From Library Journal
A prominent woman neurosurgeon is sexually assaulted and stabbed in her own mid-Manhattan medical center office. Heroine Alexandra Cooper, who heads the Manhattan D.A.'s sex crimes unit, and her team of homicide detectives banter comically to cheer themselves as they winnow through witnesses, including transients who swarm the tunnels beneath the hospital and roam hospital corridors, snatching lab coats and trays of food. In her second Alex Cooper novel, Fairstein (Final Jeopardy, LJ 4/15/96) calls upon her expertise as a Manhattan assistant D.A. to conjure up a world so real, its brittle police babble and mounting suspense make the pages crackle. Although there is little art to the language, it is crystal clear, and deft descriptions abound. The precise coverage of Alex's daily rounds has a documentary feel that slows the narrative, as do the intrusive explanations of criminal procedures. But classy Alex and her sidekicks, Mercer and Mike, a refreshing, if cartoonish, "equal opportunity offender," all denizens in their beloved New York, are treats. Recommended.-?Molly Gorman, San Marino, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Fairstein has run the Manhattan D.A.'s sex-crimes unit for more than 20 years. A popular lecturer, she's now turned her talents to writing crime thrillers about--guess what?--a sex-crimes prosecutor in Manhattan. Her first novel, Final Jeopardy
, created a bit of stir, and this follow-up seems primed to follow suit. Respected neurosurgeon Gemma Dogen is found brutally murdered in her office at Mid-Manhattan Hospital. She may have been sexually assaulted, which is where sex-crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper comes in. Along with her detective pal Mike Chapman, Alex slogs through suspect interviews, hospital records, and police files, but in the end, she finds the same old story: a murder that's all about greed, revenge, and ambition. Fairstein's grasp of grim forensic details, her savvy heroine, and her suspense-thriller plot will draw comparisons to Patricia Cornwell. But, frankly, there is no comparison. For one thing, Fairstein can't decide if she's giving an informative (if pedantic) lecture about sex crimes; writing a kind of yuppified true-crime story; or actually creating fiction. For another, the plot meanders through 400 long pages when 250 could have done nicely. And Alex Cooper, finally, isn't nearly as charismatic as Kay Scarpetta. Still, with plenty of publicity, the numerous Cornwell comparisons, and the seal of approval from the Mystery Guild, the Literary Guild, and the Doubleday Book Club, heavy demand is an inevitability. Emily Melton
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