The crusading longtime chief of Manhattan's Sex Crimes Prosecutions Unit brings to her exciting first novel the same passion and insights into the criminal and crime-busting minds that marked her memoir, Sexual Violence (1994). Fairstein also brings herself to the novel-or at least an alter ego of a narrator, Alexandra Cooper, who's also a middle-aged blonde heading the borough's prosecution of sex offenders. Cooper's typical day of counseling victims and working with the NYPD on sex crimes would probably keep readers fascinated, but her latest problem-the shooting murder of glamorous movie star Isabella Lascar at Cooper's getaway home on Martha's Vineyard-pitches the plot at high intensity right away. Though Cooper is warned by the DA not to play cop, she and homicide detective Mike Chapman, who's assigned to bodyguard her, work together unofficially to solve the crime, carrying on a sort of anti-romance all the while. Fairstein isn't a gifted stylist-her dialogue is as wooden as a judge's gavel-and the details of Cooper's professional and personal lives drive the story forward with more vigor than the murder investigation does. Some readers will be disappointed, too, that Cooper, like any victim, has to be rescued in the end by her fiercely protective and ingenious friends on the NYPD. But then this heroine's greatest appeal lies in the warmth of her friendships, the humanness of her mistakes and her unswerving devotion to protecting the next female from harm. As a woman with grave responsibilities who still puts her pantyhose on one leg at a time, she makes a memorable debut. Literary Guild and Mystery Guild main selections; Doubleday Book Club alternate; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996 Release date: 06/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
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