cover image Death Dance

Death Dance

Linda A. Fairstein, , read by Blair Brown. . Simon & Schuster Audio, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7435-5014-7

The dramatic talents of Blair Brown, widely displayed on stage, film and television, add some important depth and energy to this generally shrewdly abridged audio version of Fairstein's latest. Brown catches the feisty wisdom of Alexandra Cooper, Manhattan's assistant DA in charge of the sex crimes prosecution unit (a job Fairstein herself had for 25 years before turning to writing full time), and also brings to sharply edged life Cooper's old colleagues, crime scene investigators Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace. Particularly interesting are Brown's takes on denizens of New York's Metropolitan Opera—a manipulative agent, a strange producer and his troubled niece, an ambiguously motivated artistic director—as Cooper and her team investigate the murder of a leading Russian ballerina found dead in one of the Met's cooling units. Other plots (a rape involving an elusive Turkish doctor and an unsolved urban assault case) sometimes seem a bit tacked on and confusing—perhaps a result of the abridgment. But bestseller Fairstein's growing band of enthusiasts should have few complaints—especially if they love opera as much as the law. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 7). (Jan.)