and Van Morrison--still is.

    I really like the idea of switching to another character's POV... I would expect it to provide some freshness, maybe a view of the previous POV character that we didn't get while it was her story. Not sure if I can reach the top of Mt. Tooby to add these, but I'll certainly try!

  18. Squeeeee!

    Good Morning, Linda!

    I have a huge, HUGE, crush on Mike Chapman and have since your very first Alexandra Cooper novel. And I would dearly love to win a copy of DEVIL'S BRIDGE, pretty pretty please.

    In 1996 we were packing up our house in Atlanta to make a move to Boone, NC. Moving to a small town into a house that is the size of what our basement was in the Atlanta house. For the most part, it's been a very good decision.

    (my apologies to everyone for being "Missing in Action," for such a long time. It's been a very hard summer. We lost my mom on July 28th after a quick and very unexpected spiral into dementia, followed by some devastating physical health issues. Thanks to those of you who knew and have been so supportive - it has meant more than you know).

  19. Mt. Tooby, that's so funny, Jim!

    Protocol t the olympic games--very cool, anonymous! (Make sure you let us know how to contact you if you win!) Here in Boston, many people are applauding the "loss" of the games. Love to hear about how it changed the city! It must have been terrifying, too...

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Kay, so cool that you remember reading LInda's first book! Love that.

    Mary, who knew you had such a radical life! Whoo. (Wow, and that was the old days, right? Try a copy of a birth certificate now? Probably not…)

    skkorman…yeah, it's interesting how it all runs together, huh?

  22. Oh my dear Flora--you are such a good friend. Yes, scary and sad times.

    And yes, darling Kaye, we have missed you, and are thinking about you and your family. xo

  23. OH, the Double Jeopardy thing, Kristopher! Yes, let;s ask Linda about that…

    Denise Ann--so cool about your daughter! DIane Rehm is such an icon..

    And I was just thinking--two people here were t the Atlanta Olympics! MArgaret, do you know--oh. Anonymous. Oh, well.

  24. Hank, you are too funny. I've never, EVER thought of myself as radical.

    And yes. It was definitely a pre-9/11 world.

  25. Oh, the Atlanta Olympics.

    Donald was the supervisor of the lockshop at Georgia Tech, so was heavily involved with security.

    He would work five days and live on Tech Campus, and then be home for two days. I well remember him up and getting dressed early early in the morning getting ready to go back into town to work when the phone rang. He turned on the TV and we learned of the bombing.

  26. I was graduating college, working retail, and getting my cartilage pierced. ����

  27. 1996: I was 39 and had just moved to Northern California and joined the nascent Silicon Valley, high-tech, venture capital world. From working as a paralegal in both telecommunications and academia fields, it was a big swing. Lasted 3 years before returning to campus life at Stanford Libraries' Preservation Dept.

    This was the era of little to no housing supply (as opposed to now: NO housing supply) and I initially commuted for 2-3 hours each way to reach Palo Alto. Don't remember the cost of gas or bread, but do recall cringing every time I paid $2.50 for a cup of coffee, not a latte or speciality drink, but a cup of coffee!

    Glad to be back in San Diego even if it took me almost 3 years to find my current apartment.

    My sister just handed me my first Linda Fairstein novel, believe it or not, The Kills, so I'm late to the game. But I am eagerly anticipating reading the series. Like the idea of Chapman having his own book. Congratulations, Linda!


  28. I'm finding so many more writers to read on this blog, so I owe you a huge debt of gratitude! (Which is I assume the point, so see-- you're madly successful!)

    In 1996 I met my husband and got engaged, all within a two month period. (We're still married, so the people who predicted it would never last have been gotten a surprise.) One of our first dates was The English Patient, and- like Elaine from Seinfeld- I slept through most of it. Now I fall asleep on him in front of HGTV. Some things never change.

  29. @Denise Ann, you were teaching at Sidwell when Chelsea Clinton was there, then, yes?

  30. Kelli Jo, very avant grade of you! Where did you work?

    Tricia, never too late, right? SO happy to hear this…

    Jennifer, our pleasure! And its fun for us, too. (Plus we could do a whole blog on that movie, right? I just..loathed it. And now I am ducking.)

