, 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
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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.
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