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The Finishing School Lp [Large Print] [Paperback]

Michele Martinez
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

March 14 2007

Michele Martinez, author of the critically acclaimed Most Wanted, which USA Today called "a breakout," brings back savvy, sexy federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas in a new case that pits her against a very clever, very scary killer

In a glittering penthouse high above Park Avenue, two beautiful teenagers, students at an exclusive Manhattan girls' school, lie dead under suspicious circumstances. Feeling pressure from the top to solve the high-profile case fast, Melanie breaks all the rules and goes undercover. Teamed with Dan O'Reilly, a hard-to-resist FBI agent with a talent for making her pulse race, Melanie embarks on a wild chase from the rarefied world of New York's elite private schools to the darkest recesses of the city's nightlife. And, ultimately, into a fight for her life against a devious killer who has no intention of getting caught.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Martinez's gripping second thriller (after 2005's Most Wanted), New York federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas is summoned at two in the morning a week before Christmas to a sadly bizarre death scene on Park Avenue. The teenage stepdaughter of Wall Street mogul and would-be U.S. senator James Seward has died of a heroin overdose, along with a fellow student at a posh East Side girls' school. Melanie soon finds herself up to her neck in politics: Seward's first call on discovering the bodies is to the police commissioner, not 911, and the agent in charge of the case is from the Elite Narcotics Task Force, which her boss is trying to impress. As the various agencies involved fight for turf and power, it's largely up to Melanie to find out what really happened to the two dead girls. The author 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

After hitting the ground running with her debut, Most Wanted (2005), Martinez doesn't slow down a bit in this successor. Sexy Latina prosecutor Melanie Vargas is back, clawing her way up the career ladder as an ambitious New York City prosecutor while at the same time yearning to spend quality time with her young daughter, Maya. When two teenage girls, students at ultraposh Miss Holbrooke's School, are found dead in a Park Avenue apartment, Melanie is assigned to the case--along with her former heartthrob, FBI agent Dan O'Reilly. Melanie begins closely investigating the school and everyone in it, much to the dismay of the administration. When it's discovered that the girls overdosed on heroine that they may have been transporting in their stomachs, Melanie realizes they're dealing with a highly dangerous situation. Martinez generates plenty of suspense while painting a vivid picture of Manhattan life and exposing the underbelly of an elite prep school. Melanie's fiery love scenes with Dan add heady romance to an already intoxicating brew. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Both beautiful and tough, federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas grew up in Manhattan. This is her town. The neighborhood in which she spent her youth was rough, yet nothing prepared her for what she would find when she goes undercover to track a cunning murderer.
It all begins when her pager goes off at 2:00 a.m. She picks up to hear orders from her boss, Bernadette DeFelice, chief of the Major Crimes Unit of the New York City U.S. Attorney's Office. This is a woman who gives Melanie "agita under the best of circumstances." Agita is mild for what is soon to come.
Two very wealthy girls have been found dead in the Park Avenue apartment of James Seward, a Wall Street dynamo who is running for the Senate. One of the dead is Seward's stepdaughter, the other a classmate from an exclusive school. It's the week before Christmas, and it looks like the girls have OD'd on heroin. Melanie's orders are to find the drug supplier immediately and not to mess with Seward who has many friends in high places.
Add to the mix Carmen Reyes, the building superintendent's daughter who is missing. Seward is all too eager to name her as the supplier. Melanie isn't buying all of this but she's going to have to risk her life in order to prove it.
Of course, there's romance in the handsome hunk form of FBI agent Dan O'Reilly.
Martinez peoples her story with chilling characters, especially Jay Esposito, a night club mogul who "gave off criminal charisma like musk."
Broadway and television actress Anne Twomey delivers a stellar voice performance, perfectly capturing the danger Melanie faces and the desire she feels for Dan.
- Gail Cooke
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, edgy suspense and smoldering romance Jan. 21 2006
By N. Larrabee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Melanie Vargas struggles with the demands of being a single mother and a federal prosecutor. She gets a call one morning at 2 a.m. that two girls attending a swanky girl's school in Manhattan, have died from apparent drug overdoses. Melanie is relentless in her dogged pursuit of the myriad of details pertaining to this case. A third girl remains missing and Melanie does not want to give up on her. The cast of supporting characters in this novel are intriguing and deserve your full attention. FBI agent Dan O'Reilly is back on the case, and does not want to give up on Melanie. They have electrifying chemistry when they are together. A guaranteed page turner!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STELLAR VOICE PERFORMANCE CAPTURING BOTH DANGER AND DESIRE Jan. 15 2006
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Both beautiful and tough, federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas grew up in Manhattan. This is her town. The neighborhood in which she spent her youth was rough, yet nothing prepared her for what she would find when she goes undercover to track a cunning murderer.