  31. In 1996, I would have turned 13 and we would have just moved in to our new house in McKinney, so I'd imagine I was busy settling in to our new place and surroundings. I love the Alex Cooper books-so excited that there is a new one!

  32. Hi Linda! So excited to read this book. And so interesting that you decided to do this. I've always written from both protagonist's viewpoints, so now I'm thinking, but what if I didn't???

    1996... I was writing Dreaming of the Bones and terrified because it was the most ambitious book I'd attempted. We had moved to our house in McKinney in August of '95 and our daughter had started in a new middle school. I wonder which "this old house" project we were doing that year?? And I can guarantee that in August 1996 it was hot:-)

  33. Yikes!! 1996 - trying to earn lots of money so we could have our kids graduate from university debt-free. I am happy to report we succeeded in that endeavor.
    ...and trying to find time to read.

  34. Margaret, how could I ever forget the 1996 Olympics?
    Naïve as I was, I'd promised the girls that since moving from California to Alabama would put us close to Georgia and the summer Olympics, I'd get tickets for them to see women's gymnastics. [I had no clue that you couldn't just buy tickets like you do for a Broadway show.]
    Long story short: I was stunned speechless by the price, but I'd promised, so I bought the only tickets available and we went to Atlanta for one women's gymnastics event, proving that Someone watches out for fools and naïve people -- we were there the night the women's team won their gold medal.
    Moral of the story: always keep your promises!

  35. Kaye, so sorry for your loss; you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  36. In 1996, I was working at the Oakland Public Library and discovering Linda Fairstein's wonderful characters, Alex, Mike, and Mercer. I have been enjoying them ever since.

  37. Linda, it's so great to see you here on the Reds' blog, a favorite author amongst other favorite authors. I have been an Alex Cooper fan for quite a while, and I can't wait to start Devil's Bridge. I actually started my love affair with this series on book #7, Entombed. The Poe connection grabbed me, and then the book grabbed me. I went back and read the previous novels, and I've been looking forward each summer to a new one. I was so thrilled when Alex and Mike Chapman finally got together, and I am crazy about the character of Mercer Wallace. Oh, and I am probably the biggest fan of Dewar's Scotch Whisky who has never tasted it. I'm not much of a liquor connoisseur, with vodka being about the only hard liquor I drink, but one of these days I am actually going to have that drink of Dewar's. Besides Dewar's (hahaha) and the amazing characters, the Alex Cooper series is a fascinating guide to the history of New York City and the behind the scenes look at well-known and not so well-known places. And, then there's the beautiful Martha's Vineyard, Alex's get-away where I so enjoy the descriptions. Now, the story from Mike's perspective? I think that's a brilliant idea, but I do like that you're beginning the book from the familiar place of Alex's mind. Devil's Bridge sounds like a wonderful new adventure in the series.

    1996. I was working in an elementary school as a writing portfolio assistant, teaching writing skills to 4th graders and helping them prepare their writing pieces for the state mandated writing portfolio. It was a job I felt went beyond the writing, convincing children that they had something to say and that their voices mattered. I had a son in elementary school and a daughter in middle school, and my schedule allowed me to spend lots of time with them, like I wanted. I was also celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary.

    Although I've expressed my sympathy to you, Kaye, on FB, I want to again tell you that you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time of loss.

    And, I'm happy to see Kayti Gage here today. Kayti, I'm sure you already know it, but your mother is loved dearly by all of us.

  38. Let's see. What was I doing in 1996? I was a stay-at-home mom caring for two daughters. I volunteered on their schools' field trips and in classrooms. While they were at school, I read as much as I could and did domestic duties.

    bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

  39. Working as a Fitness Director, just finished my Master's degree, and was starting up a business called Cayuga Fitness Consultants! It was a busy year :-)

  40. 1996 was 6 years before my husband died, had i have know we only had 6 years we could have gone on a magical holiday and not worried about the cost, just enjoyed it. But at least we has 6 more years together ❤

  41. Kayti, was it a fun time to be 13?

    Barbara, so wonderful..and of course you spread the word, right? Hope you are enjoying retirement!

