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Death Dance    by Linda Fairstein order for
Death Dance
by Linda Fairstein
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Linda Fairstein writes of what she knows, exploiting her twenty-five years of experience as a Manhattan prosecutor of sexual assault and domestic violence crimes. In addition, she thoroughly researches some aspect of New York's long history for each new episode in her thriller series. This time, she takes the bantering investigative trio - Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace of NYPD and Assistant DA (specializing in sex crimes) Alex Cooper - into the labyrinths under, over and behind the public presence of the city's theaters.

As always - and true to real life - Alex has more than one case on her hands. First, two young visitors to New York claim to have been drugged and sexually assaulted by a physician, Dr. Selim Sengor. Prosecution of his case is complicated by a defense challenge to the use of the existing DNA databank in solving new cases, an issue of privacy vs. protection of the public. Alex's interest in the second case starts with the concern that she and Mercer have for Mike Chapman, still grieving hard over the accidental death of his girlfriend Val during the previous episode, Entombed. Mike, who calls Alex Coop, is prime on a high profile case in which world-famous dancer Natalya Galinova was pushed to her death at the Met. Was one of her many lovers the culprit? Alex's dance background and cultural interests, as well as the possibility of a sexual aspect to the case, pull her in, and she uses the opportunity to re-connect with Mike.

Power brokers in the case include the Met's artistic director Chet Dobbis, and colorful, egoistic Joe Berk, who 'owns Broadway' (or at least a significant part of it) and has a video surveillance system connected to what look like dressing rooms. His son and niece Mona snoop around the edges of events, as does the dancer's agent. There's a link to Shriners, an accidental electrocution, a showgirl is sabotaged during a rehearsal, Alex is sent inflammatory mail and personally attacked (as always she should receive danger pay!), and it all comes to a crescendo in a kidnapping at City Center. Of course the good guys triumph, and these latest ghosts of Broadway are laid to rest. Though not my favorite in the series, Death Dance is a good read, which will be of great interest to theater lovers as well as Alex Cooper fans.

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