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Dead Connection Hardcover – July 10, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Putting feisty DA Samantha Kincaid on hold after three novels (Close Case, etc.), Burke introduces a disappointingly dull heroine in 30-year-old NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher. Flamboyant homicide detective Flann McIlroy asks outspoken Ellie to assist in looking into the First Date case, a series of murders seemingly connected by the female victims' subscription to an online-dating site. Flann is relying on curvy Ellie as date bait, but also hopes that Ellie's past might help with the case: Ellie's father, a Wichita, Kans., cop, died under mysterious circumstances soon after bringing an infamous local serial killer, the College Hill Strangler, to justice. As Ellie and Flann dig deeper into the shady history of the dating site—and its potential link to the Russian mafia—Ellie realizes that the killer is taunting her just as the College Hill Strangler taunted her father. Ellie's character never quite gels, however, and her interactions with the suspects don't provide enough tension or heat to keep pages turning all the way through. (July)
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From School Library Journal

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805077855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805077858
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alafair Burke is the author of "two power house series" (Sun-Sentinel) that have earned her a reputation for creating strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters, such as NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. Alafair's novels grow out of her experience as a prosecutor in America's police precincts and criminal courtrooms, and have been featured by The Today Show, People Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Sun-Times. Dennis Lehane has called her "one of the finest young crime writers working today."

A graduate of Stanford Law School and a former Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair is now a Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, where she teaches criminal law and procedure.

She lives in New York City and spends too much time on Facebook and Twitter, but has no plans to quit.

Learn more about Alafair at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Detective Ellie Hatcher is specifically sought for a special assignment on the homicide task force when a clue left at the scene of a murder seems to connect two cases to an online dating service. Detective Hatcher is a rookie NYPD detective but Detective Flann McIlroy, seeks her involvement anyway. Why? I don't want to spoil the novel for anyone: suffice to say there is an explanation in the novel.

This thriller is set in the murky world of identity theft and anonymity: both made easy by the use of the internet. While Hatcher and McIlroy set out to solve the crimes, they uncover other crimes that may be related and a number of potential suspects. Along the way, both Hatcher and McIlroy break a number of rules and individual readers may find this irritating if not unbelievable.

And the conclusion? Some aspects are more clear-cut than others, and I found some parts of the storyline more satisfying than others. Overall, though, this was an enjoyable read and well worth picking up if you have a couple of hours to fill.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson on August 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A few years back, Alafair created a stir when she arrived on the publishing scene, residing as she did in the huge shadow of her father, crime novelist James Lee Burke (one of my all-time favorites). While never trying to match his mastery with words and imagery, she showcased her own talent for plotting and dialogue, and gave us a memorable protagonist in Samantha Kincaid. With each Kincaid mystery, Alafair's writing got stronger as did her ease in storytelling.

Now, with the introduction of Detective Ellie Hatcher, Alafair takes it to another level. Drawing from her own experiences as a youth during the days of the BTK killer, she weaves in family and psychological insights without growing heavy-handed. She uses the theme of Internet dating, telling a cautionary tale while never oversimplifying. She teases us into the story with a great opening chapter, then leads us through a list of questions and suspects which pull us rapidly toward the conclusion.

Ellie Hatcher is a tough cookie, throwing out snippets of humor and exhibiting a few character foibles, which only make her more likable. The book ends with her poised for her next investigation, a more personal one. Alafair also manages, in a cleverly handled scene, to connect Ellie with a certain Detective Robicheaux in Louisiana.

With one series well underway, and another now off and running, Alafair Burke looks like she'll be around for a long time. That's a good thing. A very good thing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bobbewig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 26, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having enjoyed Angel's Tip very much, Burke's second book featuring NYC Detective Ellie Hatcher, I decided to go back and read Dead Connection, the first book in the series. I'm glad I read them in reverse order or I probably wouldn't have ever read Angel's Tip. Dead Connection has Hatcher, a rookie detective, requested to work on a special assignment with the homicide task force. Without going into detail about the assignment, Hatcher and her seasoned, publicity-seeking partner, are assigned to draw out a serial killer who is using an internet dating service to target single women in Manhattan. This plot starts off interesting but eventually becomes a bit tedious due to a lack of action and to its getting bogged down with some convoluted subplots and twists and turns that Burke used to try to throw the reader off from guessing who the killer is. As a result, I found that the plot dragged at times. Further, while Burke's rookie hero working on her first homicide case is a likable and interesting character, Hatcher lacks some credibility. This is due to the author's enabling Hatcher to outthink/outsmart/outguess all of her superiors as well as the baddies in regards to "unhatching" the plot and solving the case. Despite the flaws in Dead Connection, it is a satisfying read. Also, you should be aware that Burke's style improved considerably in Angel's Tip, making it a very worthwhile read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on January 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Over the last few years, Alafair Burke has delivered a fine series of mystery novels featuring District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. These books catapulted Burke (the daughter of bestselling author James Lee Burke) into the big time. Her newest procedural features NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher, an attractive, bright and street-smart rookie.

Hatcher lives with a haunted past. Her father, who was a cop in Wichita, Kansas, where she grew up, died mysteriously in pursuit of a serial killer dubbed the College Hill Strangler. After an internal investigation by his department, his death was ruled a suicide. But even as a kid Ellie never believed her father would take his own life. She felt a cover-up was easy to pull off because her mother would not question any findings or complain about losing the compensation to which she was entitled. Burke says of her new leading lady: "Her father always told her, Find the motive, and the motive will lead you to the man." These words are the foundation of Hatcher's tenaciousness and unflagging commitment to bring justice to victims.

In DEAD CONNECTION, Burke's story unfolds around the latest cyber-phenomenon: online dating services. In this Sargasso Sea of strangers who put themselves "out there," victims could be exposing themselves for trouble rather than love. Yet, ironically, Burke herself met her husband through "an online dating service [and goes on to say]...there I found the plot of [this novel] and...Ellie Hatcher."

Hatcher is surprised and flattered when bombastic detective Flann McIlroy asks her to be assigned temporarily to his department. So far the investigation has revealed that the only common thread in the lives of the dead women is the dating service to which they all subscribed.
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