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by Linda Fairstein
Scribner, January 2006
416 pages
ISBN: 0743254899

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

DEATH DANCE is the eighth story featuring Alexandra Cooper, assistant district attorney in charge of the Sex Crimes Unit of the New York Police Department. She works closely with Detective Mercer Wallace, NYPD Special Victims Unit, and Mike Chapman, NYPD policeman. The story is a wonderful illustration of the complexity of the crimes police officers are confronted with each day and the legal constraints that they must work within to see that justice is served.

Alex, Mercer and Mike are faced with a variety of crimes that ultimately are shown to be sex crimes of varying complexity. They begin with two Canadian girls who believe they have been date-raped by a Turkish doctor. While pursuing this, a world renowned ballerina is reported missing during a performance at the Metropolitan Opera. When she turns up dead the nightmare for the police begins for there are thousands of people either working or attending the opera who have to be interviewed and processed.

It seems there are many suspects but the clues keep pointing back to each of them. While criss-crossing the city following the clues new cases are coming in that require their attention. Before the story is over they must find a serial rapist of joggers, a stagehand who switched identities with a cousin to avoid a DNA test, and an electrocution by manhole cover.

Linda Fairstein obviously knows her subject and the story seems almost autobiographical. Because it is told in the first person with a tremendous amount of dialogue, the story reads quickly. The number of crimes and the different ways of solving them not only makes for interesting reading but is also given in enough detail to educate the reader as well.

The history of Broadway theaters, and the interworkings of the Metropolitan Opera House makes for fascinating reading and a rich and colorful background. This is a book you won't want to put down, one that will leave you with an appreciation of what goes into a major Broadway production, be it opera or the legitimate theater.

Reviewed by Ginger K. W. Stratton, February 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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