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Cover-Up    by Michele Martinez order for
by Michele Martinez
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas, mother of toddler Maya, is involved with FBI agent Dan O'Reilly. They're pulled away from a hot and heavy evening together by a call to a crime scene in New York's Central Park. The victim, celebrity scandalmonger and TV reporter Suzanne Shepard, has been raped and brutally slashed with a knife. Melanie and Dan work the case together.

Though they quickly track down the man who made the 911 call, his DNA doesn't match the killer's. What drew the victim to such a wild and dangerous spot as the Ramble and why was her apartment recently burgled and files stolen? Melanie looks into Shepard's current subjects of investigation, who include: a personal trainer who sells recreational drugs to his wealthy clients; Suzanne's own Park Avenue plastic surgeon, who uses products that aren't FDA-approved and gets touchy-feely with unconscious patients; and a powerful city councilman (and possible future mayor) who's involved in a sex scandal and whose son Joseph Williams is a friend and colleague of Melanie's. The media quickly latch on to the latter case, accusing her office of a cover-up.

Unfortunately, Melanie attracts attention in an early press conference and begins receiving disturbing e-mails from a secret admirer; could it be the Central Park Butcher himself? As the investigation progresses, the relationship between Melanie and Dan comes under stress - the death of his beloved father-in-law brings him back into his ex-wife's orbit, raising Melanie's hackles. There's a drug sting, the killer strikes again, the investigators uncover a connection to a decade-old LA murder, and the prosecutor offers herself as bait for the madman who's been following and emailing her. It all builds to a violent crescendo in a LaserMania outlet.

The fact that the author is herself a former federal prosecutor adds authenticity to the details of the well developed case, while Melanie's on again off again relationship with Dan spices it up. I look forward to more in this thrilling series.

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