cover image Silent Mercy

Silent Mercy

Linda Fairstein, read by Barbara Rosenblat. Penguin Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 11 hrs., $39.95 ISBN 978-0-14-242875-7

Of the numerous narrators who have brought Fairstein's series to audio, Barbara Rosenblat is arguably the best, due primarily to her ability to capture the character's intelligence and romantic sensibility plus the toughness the job realistically requires. She even sounds a bit like Fairstein herself. Ordinarily, it would be merely lagniappe that she can also gruff up enough to do justice to the hard-boiled NYPD detective Mike Chapman. But this murder investigation%E2%80%94involving New York's historical churches and synagogues, a traveling circus out of Water for Elephants, leprosy, and a mixed martial arts fundamentalist sect%E2%80%94relies as much on Chapman as it does on assisstant DA Alexandra Cooper. The ease with which Rosenblat handles both her heroes, along with her vivid portrayals of teen drug dealers, religious dignitaries, Alex's arrogant bosses, frustrating judges, a martinet circus owner, and a large cast, makes it almost easy to accept the book's melodramatic conclusion. A Dutton hardcover. (Apr.)