As the holidays are quickly approaching, U.S. federal
prosecutor Melanie Vargas has grand expectations. Despite
her recent separation and pending divorce from her
unfaithful husband, Steve, Melanie is determined to make
her daughter's first Christmas alone memorable at any
cost. Melanie is all too familiar with the melancholy
feelings surrounding a holiday when a parent isn't
present. It's not easy to erase the depressing memories of
the holidays she spent without her dad, even though he
left her mom and sister and moved back to Puerto Rico to
start a new life. Melanie is willing to put aside her
anger and resentment so that Maya at least gets to spend
some time with both of her parents, even if it means
spending Christmas morning with her two-timing husband.
When a late-night phone call from her boss, the chief of
the Major Crimes Unit of the New York City U.S. Attorney's
Office, throws Melanie into a high profile murder case,
she realizes that her picture perfect Christmas is just
going to have to be yet another one of her holiday dreams.
Two teenage girls from the Holbrooke Academy, an elite
private girls' school in Manhattan, are found dead in a
penthouse apartment on Park Avenue. To make matters
worse, the step-father of one of the victims decides to
take the law in his hands and evaluate the crime scene
himself before alerting the authorities. It just so
happens that he, James Seward, is running for a seat in
the Senate. Trying to deflect any negative publicity, he
sets the investigation in motion on his own terms. As
Melanie enters the crime scene, her gut instincts kick
into overdrive. She is well aware that this is not going
to be an open and shut case. It's going to take
everything she's got to solve this bizarre murder.
As if she didn't have enough on her plate as it is, the
F.B.I. agent assigned to help her just so happens to be
the alluring, sexy Dan O'Reilly. The same man she promised
herself she would not get involved with although she was
having a difficult time convincing herself of exactly how
she was going to do that. Being with him day in and day
out would present many opportunities to take advantage of
their close proximity. What was she thinking? This case
could make her career and with her imminent divorce on the
horizon, she needed every penny that she could earn.
Michele Martinez is no stranger to the crime world. A New
York City federal prosecutor for almost a decade, she
brings her brutal real life experiences to her writing.
From her accurate descriptions of the crime scenes to her
impeccable plot development skills, her characters come
alive on the pages as the story unfolds. Her attention to
detail leaves nothing to the imagination and makes the
reader feels as if she is right there involved in the
case, especially with her use of police terminology and
jargon. C.S.I. has nothing on Michele Martinez. Brutally
honest and addictive! THE FINISHING SCHOOL is a powerful
novel that hits the mark.
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.