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Dark Lady [Mass Market Paperback]

Richard North Patterson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2000
Once the prosecutor was a young law student. Once the dead man was an honest lawyer. Now Stella Marz stares at the body of her former lover, hanging from a doorway in a gruesome tableau.

For Stella Marz, the search for Jack Novak's killer leads into another bizarre homicide case, back through her own past and through the city where she was born and where now--a good Catholic girl turned career woman--she is in crisis. Somewhere in this city a hidden alliance of big money, big plans, and dark secrets is fueling a great American revival. And somehow Stella Marz will bring the darkness into the light--no matter what it reveals, no matter who it destroys. . . .

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From Amazon

Dashiell Hammett, a master of big city crime fiction, would have enjoyed Richard North Patterson's latest thriller, set in a fictional Midwestern city called Steelton. This burnt-out burg is located on the shores of Lake Erie--and is a place bitterly divided by politics. The construction of a $275 million baseball stadium threatens to be Steelton's downfall rather than its redemption.

Arthur Bright is the prosecutor of Erie County, but he wants to become mayor. His campaign attacks the new ballpark as a boondoggle, "a shameful diversion of public financing from such pressing needs as better schools, better housing, and safer streets." His protégé, Assistant County Prosecutor Stella Marz is 38, ambitious, and has been dubbed "the dark lady" by various defense lawyers. If Arthur wins the mayoral race, she intends to become prosecutor herself. But two murders involving drugs and twisted sex threaten her future.

First, Tommy Fielding, the project manager for Steelton 2000 (as the new home of the Steelton Blues will be called), is found dead in the company of a hooker--both apparently having overdosed on heroin. The fact that Fielding was gay and had never used drugs before bothers Stella and Chief Detective Nathaniel Dance. Their worries are soon pushed aside by another, more shocking murder--Jack Novak, a defense lawyer, is discovered hanging from his closet door, castrated and dressed in drag. Jack was once Stella's lover--and he was also one of Bright's largest contributors. For Stella, the murders are too close to home. "Maybe this is about me. But I have to see it through."