    KAthy Reel! We'll share the scotch..but only a sip, I used to drink scotch--when I was maybe 20. :-) NOw, I couldn't possibly. But it still smells fabulous!

    Bonnie K, that sounds lovely!

    Nikki!! What;s the latest?????

  42. Pinkgirl, that is the very most thoughtful and wise…and we can all learn from that. Love you dearly.

  43. Working as a lawyer in a small town on an Indian reservation in W MT. I remember clearly hearing about the arrest of the infamous Unabomber, just on the other side of the mountains. No one here had any idea he lived so close, and yet he held a certain place of terror. As more details came out, in the news -- and from his lawyer, federal public defender, whom I heard speak at a bar seminar later that year -- we all realized just how close we'd been, and the world never quite seemed the same again.

    Writing: I was just finishing my first novel. I'd fallen in love with Deborah Crombie's books and devoured every one! And then I discovered Linda Fairstein...

  44. What I was I doing in 1996? I had been living in gorgeous peninsular island Nahant MA for two years, was working as an HR Manager for the largest organization in America, and had my dear Mum living with me (she lived with me for ten years and died in 2002 in Nahant there at my home and I still miss her daily). I also made a few work trips to Bermuda that year and in general was really enjoying the New England living experience, which I now miss every day-I live in Oahu now and hope to return to seasons and snow down the track. Life is an amazing adventure and 1996 was a good year for me! Thanks for asking. Hope I win the book! Wishing you all a great day! (Ms.) "Rickie" Banning

  45. Leslie that is chilling… I understand how you felt! When I walk by the Marathon bombing sites, the energy is completely different.

    Oahu, RIckie?? Not as much snow as NAhant, right?

  46. Okay, I was working as a CPA in a local office in Hudson, Ohio. We had a couple of friends who died that year of cancer. I decided life may be short, so let's start doing things we'd put off. I took my first trip abroad to Ireland with my husband and parents. We rented a car and hared around and absolutely loved it.

  47. I had a toddler and a kindergartner!! Busy times!!

  48. Oh, yes, holdenj! ANd not one bit of sleep, right?


  49. PAt D--what a momentous life-changing year for you! Whoa. xoxoo

  50. I began working full time for Continuing Medical Education at the University of Kentucky. My boss justified moving me up to full time by assigning me to be the secretary of the chancellor emeritus. I had never been a secretary before, and it didn't work out. He possessed the same flaws I did, but was thirty years ahead of me in their development. After a particularly difficult day that ended in tears, they hired him a part-time secretary and gave me more data responsibilities. Win-win.

  51. In the fall of 1996 I was starting my 30th and last year of teaching. Best decision I ever made. I had a great year and never looked back.

  52. Linda, I can hardly wait to read this book. I only recently discovered your books, so I've only read 3 or 4 so far, but I think it will be a lot of fun to see the world from Mike Chapman's viewpoint.

    In 1996 my son was approaching his 3rd birthday. We had moved our family from a small town to a large city because we liked it better as an environment for our son to grow up in. For most of the year my poor husband was still commuting a little over an hour each way back to the small town where he still worked. I was working for a nationally known consulting firm that had just put itself up for sale because it was under capitalized, so we were waiting on pins and needles to eventually learn that KPMG had bought the company. Like every mother of an almost three-year-old, I was perpetually exhausted. But if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing!

  53. Sarah, yeah, so instructive! You never know, right?

    Ah, great to have no regrets! Talk about win-win!

    Susan, exactly! And I wonder how many of us wouldn't change a thing? I'm with you! ANd it;s reassuring, from my point of view, to know smart readers can come to a series that's underway. Big whew!

    Jennifer Gray!

    ANd the winner of Terminal CIty is: skkorman

    Please contact me a h ryan at whdh dot com with your address!

  55. NIght all! ove ou madly and see you tomorrow!

    ANd thank you dear LInda!

  56. What I meant was: NIght all! Love you madly and see you tomorrow!

    ANd thank you dear LInda!