Dark Lady by Richard North Patterson


SuspenseDark Lady by Richard North Patterson

Dark LadyRichard North Patterson; Ballantine Books 2000WorldCat

Stella Marz is the head of homicide in the county prosecutor’s office in Steelton, a dying city on the shore of Lake Erie. Within one week there are two high profile deaths – one apparently accidental and one murder. Because of the odd circumstances around the first, Marz is investigating both. Her boss Arthur Bright, the current county prosecutor, is running for mayor at the same time and knows these deaths could affect his and Stella’s political futures.

The accidental death was Tommy Fielding, a senior officer of the company building the new major league baseball stadium in Steelton. Bright is against the new stadium although Marz thinks it will help revive the city. The victim of the grizzly murder is Jack Novak, the attorney known for getting drug pushers off, and Marz’ ex-lover. She is called to his murder scene and knows how he died. She finds herself involved in two different webs at once.

Fielding’s death involves her in the politics of the city in an area she would prefer to avoid for now. She has to investigate the baseball field workings and watch over how it is involved in the city politics. The current mayor claims the field will only benefit the city. Bright is sure it will hurt the city in the long run. This new complex is at the center of the mayoral race.

Novak’s death involves the drug trade in Steelton. Marz is also sure the local mob connections are related. She knows for certain that Novak had had dealings in the past with the head of the city’s mob. She suspects they are involved in his death as well.

The title fits this book – it is dark, sinister and compelling. I was certain from the beginning that somehow the deaths were probably tied together. Yet this tale goes in directions I never suspected. Marz finds out more about the people in Steelton than she really wanted to know. If she is not careful, she could lose her political aspirations and even her life. It is rough and gritty, graphic at times in language and vision. It is quite a read, one that I can recommend.

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