Picks and Pans Review: Entombed

UPDATED 02/14/2005 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/14/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

By Linda Fairstein

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Cross fiction's greatest female sleuth with TV's grittier Law and Order spinoff to get the gist of Fairstein's bestselling Alexandra Cooper novels—Nancy Drew meets SVU. In the latest, Cooper, a spirited Manhattan assistant district attorney in charge of sex crimes, joins two detective pals to solve potentially intersecting mysteries. One involves a serial rapist who has returned to the Upper East Side after a four-year hiatus; the other, a young woman buried alive over 25 years earlier in a Greenwich Village brownstone. Shades of Edgar Allan Poe? You bet. Mentions of the 19th-century writer abound, and several of his stories are the inspiration for the second, more intriguing crime. Marred only by a few over-the-top characters, including a pretentious Poe scholar, the narrative moves briskly toward a satisfying conclusion. In fact Fairstein, a former Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor, leaves only one question unanswered: Who pays for the pricey late-night meals that public servant Cooper shares with her gumshoe colleagues?

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