A feisty female federal prosecutor pursues the brutal killer of a beautiful muckraking television journalist while at the same time balancing her growing feelings for a hunky FBI agent.
Melanie Vargas (Most Wanted, 2005, etc.) tags along with ruggedly handsome agent and lover Dan O’Reilly to the scene of a bloody rape/murder in Central Park, and before you can say “DNA,” Vargas lands in the middle of the slaying of Suzanne Shepard. Shepard, a hard-hitting tabloid-TV journalist who specialized in exposing the misdeeds of the rich and famous, died at the hands of a killer the press quickly brands the “Central Park Butcher.” In an unlikely plot twist, the FBI and NYPD encourage Vargas to head the investigation. Soon she identifies the homicide’s only known witness—attorney David Harris. But Harris, who has secrets of his own, isn’t eager to talk to Vargas or the cops. The investigation also focuses on three very different suspects, any of whom might be the killer: the ambitious Clyde Williams, a powerful city official with his eye on the mayor’s mansion, who knows a scandal would derail his campaign; Miles Ortiz, a streetwise personal trainer specializing in keeping his rich clients happy—especially the gorgeous Kim Savitt; and Benedict Welch, a plastic surgeon with some dark habits and big skeletons in his closet. But the probe gets personal when the Butcher casts his eye in Vargas’s direction and turns the hunter into the hunted. Stalked by the killer and confused by her lover’s apparent duplicity, Vargas finds herself in a deadly trap when the pieces to Shepard’s killing finally fall into place, and the case spins out of control, heading for a deadly confrontation and a breathless conclusion.
The dialogue is clunky in places and Vargas’s role in the case seems implausible, but this fast-paced, suspenseful chick-lit thriller combines sexy romance with enough action to keep readers engaged.