THE FINISHING SCHOOL by Michele Martinez


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A feisty Manhattan attorney struggles against drug thugs and a dangerous attraction to a hunky FBI agent.

In the middle of the night, federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas is called to a grim murder scene. Wealthy teen Whitney Seward’s been found dead of an overdose in her Park Avenue bedroom along with her best friend Brianna Meyers. Melanie suspects that Carmen Reyes, a third girl recently seen with them, may hold the key to the mystery. But she doesn’t know that studious Carmen, whose father Luis, the building’s superintendent, pressed her into Whitney’s fast crowd, is being held captive by an unidentified kidnapper. Headmistress Patricia Andover, at the exclusive school the three girls attended, offers full cooperation, but starchy lawyer Ted Siebert balks at every turn. Meanwhile, Patricia is secretly having an affair with Whitney’s stepfather James and is extorting money from the school to boot. Whitney’s alcoholic mother Caroline is often drunk and may have been home at the time of her daughter’s death. Brianna’s boyfriend Trevor eagerly goes undercover, to the discomfort of Melanie, who thinks he’s a loose cannon. If these and other crosscurrents make the case complex for Melanie, her personal life raises the bar. She’s recently separated from her philandering husband Steve and raising a baby daughter alone. The FBI assigns Dan O’Reilly, the agent Melanie nearly fell into bed with during a previous assignment (Most Wanted, 2005), whose clueless sidekick Bridget also seems to have the hots for him. When forensic evidence points to foul play, the investigating team, helped by Melanie’s sis Linda, a trendy entertainment reporter, gets access to Screen, the club where Whitney’s dealer hung out. The trail takes Melanie and company to Puerto Rico, leaving Trevor behind in mortal danger.

This chick-lit thriller lacks finesse but never stops throwing colorful subplots at you and never lets up the pace.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-072400-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2005


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