The real-life work of sex-crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein brought "riveting authenticity" (Vanity Fair) to her bestselling debut novel, Final Jeopardy. Now Fairstein's fictional counterpart -- smart and savvy assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper -- returns in "[a] Grisham-esque page turner" (Time) that puts Alex in the line of fire.
New York City's oldest and largest medical center is the scene of a ghastly attack: top neurosurgeon Gemma Dogen is found in her blood-soaked office, where she has been sexually assaulted, stabbed, and designated by the cops as a "likely to die." By the time Alex has plunged into the case, it's a high-profile, media-infested murder investigation with a growing list of suspects from among those who roam the hospital's labyrinthine halls. As Alex's passion to find the killer intensifies, she discovers this hospital is not a place of healing but of deadly peril -- and that she is the next target for lethal violence.
A high-style thriller that sweeps from Manhattan to London to Martha's Vineyard, Likely to Die is an exhilarating tale from a justice system insider and provocative novelist.
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December 31, 1996
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Excerpt from Likely to Die by Linda Fairstein
The answering machine kicked in a fourth irritating echo from the insistent caller. I listened to my recorded voice announce that I was not available to come to the phone right now, as little hammers pounded furiously inside my head. The last Dewar's of the evening had been unnecessary.
I cocked an eye to glance at the illuminated dial glowing an eerie shade of green in the still dark room. It read 5:38 A.M.
"If you're screening, Coop, pick it up. C'mon, kid."
I was unmoved, and mercifully not on duty this morning.
"It's early and it's cold, but don't leave me dangling at the end of the only working phone booth in Manhattan when I'm trying to do you a favor. Pick it up, Blondie. Don't give me that 'unavailable' stuff. Last I knew you were the most available broad in town."
"Good morning, Detective Chapman, and thank you for that vote of confidence," I murmured into the receiver as I brought my arm back under the comforter to keep it warm while I listened to Mike. Too bad I'd cracked open a window for some fresh air before going to sleep. The room was frigid.
"I got something for you. A big one, if you're ready to get back in the saddle again."
I winced at Chapman's reminder that I had not picked up any serious investigations for almost five months. My involvement last fall in the murder case of my friend, the actress Isabella Lascar, had derailed me professionally. It had prompted the District Attorney to direct the reassignment of most of my trial load, so I had taken a long vacation when the killer was caught. Mike had accused me of coasting through the winter season and avoiding the kinds of difficult matters that we had worked on together so often in the past.
"What have you got " I asked him.
"Oh, no. This isn't one of those 'run it by me and if it's sexy enough I'll keep it' cases, Miss Cooper. You either accept this mission on faith, or I do this, the legitimate way and call whichever one of your mopes is on the homicide chart today. There'll be some eager beaver looking to get his teeth into this -- I can't help it if he won't happen to know the difference between DNA and NBC. At least he won't be afraid to --"
"All right, all right." Chapman had just said the magic word and I was sitting straight up in bed now. I wasn't certain if I was shivering because of the bitterly cold air that was blowing in from outdoors, or because I was frightened by the prospect of plunging back into the violent landscape of rapists and murderers that had dominated my professional life for almost a decade.