New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein takes readers behind the scenes of New York City's theater world -- from Lincoln Center to the lights of Broadway -- in a riveting new novel, rich with her trademark blend of cutting-edge legal issues, skillful detective work, and heart-stopping suspense.
Teaming up with longtime friends -- NYPD's Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace -- Assistant DA Alex Cooper investigates the disappearance of world-famous dancer Natalya Galinova, who has suddenly vanished backstage at Lincoln Center's Metropolitan Opera House -- during a performance.
The three colleagues are soon drawn into the machinations of New York City's secretive theatrical community, where ambition takes many forms, including those most deadly. Among Galinova's lovers is Joe Berk, the colorful, strong-willed boss of the Berk Organization, one of four family companies that own all the legitimate theaters on Broadway. The aging ballerina was using Berk to help revive her career at the time of her disappearance.
Cooper, Chapman, and Wallace go underground and backstage at the Met, explore Berk's unusual apartment on top of the Belasco Theatre with its rumored ghostly resident, and then discover bizarre circumstances at City Center, which has a peculiar history not one of them knew about until now.
Within the glamorous but sordid inner sanctums of the Broadway elite, the team confronts the ruthless power brokers who control both the stars and the stages where they appear. They meet Joe's niece Mona Berk, who is mounting a vicious campaign to extract her share of the family fortune, and stunning starlet Lucy DeVore, whose beauty may be her fatal undoing. Chet Dobbis is the artistic director of the Metropolitan Opera, and therefore privy to the most scandalous exploits among its famous inhabitants. He also knows every inch of the labyrinthine building into which the ballerina disappeared...
Meanwhile, Alex is working on a very different case, using a creative technique to nab a physician who has been drugging women in order to assault them. As Dr. Selim Sengor eludes capture, Alex must navigate the new investigative world of DFSA -- drug-facilitated sexual assault -- intent on proving him guilty.
Complicating her quest is the explosive legal and ethical dilemma of using the existing DNA databank to solve new cases. Can Alex convince a judge to let her prosecute a man for a violent crime using DNA that was collected for a prior case in which he was never charged? Or do the suspect's civil rights prevent law enforcement from keeping his DNA on file to be used against him at any future time?
Death Dance is a spellbinding thriller combining a former prosecutor's fresh insight into hot-button legal issues with the unique history and spectacle of New York theater, and its shocking twists make this novel Linda Fairstein's most chilling adventure yet.
Alexandra Cooper, New York City assistant district attorney, investigates rapes. Here she is confronted with the case of Natalya Galinova, a famous Russian ballerina, who first turns up missing during a performance at the Metropolitan Opera House. The situation quickly evolves to murder, and detectives Mercer Wallace and Mike Chapman once again join Alex in investigating the many suspects, including wealthy theater moguls, directors, and backstage crew. The insight into the pretrial process of prosecutors working with homicide detectives is quite interesting. Unfortunately, minor characters are more like caricatures, with little detail provided and dialog that seems out of place. Barbara Rosenblat's clear reading does add to the dramatic tension as the thriller wends its way to its conclusion. As a quick bit of fun, this fast-paced story is average entertainment; recommended for larger collections.-Denise A. Garofalo, Astor Home for Children, Rhinebeck, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 17, 2006
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Excerpt from Death Dance by Linda Fairstein
"You think we've got a case?" Mercer Wallace asked me.
"The answer's inside that cardboard box you're holding," I said, opening the glass-paneled door of his lieutenant's office in the Special Victims Squad.
I placed my hand on the shoulder of the young woman who was slumped over a desk, napping while she waited for my arrival. She lifted her head from her crossed arms and flicked her long auburn hair out of her eyes.
"I'm Alex Cooper. Manhattan DA's office." I tried not to convey the urgency of what we had to get done within the next few hours. "Are you Jean?"
"Yes. Jean Eaken."
"Has Detective Wallace explained what we need?"
"You're the prosecutor running the investigation, he told me. I've got to go through the details with you again, and then make a phone call that you're going to script for me. Is Cara still here?" Jean asked.
"She's in another office down the hall," Mercer said. "It's better we keep you separated until this is done. Then we'll take you over to the hotel and let you get some rest."
I had been the assistant district attorney in charge of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit for more than a decade, and Mercer had called me into the case to try to add something from my legal arsenal to speed the arrest process and increase the likelihood that Jean Eaken would be a successful witness in the courtroom.