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Likely to Die

Likely to Die

A Novel

  • reading group guide
The real-life work of sex-crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein brought "riveting authenticity" (Vanity Fair) to her bestselling debut novel, Final Jeopardy. Now Fairstein's fictional counterpart -- smart and savvy assistant D.A. Alexandra Cooper -- returns in "[a] Grisham-esque page turner" (Time) that puts Alex in the line of fire.
New York City's oldest and largest medical center is the scene of a ghastly attack: top neurosurgeon Gemma Dogen is found in her blood-soaked office, where she has been sexually assaulted, stabbed, and designated by the cops as a "likely to die." By the time Alex has plunged into the case, it's a high-profile, media-infested murder investigation with a growing list of suspects from among those who roam the hospital's labyrinthine halls. As Alex's passion to find the killer intensifies, she discovers this hospital is not a place of healing but of deadly peril -- and that she is the next target for lethal violence.
A high-style thriller that sweeps from Manhattan to London to Martha's Vineyard, Likely to Die is an exhilarating tale from a justice system insider and provocative novelist.
  • Pocket Books | 
  • 448 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743490214 | 
  • September 1998
List Price $1.99

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The answering machine kicked in a fourth irritating echo from the insistent caller. I listened to my recorded voice announce that I was not available to come to the phone right now, as little hammers pounded furiously inside my head. The last Dewar's of the evening had been unnecessary.

I cocked an eye to glance at the illuminated dial glowing an eerie shade of green in the still dark room. It read 5:38 A.M.

"If you're screening, Coop, pick it up. C'mon, kid."

I was unmoved, and mercifully not on duty this morning.

"It's early and it's cold, but don't leave me dangling at the end of the only working... see more

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Reading Group Guide

Likely To Die
Linda Fairstein

Questions and Topics For Discussion

1. In what ways are Alex and the murdered doctor, Gemma Dogen, alike or dislike? Given their outward similarities, do you think that Gemma’s death has any special resonance for Alex?

2. Although this story is fictional, it reveals some pretty unsettling things about the security of big-city hospitals. Did the novel change how you think about this world?

3. What connections does Alex have to the world of medicine? Do these connections influence the way that she pursues this case?

4. How would you describe Alex and Mike Chapman’s relationship? What makes them such a great duo? This story places them in especially close proximity while they are in England. Why do you think their relationship remains platonic? Do you find yourself rooting for them to get together?

5. There’s a lot we learn in this novel—from the changes in rape laws over the last twenty-five years to the kinds of women that make the best jurors in date rape trials. How does learning about the law and the way that crimes are prosecuted affect your reading of the story?

6. On the surface, Alex seems like the kind of person who would enjoy letting off steam with a sport like kick boxing, but instead she is drawn to the world of ballet. What makes ballet so appealing to her? Is it a good fit for her character?

7. At one point in the story, Chapman comm see more

About the Author

Linda Fairstein
Photo Credit:

Linda Fairstein

LINDA FAIRSTEIN, America's foremost legal expert on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, led the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney's Office in Manhattan for twenty-five years. A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, she is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her first novel, Final Jeopardy, introduced the critically acclaimed character of Alexandra Cooper and was made into an ABC Movie of the Week starring Dana Delaney. The celebrated series has gone on to include the New York Times bestsellers Likely to Die, Cold Hit, The Deadhouse (winner of the Nero Wolfe Award for Best Crime Novel of 2001, and chosen as a "Best Book of 2001" by both The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times), The Bone Vault, The Kills, Entombed, Death Dance, and Bad Blood. Her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her nonfiction book, Sexual Violence, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She lives with her husband in Manhattan and on Martha's Vineyard.

Visit her website at www.lindafairstein.com.

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