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Cover-up: A Novel of Suspense (Melanie Vargas) Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The brutal rape and murder of Suzanne Shepard, a scandal-mongering New York City TV journalist, provides a welcome high-profile case for Melanie Vargas in Martinez's stellar third thriller to feature the sharp and sexy federal prosecutor (after The Finishing School). Melanie accompanies her boyfriend, FBI agent Dan O'Reilly, to the grisly crime scene in Central Park, where someone, later dubbed the Central Park Butcher, has carved "bitch" into the victim's stomach with a hunting knife. In the ensuing joint state-federal investigation, Dan, Melanie and NYPD detective Julian Hay pursue a number of slippery suspects, including a well-known politician who the media claim is getting special treatment. Then Melanie starts receiving threatening e-mails. Could it be the same guy who stalked Shepard, or a celebrity cosmetic surgeon, a fitness trainer who also deals drugs, or a suspicious witness? Martinez, herself a former federal prosecutor, supplies plenty of insider savvy as she juggles the large cast with élan. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

What tough, streetwise federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas wants more than anything--well, almost anything--is a break from high-profile cases. What she gets instead is a dead television reporter, a shady Park Avenue doctor, and an anonymous e-mail stalker who seems very determined to get Melanie off the case. Oh, and her relationship with FBI agent Dan O'Reilly is heating up, but can she find a few moments in her busy schedule for love? Author Martinez, a former federal prosecutor, handles the mystery elements of the novel very well, although some readers might find the romance subplot more than a little clumsy, feeling almost tacked on. But the novel's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses, and the success of the first two volumes in the series--Most Wanted (2005) and The Finishing School (2006)--ensures that fans will want to check this one out. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Melanie Vargas
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060899018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060899011
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,997,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've read her first two books and like the smart mom lawyer angle, like the personal life angst, like the plots. But this novel in particular had cliche-ish prose and dialog. I tried to forgive the prose/dialog as I read along and agreed with the sentiment trying to be expressed, but made the whole reading experience feel cheap.
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Format: Hardcover
If you watch any of the versions of Law and Order that are continually running on one cable channel or another, the local police are quickly pulled into the case following an accidental discovery of a crime. The police lead the way for 20-30 minutes and then the prosecutors start to take over. By the end, we only see cameos of the police as they make brief testimonies and look for last minute evidence. Occasionally, a high-profile crime involves the federal authorities who do their best to oust the local prosecutors and cops. The federal authorities seem to have their own agendas.

Cover-Up is quite a change from that tried-and-true formula. As the story opens, federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas has taking her FBI boyfriend, Dan O'Reilly, out for dinner to celebrate his birthday. Before the evening ends, he's summoned to the crime scene and invites Melanie along. When the local prosecutor can't take the violence at the horrific scene, Melanie finds herself the woman on the stop and is soon handling the press. But the crime scene makes no sense. Why would top investigative reporter, Suzanne Shepard, be out in a part of Central Park known for gay rendezvous in a rainstorm? What's the reason for the extreme violence perpetrated against her? Someone has a grudge, but that's true of everyone she's ever reported on.

The case soon takes on political overtones when the father of one of Melanie's fellow prosecutors is linked to Shepard by a threatening package. Melanie's boss is about to get married and can't be bothered to run proper interference and Melanie is accused of running a cover-up.

In the middle of all this, Melanie acquires a stalker who likes to send threatening e-mails.
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Format: Hardcover
Michele Martinez initiates a very subtle change of direction in COVER-UP, her third Melanie Vargas novel. MOST WANTED and THE FINISHING SCHOOL, the first two books in the series, introduced not only Vargas but also a plethora of secondary characters that included several members of Vargas's personal family and circle of co-workers. In COVER-UP, Martinez moves a majority of the characters (Vargas's mother, sister and boss, among others) to the side --- if not off the board entirely --- giving a freshly-divorced Vargas and her blossoming relationship with Dan O'Reilly the opportunity to sparkle.

COVER-UP begins with Assistant U.S. District Attorney Vargas being pulled reluctantly into the lead of the investigation of the savage murder of Suzanne Shepard, a television reporter who has a high Q rating with the viewing public but receives low marks from her prospective targets. Vargas has no shortage of suspects, who range from a celebrity personal trainer to a Park Avenue nip/tuck surgeon to --- most significantly of all --- Clyde Williams, a New York City councilman with designs on the mayor chair who also happens to be the father of one of Vargas's best friends in the office. When Vargas does not immediately bring charges against Williams, Shepard's network screams cover-up, which does not help Vargas's investigation.

Meanwhile, FBI Agent O'Reilly is his usual competent self --- both on the job and between the sheets (functions that, as readers shall see, he sometimes performs simultaneously), though his increasingly frequent nighttime disappearances are giving Vargas pause. To make matters worse, it appears that the killer is now tracking Vargas to the extent that he knows her every move despite her own best efforts.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I would consider myself an "appreciator" of Michele Martinez because I have read 3 of her 4 books sequentially. "Most Wanted" had promise and "Finishing School" picked up from there. I would consider this book to be a step in the wrong direction. The book gets off to a quick start, but chapter after chapter you find yourself introduced to more characters who obviously are not "The Butcher" and after awhile it becomes a bit annoying to read page after page of "situations" without feeling that any real progress is being made.

I also sensed that in the attempt to make it more interesting and to add some twist and turns we are now being introduced to more characters than a John Grisham novel. There are US Marshalls, judges, DEA agents, FBI agents, etc. who are thrown in one after the other and it never really advances the story. The tension/suspense that was created in the first 4 chapters never really builds and I was actually let off the "tension" hook and never quite got back on.

I would give the book 3-stars for anyone who is following the "Melanie Vargas" series, but I couldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn't familiar with the story as I would recommend "Finishing School" which was a tighter package than "Cover-Up." I also agree with other reviewers that the conventional slang and terms that Ms. Martinez uses for her ethnic characters is still very contrived and many times stereotypical and outdated. However, it is MUCH better than it was in "Most Wanted."

For readers of the series check it out, for people who have are not familiar with the Melanie Vargas character, this wouldn't be the best intro for you.
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