Dark Lady is shrouded by the dark clouds of deceit and greed, and the sleek structure of Steelton 2000 dominates the landscape like a Dr. Frankenstein's Castle with luxury boxes. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Patterson's signature style of crime suspense depends heavily on the terse descriptive passages he uses to render settings and characters. This makes his work adapt especially well to audio, since the listener is constantly being told exactly what's going onAin adjective-laden language that has modern-day colorings of film noir and Raymond Chandler. (Accordingly, all eight of Patterson's previous novels are also available from Random House AudioBooks). Stella Marz is a politically ambitious Assistant County Prosecutor in Steelton, an American rust-belt city plagued by unemployment, racial division and rampant local corruption. Young, beautiful and forthright, Stella has earned the nickname "Dark Lady" as a ruthless law-woman. But she meets her match when she's assigned to investigate the grisly murder of her own ex-lover, an attorney for the town's drug dealers. Along the way, plenty of sordid sexual and violent acts are detailed, making for a sustained mood of grimy titillation. Kalember's (of TV's Sisters and thirtysomething) reading is crisply enunciated and tactfully understated. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover. Also available unabridged and on CD. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN THE MOMENTS before the brutal murder of Jack Novak ended what she later thought of as her time of innocence, Assistant County Prosecutor Stella Marz gazed down at the waterfront of her native city, Steelton. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown away Oct. 25 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After just finishing this book (as an audiobook read my Ann Twomey) I was blown away... so I check here to see what other people thought, expecting the occasional disgruntled review among a majority of rave reviews only to get the feeling that I read a different book than the reviewers here. I was rapt in the story until the end, looking forward to driving somewhere so I could continue to listen to it. It was complex and interesting, with a number of bizarre twists. The mood was very dark, though not oppressively so. It was a surreal backdrop which made for great "mental cinematography." The characters were complex as were their relationships.
As mysteries go, there was never a question who the main criminal was, just who was in with him and the how and why things were done. The results were at times surprising. This is my third RNP book ("Silent Witness" and "Protect and Defend", being the others), and I continue to love this author. In the manner that I've come to expect from RNP, the lines between good and bad and right and wrong are often blurry and ambiguous, and the choices we make aren't always so clear-cut.
For audiobook afficionados, I also give two thumbs up for Ann Twomey. Though the story is mostly from the viewpoint of Stella Marz, she also captured the other characters effectively.
I don't know if it happens to other readers here, but when I finish a book that really moves me, I often feel this sadness that the book is over. This was one of those books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Politics, Murder, and Strange Bedfellows Oct. 7 2000
Richard North Patterson's latest, Dark Lady, is a well-crafted lawyer-cop-political tale which will hold your interest. The protagonist is Stella Marz, a single, 38-year old Assistant County Prosecutor who wants not to be the assistant. But that means she would have to be the first woman elected to the job. Her boss is running for mayor, but if he is elected will he back her or his long-time friend and political ally in the special election? The political environment in this rust-belt metropolis is complex, with the electorate fairly evenly split between African-American and the children of Central European immigrants. Stella is a tough, competent prosecutor who seldom loses and whose dedication and tough stance has earner her the sobriquet of "Dark Lady." Patterson deftly brings out Stella's background and its effect on her current viewpoint. A reader comes to know her and the difficulties she surmounted to reach what might have become the critical point in both her career and her life. Dark Lady may not be a great book, but it is a story well told.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This "dark lady" is one we've already met. Sept. 18 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
She's Stella Marz, the D.A. who prosecuted Tony Lord's client/ boyhood buddy in "No Safe Place". But now Patterson has done a Scott Turow number, taking our attention out of the courtroom and focusing it on the raw psyches of our cast of characters. Not to mention giving a supporting character in a previous book the lead role in a new book. Like Marz, who's investigating the bizarre murder of her old flame in a dysfunctional romance. As you'd expect, colleagues are advising her not to handle this one because she probably can't maintain the detatchment she needs. As the story wears on, we can't help but think she should have listened. She's sleeping lousy and having bad dreams. She's getting threatening phone calls to back off. She sees real and/ or imaginary stalkers in nondescript cars. Her apartment's getting broken into. There's also a Grisham-like element here where corruption surrounding a new stadium project involves Marz's old boyfriend, organized crime, and even her crusading boss. Peripherally, Marz starts to get sweet on one of the cops who works for her, builds a rapport with his little daughter that seems like it's just as meaningful as the emerging relationship with Daddy--then she finds out that Daddy plays a small role in the stadium corruption scheme. Myself, I liked Patterson when he was still Patterson handling basic crime with maybe an odd aspect to it--not a Turow clone who psychoanalyzes his cast of characters or a Grisham clone who does a quasi-tabloid/ quasi-fiction number on sticky fingers in high rise offices.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced July 28 2000
I found this to be a fast paced book with true to life, believable characters and most certainly a provocative, suspenseful stunner. In Steeltown, a struggling midwestern city on the verge of an economic turn around, two important men are found dead within days of each other. The author has created a woman as fascinating as her world is haunting. Stella Marz is the Assistant County Prosecutor. She is so driven by her job; the defense attorneys call her "The Dark Lady" because of her relentless, sometimes ruthless style. Stella has earned the title because she has only lost one case in seven years. Tommy Fielding is the first death. He was a senior officer of the company that is building a new baseball stadium, which is the cities hope for a new future. Jack Novak, a former love interest of Stella's is the second death. Feeling that someone is already following and watching her every move, Stella must make her way through all the facts before it is too late. I really loved this book because it was fast paced. I loved the ending and I am confident you will too. Honestly I feel this is a superbly crafted, must-read thriller. Richard North Patterson has written 10 other novels and he is one suspenseful author that you should look up.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great
This book was enjoyable reading even though some parts dragged out more than necessary. The cast of characters were somewhat confusing but it was all brought together nicely in... Read more
Published on April 30 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars dark and edgy
This is the first book I ever read by this author and it was a page turner. The plot reads like a NY Post headline and takes the reader on a roller coaster ride on the insider... Read more
Published on March 27 2004 by Margaux Paschke
3.0 out of 5 stars Lack of action
Mr. Patterson spends far too much time developing the characters, not enough chasing clues, suspects, interviewing.
Published on Nov. 8 2003 by John R. Crane
4.0 out of 5 stars DARK STELLA
Somehow Patterson doesn't quite match the intensity and structural excellence evidenced in his other books. Read more
Published on March 10 2003 by Michael Butts
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great
The story is gripping, thanks in large part to the meticulous background information about Steeltown. I thought this gave the story dimension. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed
I really like this author, and that's why I was very disappointed in this book. It took me way too long to finish it because it takes over 200 pages to even begin to grab you. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars well written thoughtful thriller
This is a well-written, incisive mystery from Patterson. In fact, it's not just a mystery.
It's a meditation concerning the choices we make in life, and how our past choices... Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2001 by johnglor94
2.0 out of 5 stars so-so
I've read a couple of Richard North Patterson novels and have enjoyed them. I'm on page 213 right now and I'm having trouble getting through it. Read more
Published on April 27 2001 by Misha
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed But Still A Patterson Fan
I have enjoyed everything that I have read by Patterson. When I bought Dark Lady, I also bought Patterson's latest novel, Protect and Defend. Read more
Published on March 29 2001 by A. Harrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Characters. Good Stiry
My second RN Patterson Novel. Better than Silent Witness. Reading it, I have a better understanding about the decaying of the rust belt, the political in fighting between the... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2001 by FOO Say How
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