I am very conflicted in my opinion of 'Blood Oath'.
I found the beginning of the story was very confusing. It was hard to tell which of the conversations of the beloved characters were angry, which were sarcastic and which were loving kidding amongst great friends. The characters just did not sound like themselves. I couldn't tell if it was purposefully written in that chaotic way to reflect the recent trauma's that affected Cooper or is an indication of an author losing interest in her.
I found it hard to like the female victim and difficult to judge her honesty. I kept waiting for some surprise that blows up the narrative and turns the entire premise of the novel on its head. It was hard to trust her and, for me, it was equally hard to trust the nurse (Billy). Was he good? Was he bad? I sure couldn't decide. As 'Blood Oath' moved forward, after a lot of wandering, some of that was resolved.
I thought the descriptions of sexual exploitation was like reading a textbook explanation rather than reading the passion Alex Cooper usually brings to her life's work fighting it.
Ultimately, 'Blood Oath' weaves into a compelling story, but I found the ending incomplete, especially in regard to the victim. The entire book is premised on this victim yet the ending revolves around Cooper.
In my book reviews I often note how badly other authors write about city histories and landmarks compared to the compelling way Linda Fairstein does about New York City in these Alexandra Cooper novels. This time she let me down. The descriptions were not her expected vividly written descriptions that allow us to see what she sees in her love for that history, but instead was dry, rote and rather boring. As she took time to specifically acknowledge and thank several people who spent hours telling her about the landmark in 'Blood Oath' I am disappointed she didn't express far more of the enthusiasm we've come to know through past books.
3.5 Stars: I don't feel 'Blood Oath' was written well. I'm hoping this is a one off and not indicative of future Alex Cooper novels. For those for whom 'Blood Oath' is their first Fairstein/Cooper novel, I also hope that they have the opportunity go back and start at the beginning in 1996 with 'Final Jeopardy' and move forward to 2019. You will not be sorry you did.