THE FINISHING SCHOOL
A late-night call from her boss summons federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas to a posh penthouse high above Park Avenue, where Whitney Seward and Brianna Meyers, students at an exclusive Manhattan private school, lie dead under suspicious circumstances. The deaths show all the telltale signs of being heroin overdoses, and Whitney’s influential stepfather James, a wealthy U.S. Senate candidate, demands that the feds track down the drug supplier fast and make an example of whoever it is. Melanie is given the order to do just that, but she quickly comes to believe that the girls?deaths aren’t at all what they seem. The crime scene appears oddly staged, and Carmen Reyes, a studious classmate who was with the two dead girls earlier that night, has disappeared and may have been kidnapped. Suspects soon range from James Seward himself, to a charismatic and corrupt nightclub owner one of the girls knew, to the devious and scheming headmistress of the fancy girls?school itself.
Sexy FBI Agent Dan O’Reilly, who set Melanie’s pulse to racing in Most Wanted, is assigned to work the case alongside her. Dan is a third-generation cop with flawless instincts, and he immediately sees the case Melanie’s way. But things aren’t quite as smooth between them outside of work. Melanie -- on the verge of divorce from cheating husband Steve and struggling to raise baby daughter Maya alone -- has never recovered from her intense, almost-love-affair with Dan. She continues to struggle with a powerful attraction to him, and it eventually boils over.
Meanwhile, the case hurtles forward with breathtaking speed. Breaking all the rules, Melanie goes undercover on a hunt that takes her into the deepest recesses of New York City’s lurid nightlife, then to the beaches and rain forests of Puerto Rico where she confronts not only grave danger but bitter truths from her own past. As The Finishing School races toward its stunning conclusion, Melanie finds herself in a struggle for her life with a clever and devious killer who has no intention of getting caught.
The second in the critically acclaimed Melanie Vargas series of thrillers, The Finishing School is a riveting mix of grit and glamour, romance and suspense, danger and passion. Don’t miss it!
PRAISE FOR THE FINISHING SCHOOL
"[The] second Melanie Vargas thriller hits the spot . . . [A] suspense-filled ride." -- New York Daily News
"Even better than [Most Wanted], and will likely bring this rising literary star's work to a wider audience." -- Chicago Sun-Times
"In her second novel [The Finishing School], author Michele Martinez wastes little time proving that the high standards she set in Most Wanted were not just beginner's luck. . . . [S]he skillfully delivers a gripping story with a muscular plot and fully realized characters. Martinez goes to the head of the class with The Finishing School." -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Most Wanted was a refreshing entry into the crowded mystery genre. [Martinez's] new novel, The Finishing School, is equally smart and gritty."
-- USA Today
Named a "Notable Pick" for January by the American Booksellers Association.
“Sexy, savvy Melanie Vargas is back in The Finishing School, bringing her prosecutorial panache to a deadly crime scene, loaded with suspense and fast-paced action that will have you turning pages late into the night. It’s an exciting thriller from an author who knows the mean streets and delivers a worthy sequel to her strong debut in Most Wanted.?
-- Linda Fairstein
“Michele Martinez brings a fast-paced, fresh, Latin-spiced voice to the suspense line-up. Melanie Vargas is everything I love in a suspense heroine -- smart and ambitious, openly caring and secretly vulnerable, and determined for justice to win out in the end.?
-- Tami Hoag
“[G]ripping . . . . [Michele Martinez] draws from her own background as a lawyer and special prosecutor with years of experience in drug cases to raise this well above the common run of suspense novels.?
-- Publishers Weekly
“The romance is hot and the suspense high in this absorbing, fast-paced thriller. Highly recommended.?
-- Library Journal (starred review)
"Michele Martinez, in the short space of two novels, has become one of my favorite thriller writers, and her protagonist, federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas, one of my favorite characters. This was not entirely unexpected; Martinez's first novel, Most Wanted, was an extremely impressive debut by any standard. She
fulfills and surpasses the promise of that work with The Finishing School . . . . This is an absorbing work, one that by turns will keep you reading furiously and absorbing carefully. . . . Highly recommended." -- Joe Hartlaub, BookReporter.com
"The characters are all vibrant and memorable, especially [Martinez's] engaging, clever heroine, and the romantic subplot is fun and spicy." -- Romantic Times Magazine (Top Pick)
"Excellent . . . . Take a top-drawer episode of Law & Order, mix in a
little Sex and the City and garnish with some Carl Hiaasen, and you'll
see why Martinez is considered an up-and-comer in the mystery biz."
-- Justice Magazine
"If you're a Tess Gerritsen fan, you'll love Michele Martinez. This series is action-packed, intelligent, and often funny, and it's destined for great success. No doubt about it." -- The Kingston Observer
“[N]ever stops throwing colorful subplots at you and never lets up the pace.?
-- Kirkus Reviews
“Martinez generates plenty of suspense while painting a vivid picture of Manhattan life and exposing the underbelly of an elite prep school. . . . [An] intoxicating brew.?
"Move over John Grisham . . . [Martinez] returns with a page-turning follow-up to her breakout novel, Most Wanted." -- Latina Magazine
"The strength of this story lies in Melanie herself, independent and so completely human that rooting for her success in conquering love and crime comes easy. Add to that some breathless suspense, a story with plenty of twists and turns, and you have one hell of a fine read to keep you going through a cold winter's night." -- NewMysteryReader.com
"Fast-paced, engaging and suspenseful." -- TheMysteryReader.com
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Published by Harper
February 2007 | Mystery | 448 pages
Paperback | $7.99US | ISBN: 0-060-72401-3
Published by William
January 2006 | Mystery | 304 pages
Hardcover | $23.95US | ISBN: 0-060-72400-5