It all begins when her pager goes off at 2:00 a.m. She picks up to hear orders from her boss, Bernadette DeFelice, chief of the Major Crimes Unit of the New York City U.S. Attorney's Office. This is a woman who gives Melanie "agita under the best of circumstances." Agita is mild for what is soon to come.

Two very wealthy girls have been found dead in the Park Avenue apartment of James Seward, a Wall Street dynamo who is running for the Senate. One of the dead is Seward's stepdaughter, the other a classmate from an exclusive school. It's the week before Christmas, and it looks like the girls have OD'd on heroin. Melanie's orders are to find the drug supplier immediately and not to mess with Seward who has many friends in high places.

Add to the mix Carmen Reyes, the building superintendent's daughter who is missing. Seward is all too eager to name her as the supplier. Melanie isn't buying all of this but she's going to have to risk her life in order to prove it.

Of course, there's romance in the handsome hunk form of FBI agent Dan O'Reilly.

Martinez peoples her story with chilling characters, especially Jay Esposito, a night club mogul who "gave off criminal charisma like musk."

Broadway and television actress Anne Twomey delivers a stellar voice performance, perfectly capturing the danger Melanie faces and the desire she feels for Dan.

- Gail Cooke
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mystery and suspence Feb. 24 2006
By William Spalter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What is unique about this book is its authenticity. Nothing is contrived and everything is well researched. A finely written mystery.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing work that surpasses the promise of MOST WANTED Feb. 10 2006
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A funny thing happened to me on the way to the bookshelf. 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, her sophomore effort.

I had a very minor quibble with MOST WANTED; federal prosecutors, for the most part, don't get as, uh, actively involved in their cases as Vargas seems to be. I of course understand why she does, within the context of a thriller novel. Who, after all, is going to read a book about someone who spends most of their days reading exhibits, turning pages, and trying not to upset stacks of files on their desk? In a book the federal prosecutor is going to be out hitting the street, fighting crime, kicking rear and taking names. It's the type of situation that creates the need for suspension of disbelief.

This is the reason that I fell in love with THE FINISHING SCHOOL (and in lust with Vargas). A few pages into the novel, Vargas's supervisor (the wonderfully and terminally oppressive Bernadette DeFelice) admonishes Vargas about getting "overly involved" in her investigations. Martinez's nod and wink to the foible of the genre is at once endearing and a hint of what is to come. "Overly involved" indeed. In more ways than one.

The finishing school of the title is Miss Holbrooke's School, a sprawling private institute of primary and secondary education for women. In the midst of a school fundraising drive, two teenaged students (one of them a Senator's daughter) are found dead as the result of apparent drug overdoses, and a third is missing. The investigation reveals that one of the students has been leading a tawdry double life, one that has led her into dangerous associations, including contact with New York's underground club scene. At the same time, the paths of the dead girls and their missing classmate lead back to the school and indirectly to the office of the school's headmistress, who has some secrets and an agenda of her own.

Meanwhile, Vargas's investigation brings her into contact with some colorful and dangerous characters, and also forces her to renew old acquaintances with Dan O'Reilly, last seen in MOST WANTED. The promising relationship between O'Reilly and Vargas has ended --- or has it? Apparently Vargas didn't feel that she had time for a relationship, given the responsibilities of single motherhood and her job. Martinez, by the way, pays remarkable attention to detail in every facet of THE FINISHING SCHOOL, and her accounts of Vargas's childcare difficulties --- including the wardrobe emergencies that came with them --- are a first-rate touch.

There is also a moment --- a very small moment --- near the end of the novel involving a paper clip. It is only a transitory scene, but it is absolutely perfect and ultimately essential in maintaining the illusion of reality that Martinez has created. With only two novels under her belt, she has mastered the ability to render intimate moments softly erotic without sacrificing either passion or elegance. Gentlemen, if you are puzzled by the question of what women like, and want, I would submit that the answer is contained within the pages of THE FINISHING SCHOOL.

This is an absorbing work, one that by turns will keep you reading furiously and absorbing carefully. And Vargas, exuding class as she does, is far more than a one-night literary stand. You'll want her back again and again. Highly recommended.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Should really be 4. 5 stars!! April 12 2006
By carolyn keene - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The finishing school was a wonderful read. Melanie is a very interesting and lovable character and i sincerely hope michelle martinez keeps continuing on with this new series! The finishing school has great characteriziation, lots of interesting things going on, and the mystery was a real whodonit in some aspect. I thought that i knew who the culprit was but i actually i didn't. The mystery is not as simple as one would think. Its a great read, highly recommended, although i would read Most Wanted first just to learn more about melanie!
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