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Dark Lady Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345404785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345404787
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #850,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dashiell Hammett, a master of big city crime fiction, would have enjoyed Richard North Patterson's latest thriller, set in a fictional Midwestern city called Steelton. This burnt-out burg is located on the shores of Lake Erie--and is a place bitterly divided by politics. The construction of a $275 million baseball stadium threatens to be Steelton's downfall rather than its redemption.

Arthur Bright is the prosecutor of Erie County, but he wants to become mayor. His campaign attacks the new ballpark as a boondoggle, "a shameful diversion of public financing from such pressing needs as better schools, better housing, and safer streets." His protégé, Assistant County Prosecutor Stella Marz is 38, ambitious, and has been dubbed "the dark lady" by various defense lawyers. If Arthur wins the mayoral race, she intends to become prosecutor herself. But two murders involving drugs and twisted sex threaten her future.

First, Tommy Fielding, the project manager for Steelton 2000 (as the new home of the Steelton Blues will be called), is found dead in the company of a hooker--both apparently having overdosed on heroin. The fact that Fielding was gay and had never used drugs before bothers Stella and Chief Detective Nathaniel Dance. Their worries are soon pushed aside by another, more shocking murder--Jack Novak, a defense lawyer, is discovered hanging from his closet door, castrated and dressed in drag. Jack was once Stella's lover--and he was also one of Bright's largest contributors. For Stella, the murders are too close to home. "Maybe this is about me. But I have to see it through."

Dark Lady is shrouded by the dark clouds of deceit and greed, and the sleek structure of Steelton 2000 dominates the landscape like a Dr. Frankenstein's Castle with luxury boxes. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Patterson's signature style of crime suspense depends heavily on the terse descriptive passages he uses to render settings and characters. This makes his work adapt especially well to audio, since the listener is constantly being told exactly what's going onAin adjective-laden language that has modern-day colorings of film noir and Raymond Chandler. (Accordingly, all eight of Patterson's previous novels are also available from Random House AudioBooks). Stella Marz is a politically ambitious Assistant County Prosecutor in Steelton, an American rust-belt city plagued by unemployment, racial division and rampant local corruption. Young, beautiful and forthright, Stella has earned the nickname "Dark Lady" as a ruthless law-woman. But she meets her match when she's assigned to investigate the grisly murder of her own ex-lover, an attorney for the town's drug dealers. Along the way, plenty of sordid sexual and violent acts are detailed, making for a sustained mood of grimy titillation. Kalember's (of TV's Sisters and thirtysomething) reading is crisply enunciated and tactfully understated. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover. Also available unabridged and on CD. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

More About the Author

RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON is the author of The Spire, Eclipse and fourteen other bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. Formerly a trial lawyer, he was the SEC liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor and has served on the boards of several Washington advocacy groups. He lives in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.

Customer Reviews

Too much darkness; too little character.
S. Ladden
Richard North Patterson is my favorite author, and I always wait eagerly for his books, but this one didn't do much for me.
Jackie Tortorella
The characters are complex and well developed.
Robert C. Fuller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Coalpuss on January 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Like other reviewers, I was also disappointed with Richard North Patterson's "Dark Lady." When you can't be truly interested in the characters it is difficult to become involved in their lives. It took about half of the book for it to really get moving and even then it was too late, because we already knew what was going to happen. I personally am getting very tired of authors deciding to 'kill the cat' or the dog for that matter. I don't enjoy predictable books and this one didn't even begin to stretch my mind. I surely hope RNP will take some more time, if that's what it takes, to get back to his former stature. I did enjoy "No Safe Place" unlike the critics, but this one should not have been published, at least under his real name.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Cityview on November 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you've read one of Richard North Patterson's previous suspense/crime novels (among them, "Silent Witness," "Eyes of a Child," "Degree of Guilt"), you know him to be a first-rate storyteller. His law degree guarantees fine details of prosecution. His experience as a fictioneer shows that every time he asks himself "What if?" he comes up with a stunning new plot line. Patterson has special talent for terse and telling dialogue. As real-life crime becomes more bizarre, crime writers must dream up more complicated and grisly narratives. Patterson succeeds here, too. The setting of his new novel is the fictional city of Steelton. Stella Marz, the narrator and heroine, is a determined lady who works her way out of a turbid working-class background and through law school to become an assistant county prosecutor, head of the homicide unit. The "Dark Lady" of the title, she's an intriguing female who can hold her own in an all-male enclave. Jack Novak, Stella's onetime employer and former lover, is first introduced as a mutilated corpse dangling from his closet door. He's wearing a garter belt, stockings and high heels. Next, an officer in the development company building Steelton's stadium is found dead in bed from a heroin overdose. He's got a needle in his arm and a dead prostitute at his side. What's particularly horrifying is that victims' lives and reputations do not match their modes of death. Political corruption in Steelton and deceitful colleagues in the homicide unit make Stella's self-appointed task of solving the two murders a formidable challenge. Let the squeamish reader beware: Patterson's novels are always hypnotic, with in-your-face situations that make you blink. On the other hand, fans of psychological/suspense drama will relish the good read Patterson always provides.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dark Lady starts with a bang and never lets up. The crime is startling and complex,the legal atmosphere authentic. Patterson uses his trial lawyer's gifts to create a character in Stella Marz who seems to turn the pages by herself. Patterson again deals with real issues most writers shy away from. He never pulls his punches and Dark Lady is a knockout.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bill Garrison VINE VOICE on January 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Patterson has the unique ability to make the reader care about the chapter he is reading alone by itself. I found myself reading because I wanted to see what happened next, even though the climax wasn't for another 200 pages. Patterson makes the characters interesting and constantly reveals new info which makes each part of the book valuable. Unfortunately the deep mysteries or tragedies that haunt some of the characters turn out to be much more minor than one would expect.
This is a good story, although Patterson does like to write about twisted sex a lot.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Chaumette on April 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The title should be "Dark Novel." The characters are generally not likable, even the protagonist. For much of the book, you will say "Who cares?" At other times, you'll say "I don't believe that." I have not been a HUGE Patterson fan, but even I was surprised and how much I disliked this book. The plot line explaining the crimes makes some sense, but several of the details and the buildup will leave you shaking your head. Silent Witness is a better alternative.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By F. J. Harvey on January 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mr Patterson -a normally reliable and entertaining writer -has seemingly entered a period of persiflage and ponderousness if this novel is any guide as to his future literary development .A basically routine story of political intrigue and corruption is here larded over with excess of detail and a moralistic sententiousness that makes reading it a wearisome experience .

The eponymous heroine is Stella Marz , a prosecuting attorney in the fictitious town of Steelton ,once a prosperouus town founded on heavy industry ,now in recession and split on ethnic grounds .

When her ex lover ,Narcotics cop Jack Novack is found dead in bizarre circumstances suggestive of deviant sexual practices ,it seets in train a series of events that threaten to impact on the Majoral race and to potentially sabotage her chances of becoming City Prosecutor .The current ,white ,Major is Krajek whose grand regeneration scheme for the city encompasses a new baseball stadium and he is oppoosed by Stella's boss the balck Prosecutor Arthur Bright .The battle over the stadium project is the key to the book

and more killings are on the way before the book is over

The story is too thin to justify the 500 plus page length but it does have ,in Stella an interesting a complex heroine , one by no means wholly likeable .She is driven to seek out her roots within thje Polish community from which she sprang and this gives her a touch of humanity that she would otherwise lack

The portait of industrial decline and the inexorable split of the community between reacial groups is pessiimistic .

Please Mr Patterson -keep it shorter next time around .
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