This led me to ask the big questions about rape
By Derryll White
Fairstein, Linda (1999). Cold Hit.
This is the third novel in a series featuring stylish District Attorney Alexandra Cooper. Linda Fairstein knows this territory well. She is one of America’s foremost prosecutors of crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence. She has headed the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, New York, for more than 20 years. She is also the author of a non-fiction work titled ‘Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape.’
Fairstein is intimate with New York and it shows all over her novel. She gives flashbacks in to the city 100 years ago with names like ‘Death Avenue’ and ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ always with a certain care. She describes small and hidden places; vignettes that make the reader want to go to New York, to rediscover those discrete lovers’ nooks.
This novel led me to ask again the big questions about rape. How can a man ever debase the most intimate act with force and violence? How do women live with the knowledge that there are so many assholes out there, and statistically most likely to be known by the woman – friend or family?
The whole fact of rape boggles my mind, nevertheless I am pleased to have read ‘Cold Hit’ and reminded myself yet again of why a man must be respectful of women and knowledgeable of their need to say “no” and be listened to.
This was not an easy book. I will read more of Linda Fairstein, but only after I have completely thought through the challenges and implications of this violence.
Excerpts from the novel:
RAPE – Most people don’t realize that almost eighty percent of reported rapes occur between people who know each other. The stranger rapist – the guy who jumps out from behind trees in the park or breaks into homes – he’s only responsible for about twenty percent of the cases. But he’s the guy most women fear.
SOCIAL CHANGE – So much had changed in this business, just in my professional lifetime. Women, who had traditionally been reluctant to report cases of sexual violence, were now far more likely to come forward, as society lifted the age-old stigma on victims who cried rape, and began placing the blame where it belonged: on the offender.
COLD HIT – “Cold hit” was the slang term that scientists used to describe what occurred when a computer made a successful comparison between DNA samples, linking a piece of forensic evidence to an actual human being.
THE ART SCENE – “Between the fakes and the frauds, and centuries of thefts and misrepresentations, I can’t imagine now how anyone sets a value that can be trusted on any painting,” I added. It was odd that for so many of the people we had encountered, their passions had become obsessions, and their lives as illusory as their art.
– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them. When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.