Saturday, April 14, 2007

Profile: Prosecutor has a Paper Trail Worth Following

Oline H. Cogdill, mystery book columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, recently profiled , the former NYC prosecutor who is now a best-selling author. Her most recent book the Alex Cooper series, Bad BloodBad Blood by Linda Fairstein, was published in February.

"The law and literature -- those are two things I can't give up and I'm so fortunate that they feed off each other," Fairstein said during an interview in Miami.

Cogdill writes that when Fairstein joined the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in 1972, she was one of seven women on a staff of 180 lawyers. At the time, the district attorney didn't permit women to work on homicides or violent crimes, let alone prosecute them in court. Just four years later, Fairstein took over the newly formed sex crimes unit, revolutionizing the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse cases. "It's the work that kept me there," she says. "It became so richly rewarding on a professional level, on a personal level, on an emotional level to help make changes in the law."

She wrote her first four novels while still a prosecutor, and the pace was wearing her down. "When I was writing and prosecuting, prosecution came first," she said. But her novels were beginning to attract as much attention as her law career.

Fairstein's fifth novel, The Bone Vault, written after she left the D.A.'s office, became her breakout hit in 2003. Critics and readers have cited the authenticity in Fairstein's novels; the author says she pulls from real cases and events, though she has never fictionalized a real defendant or villain.

But the law still calls, Cogdill adds. She often does consulting work or gives seminars, workshops and discussions at law enforcement agencies or attorney groups around the country. Recently at the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, she did a 90-minute informal training session on special victims and a discussion with the DNA Unit.

Read the rest of Cogdill's profile of this remarkable author on Sun-Sentinel.com here.

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