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Most Wanted



On a muggy summer night, prosecutor Melanie Vargas takes her cranky baby daughter out for a stroll and stumbles across a brutal crime unfolding in her tranquil neighborhood on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Jed Benson, a wealthy, charismatic lawyer and former prosecutor in her office, has been viciously murdered in a gangland-style home invasion, his luxurious townhouse set ablaze to cover up the crime. It's just the sort of high-profile, headline-grabbing case Melanie thinks she needs -- to satisfy her demanding boss who's always on her case, and to take her mind off her handsome, successful husband, whom she's just thrown out after learning he was cheating on her. Melanie sends her baby home with a friend, marches into the horrific crime scene and walks out with the plum assignment.

But she quickly comes to regret her boldness. The case turns out to be much more complicated -- and dangerous -- than she'd ever imagined. Everyone around her is convinced Benson was murdered by gang members in retaliation for prosecuting their leader years earlier. But terrifying events begin to cast doubt on this theory. Witnesses are savagely murdered right after Melanie talks to them. Important evidence is stolen by an unseen intruder who chases Melanie through a deserted file room late at night. How could the street thugs suspected of killing Benson pull off these crimes, which required not only split-second timing, but inside information as well? Is the truth of Benson's death wrapped up in the sordid business scandal unfolding at his prestigious, white-shoe law firm? Does it lie at the door of his beautiful, calculating widow? Or does it strike even closer to home, implicating former colleagues of Benson's who are now part of Melanie's own team?

As she races to answer these questions before more witnesses die, Melanie struggles with her own complicated personal life. She fights a powerful attraction to the handsome FBI agent she works with, who may have secrets of his own. She's haunted by her difficult childhood in a tough Puerto Rican neighborhood. And in the midst of an impending divorce, she tries to be a good mommy to her adored baby daughter. But these difficulties soon give way to an even greater challenge. As she draws closer to the truth, the vicious killer ultimately trains his sights on her, and Melanie finds herself fighting to escape with her own life.

Most Wanted is the critically acclaimed debut in the Melanie Vargas series of thrillers.


Named one of the top fiction debuts of 2005 by Library Journal!

Named one of the "Top Mysteries of 2005" by leading mystery reviewer
Oline Cogdill of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel!

Nominated for Best Mystery of 2005 in the category of "first mystery" by
Romantic Times Magazine!

"Lightning-paced and suspenseful, sexy and fun, brimming with unforgettable characters -?Most Wanted is an absolute must read. Don't miss Michele Martinez, she's a dazzling storyteller who'll keep you up way past your bedtime." --Janet Evanovich

"Who but a former prosecutor could have created this bright and fearless heroine-in-peril? And I loved Martinez's edgy mix of New York City grit and glamour, set to a galloping can't-put-it-down tempo. Most Wanted is an utter page-turner." --Tess Gerritsen

"Martinez pairs a dedicated prosecutor with a street-wise cop in a city story of non-stop suspense. The pages turn in a blur! Edgy and fresh." --Iris Johansen

"Michele Martinez's Most Wanted is taut and crisp, as well-crafted a mystery as you'll read this year." --John Lescroart

"In her debut, Martinez joins Linda Fairstein in the ranks of prosecutors turned authors, bringing real-life detail and emotion to this thriller." --Library Journal

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"There is something for everyone in this story of a young prosecutor struggling to solve a brutal high-society murder -- evil, innocence, sex, romance, violence, adventure, mystery, and imagination.  An engrossing story." --Elaine Leider, Best of Times Bookstore/American Booksellers Association

"Michele Martinez, a former New York prosecutor turned author, skillfully shows the promise of an exciting series in this debut. Most Wanted succeeds as an intense legal thriller, a police procedural and a look at the treachery of the workplace, with a bit of romantic suspense added for good measure . . . Most Wanted should guarantee Martinez a long career in crime fiction." --Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Martinez enthralls with her first-rate first novel, which has sizzling romance and gripping suspense. . . [Most Wanted] excels with its gritty realism, exploring everything from New York's drug wars to the dark side of its most esteemed law firms." --Romantic Times Magazine (Top Pick)

