In the hands of author Linda Fairstein, fictional sex-crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper has enjoyed a career spanning 17 books and almost two decades. Cooper’s 16th adventure, Terminal City, was selected as one of the three finalists for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.
Fairstein spoke with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles to discuss Terminal City and Devil’s Bridge, the newly released 17th book in the Alex Cooper series.
Fairstein’s own prominent career prosecuting sex crimes for the district attorney’s office in Manhattan has greatly influenced her novels, as has her familiarity with New York City. She uses a different prominent New York City location as the backdrop for each novel, and uses it as an opportunity to impart some of the city’s rich history to her readers.
“As a prosecutor in New York for so many years, I got to know the city really well in ways that the average resident or tourist certainly doesn’t,” Fairstein says. “So places that seem very benign and elegant and culturally iconic often have had bad things happen in them.”
In addition to discussing the Alex Cooper novels—and a major plot twist in Devil’s Bridge—Fairstein shared for the first time that she is going to be launching a brand new series, aimed at children ages 9 to 12.
“I have been saying to my agent for years, ‘I would love to write a modern-day Nancy Drew, and I’d love to write it for middle-school kids,’ ” Fairstein says.
Fairstein’s new take on the Nancy Drew series stars a 12-year-old Manhattan girl named Devlin Quick. After finishing Devil’s Bridge, Fairstein started writing the first Devlin Quick book, which is likely to come out in 2016.
“She’s very curious, she has a lot of attitude, a little more modern-day-urban than Nancy Drew,” Fairstein says. “And the big twist is that her mother is the first woman police commissioner in the NYPD, which is a job I wanted to have in the ’80s.”
Listen to the full interview to hear more about Fairstein’s research methods; how her fans have influenced the course of the Alex Cooper series; and her thoughts about Harper Lee’s newly released book Go Set a Watchman.