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Cover image for Dead connection
Dead connection

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 2007.
Physical Description:
319 pages ; 25 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
" ... a rookie detective goes undercover on the Internet dating scene to draw out a serial killer targeting single women in Manhattan"--Publisher description.


Call Number
Burke, A.
FIC (M) BURKE 2007

On Order



In this electrifying thriller, a rookie detective goes undercover on the
Internet dating scene to draw out a serial killer targeting single women
in Manhattan When two young women are murdered on the streets of New York, exactly one year apart, Detective Ellie Hatcher is called up for a special assignment on the homicide task force. The killer has left behind a clue connecting the two cases to First Date, a popular online dating service, and Flann McIlroy, an eccentric, publicity-seeking homicide detective, is convinced that only Ellie can help him pursue his terrifying theory: someone is using the lure of the Internet and the promise of love tolaunch a killing spree against the women of New York City.
To catch the killer, Ellie must enter a high-tech world of stolen identities where no one is who they appear to be. And for her, the investigation quickly becomes personal: she fits the profile of the victims, and she knows firsthand what pursuing a sociopath can do to a cop--back home in Wichita, Kansas, her father lost his life trying to catch a notorious serial murderer.
When the First Date killer begins to mimic the monster who destroyed her father, Ellie knows the game has become personal for him, too. Both hunter and prey, she must find the killer before he claims his next victim--who could very well be her.
Expertly plotted and perfectly paced, Dead Connection advances Alafair Burke to the front ranks of American thriller writers.

Author Notes

Alafair Burke graduated from Reed College and Stanford Law School. After graduating, she became a Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon where she worked as a trial lawyer prosecuting domestic violence offenses and as a liaison to the police department. After five years of working at the District Attorney's Office, she decided to start writing. Her first novel, Judgment Calls, was published in 2003. Her other works include Long Gone, If You Were Here, The Ex, A Samantha Kincaid Mystery series, the Ellie Hatcher series, and the Under Suspicion series written with Mary Higgins Clark. She currently teaches criminal law and procedure at Hofstra Law School.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-New York Detective Ellie Hatcher has been recruited by a Manhattan Homicide Task Force to assist renegade detective Flann McIlroy (whose nickname "McIl Mulder" alludes to his unusual way of solving his cases). The two are on the trail of a serial killer who is using an Internet matchmaking company called FirstDate. Soon they are enmeshed in the world of Internet socializing where the users trust that their identities can be hidden, but the reality is that those with the right skills can track down anyone online. And people are dying. There are a lot of subplots involving Ellie's family, other officers, the Russian mafia, and the FBI, and the plot twists and folds back on itself nicely at the end.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The critics were not very kind to the print version of Burke's attempt to break out of her successful Samantha Kincaid series, and the audio version shares the same faults of being dull, overcomplicated and overstuffed. Despite the award-winning audio talents of Christopher Lane, there's only so much he can do with the material he's been given. Lane is cool, clean and clear as a fresh pond as he tells listeners the story of Ellie Hatcher, a rookie detective whose father's apparent suicide leads her from New York to Wichita, Kans., where she finds that the suicide had something to do with the serial killer her father was pursuing. Lane gets all the characters' voices just right-male and female, New York computer nerd and Kansas lawman. But in the end he's the only reason for spending time and money on this disappointing audio. Simultaneous release with the Henry Holt hardcover (Reviews, May 7). (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

Novice NYPD Det. Ellie Hatcher worked low-level robberies until she was whisked to the homicide division and plunged neck-deep into a series of killings in this addictive thriller. Kansas native Ellie becomes a cop after following trouble-prone brother Jess to the Big Apple. The daughter of a slain police officer, Ellie remains haunted by his death and his department's refusal to classify it as a homicide at the hands of a serial killer he was investigating. Soon she's picked to partner on a murder case with Det. Flann McIlroy, known for his maverick techniques. McIlroy is after the killer of Louisiana transplant Amy Davis. McIlroy believes Amy's killer has struck before and will do so again. Amy was brutally strangled outside her apartment, and her pocket carries a clue placed by the killer--one that leads investigators to an Internet dating service called FirstDate. They soon determine Amy isn't the only murder victim with a FirstDate connection. Beautiful writer Caroline Hunter, killed exactly one year before Amy, joined FirstDate to research a book on online romances. Ellie and Flann must dig deep into the past lives of four dead women, and in doing so, they attract the attention of the FBI. But the federal agency seems curiously bent on blocking their murder probe, especially Agent Charlie Dixon and his supervisor. Forbidden love, a retired cop, Russian gangsters and secrets from the victims' pasts converge in Burke's intricately-plotted, fast-paced fourth (Close Case, 2005, etc.). The attractive Ellie makes for a flawed but likeable heroine--smart, good with details, but ultimately capable of an error with devastating consequences. Holds the reader's attention from first word to last, and begs for a sequel. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

New York City is worlds away from Ellie Hatcher's childhood home of Wichita, Kansas. While the rookie detective has come to feel at home in Manhattan, memories of her late father, a career Kansas police officer, remain in her mind. While his death was ruled a suicide, Ellie knows in her heart that Jerry Hatcher was yet another victim of the serial killer he worked so tirelessly to catch. As the novel opens, Ellie takes a special assignment with the NYPD homicide division to pursue a psychopath who preys on single women searching for love online. She must navigate a brave new cyberworld where personal lives are laid bare with the click of a mouse. This is the first stand-alone for Burke, author of three novels in the Samantha Kincaid series. Though she possesses many of the prose gifts of her father, acclaimed mystery writer James Lee Burke, the author here suffers from too many plot threads and enough characters for two books. Still, too much of a good thing is better than not enough. --Allison Block Copyright 2007 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Investigating a serial killer who seems to be targeting young women connected with the online dating service First Date, Det. Ellie Hatcher isn't happy when the killer starts acting just like the murderous nut her policeman dad lost his life pursuing. With a ten-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.