"There are just enough unresolved issues revolving around [Melanie] Vargas at the conclusion of Most Wanted to have readers highly anticipating the next book in the series. Martinez's considerable storytelling abilities make such a book one to be welcomed. It should be noted that Martinez fought the good fight for several years, working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York City. Some of her experiences, anecdotal or otherwise, undoubtedly contributed to Most Wanted, making it an excellent debut novel. Recommended." --Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter.com

"Newcomer Michele Martinez, a former New York attorney, introduces Melanie Vargas, an ingenious and enterprising U.S. prosecutor, in this gripping legal thriller that will keep you reading long into the night." --Mystery Lovers Bookshop

"Fans of Mary Higgins Clark, in particular, will devour this." --Booklist

"[An] effervescent debut thriller . . . Martinez has crafted an enormously appealing heroine and a breezy, entertaining tale." --Publishers Weekly

"A book that can't be put down. This book is destined to be a movie. Definitely one that you must have." --Book Review Cafe

"A word of warning before starting Michele Martinez's debut novel -- clear your schedule and allot several hours to reading because once you start you will not want to stop." --Reviewing The Evidence

 "The suspense, to use a clich? is killer and wonderfully maintained up until the very end. Martinez’s book is not merely a suspense thriller in the conventional sense but also a character-driven thriller, such is the chaos and tension in their personal lives as well. With a fresh voice and perspective but with all the age-old skills of a masterful storyteller, Michele Martinez looks all set to blaze her way to glory with Most Wanted." --Curled Up

"The ending measures up to those of today’s best thrillers." --The Book Haven

"Most Wanted is the first novel from Michele Martinez. In it she has found the precise blend of 'nut and bolts' suspense and 'private life' intrigue. It is an amazingly good novel, even for a veteran writer, but for a novice, it is superb."
--Murder and Mayhem Bookclub


"Wow! This is a GREAT first novel. Right from the first page, I was spellbound. Thanks for a great tale that kept me highly interested start to finish."
--Barbara (Grants Pass, OR)

"Technically perfect, easy-to-read and truly believable, this author's first attempt at a novel is superb. From the first page, I was hooked and the action never let up. I WANT MORE!!" --Bonita (Phoenix, NY)

"Debut author Michele Martinez presents readers with a heart racing suspenseful novel . . . overflowing with twists and turns on every page."
--Wendy (Riverside, CA)

"Ms. Martinez crafts a terrifically twisting plot with a cast of characters that could only exist in NYC to create a fast-moving mystery that proves that one can start at the top. Absolutely brilliant!" --Dennis (Southport, NC)

"This book was fantastic! It kept me up all night finishing it . . . a great read."
--Lisa (Keizer, OR)

"Martinez is an excellent writer -- very graphic, very real. I hope to read more Melanie Vargas books in the future." --Courtney (Ashburn, VA)

"This book is 'suspense' from the first pages. I hated to put it down. Very well written. I look forward to her next book." --Barbara (Mount Wolf, PA)

"I loved this book! Melanie is a really fascinating and well-rounded character with human flaws that makes us empathize and care about her. Now the only thing left 'most wanted' is the sequel to this one!" --Anne (El Cajon, CA)

"I literally could not put this book down." --Susan (Austin, TX)

"Must read!! This book grabs the reader from the first couple of sentences. Could not put down. I would love to see this character in future books . . ."
--Sara (Sarasota, FL)

"Most Wanted is a fast-paced novel with an intricate plot that kept the pages turning. Michele Martinez demonstrated her knowledge of both the legal world and the investigation process in this riveting novel."
--Elizabeth (Washington, DC)

". . . a fabulous read, her style is smooth and the story grabs you from the first page . . . a fast paced story that will hold your attention and leave you wanting more. Ms. Martinez has the start of a series that will grab readers' attention and entertain for years to come." --Drue (Cookeville, TN)

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Publihsed by HarperTorch
December 2005 | Mystery | 416 pages
Paperback | $6.99US | ISBN: 0-060-72399-8

Published by William Morrow
February 2005 | Mystery | 384 pages
Hardcover | $23.95US | ISBN: 0-060-72398-X



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by Michele Martinez
author of Notorious,
Cover-Up, The Finishing School
, and Most Wanted

Copyright ?2004-2012 Michele Martinez
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