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Notorious (A Melanie Vargas Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

Michele Martinez
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Constant Fear "firmly places [author] Palmer alongside the likes of Harlan Coben and Lisa Gardner." — The Providence Journal

Book Description

About to take a controversial rap star to trial for a past crime, Melanie Vargas receives an important piece of information from his lawyer. In full confidence, on the steps of New York City's federal courthouse, he tells her that his client may have had ties to a wanted fugitive. Moments later, a powerful car bomb blows the man to pieces, with Melanie only steps away.

As shocking as the murder is, it has other repercussions for Melanie. Her relationship with the victim wasn't strictly professional. While recovering from her breakup with FBI agent Dan O'Reilly, she had become attracted to the charismatic lawyer. But after his death she realizes that she knew very little about him—including the fact that he was married.

Determined to find the killer, Melanie enters a dangerous world of subterfuge and double-crosses, going as far as the glittering lights of Vegas to discover the truth. But the more she digs, the more she finds troubling about her friend. Several people had the motive to end his life.

Meanwhile, the rapper's defense has been taken over by the slickest shark in the business, a man of questionable morals who may have had previous unlawful dealings with his client. But the outcome of the case isn't the only thing on the line. As the sole witness to the murder, Melanie is in danger of losing her own life. And it isn't long before she realizes that she can't trust anybody, not even those closest to her.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The exciting fourth legal thriller from former federal prosecutor Martinez to feature Melanie Vargas (after 2007's Cover-up) starts with a bang: a car bomb detonated by a cellphone explodes outside the Manhattan federal courthouse and kills Lester Poe, a distinguished defense attorney who was opposing Melanie in her murder prosecution of rap legend Atari Briggs. Melanie, a workaholic single mom who was attracted to Poe, witnesses the horrific crime, which occurs moments after the defense attorney advised her that Briggs was willing to give the feds the goods on wanted terrorist Gamal Abdullah. This Pelican Brief–like opening, alas, isn't matched by the rest of the book, which takes a predictable course involving a transparently evil attorney who succeeds Poe in representing Briggs and a young female attorney with self-esteem issues who's tempted to compromise the Briggs prosecution. Martinez may yet hit the top rank of suspense novelists if she melds her engaging series sleuth with more sophisticated plot lines. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Michele Martinez, a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School, was a federal prosecutor in New York City for eight years. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 361 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (October 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0013TRQIQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,007,734 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melanie Vargas, NYC ADA, Is Marked For Death March 17, 2008
Michele Martinez is making her name in legal thrillers, and she's doing it by offering rapid-fire action, legal expertise, and solid characters that grow with every novel. NOTORIOUS is her fourth book, and it once again features her New York City assistant district attorney heroine, Melanie Vargas.

Before turning to a life of crime-writing, Michele Martinez also worked as a prosecuting attorney in New York City. Her cases involved narcotics, smuggling, and murder. When she writes about something, she puts in a lot of authenticity.

Melanie Vargas is a hard-working single mother with an ex who was a lousy husband but a great father to her two year old daughter. As of this novel, she's currently estranged from her FBI boyfriend Dan O'Reilly. I enjoy reading about her, getting to know her co-workers and family, and watching her struggle with emotional entanglements with those people as well as her cases. She's cleanly written and feels like a real person.

NOTORIOUS begins with a bang - literally. After Melanie talks to Lester Poe, the famous defense attorney she's presently bumping heads with while attempting to put his rapper client away, Poe's car gets blown to bits. Poe dies with it, and Melanie is deeply affected by his death. In just that small scene, Martinez won me over to the pursuit of vengeance/justice throughout the rest of the novel. I believed in Poe as a character as well, he was a lot like other attorneys I've gotten to meet. And I totally understood Melanie's need to ensure the world still made sense and the good guys could still win.

The action picks up intensity as the police and FBI get involved. The scenes (and chapters) are short and brisk and made the read both easy and pleasant as the pages turned and turned.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of suspense; fast moving October 29, 2008
The fourth Melanie Vargas novel written by Michele Martinez definitely has the "thriller" aspect of the legal thriller genre. Melanie witnesses a fellow lawyer killed by a car bomb in the first chapter. And then it starts to get really suspenseful.

This is not my favorite of the novels in this series. In part because I expected more from Ms. Martinez after writing 3 books. This is the second time in 4 books that an insider leaked information to the bad guys that gets a witness killed. It seemed to me there must be a way to write a legal thriller without having a traitor spilling information. And also for the second time in 4 books, an infatuated woman turned a blind eye to the guy she wants being a bad guy.

Speaking of bad guys, the ones in this book were so evil they were almost cariactures. Sometimes a little spark of humanity inside the evil makes them all the more scary. I also wish there had been more courtroom/legal stuff in the book to balance out the racing around doing investigation. I had a friend who was an AUSA in the same office where Melanie Vargas works and I don't recall her running around to crime scenes and chasing suspects so much.

Though it isn't my favorite of this series, it was a page turner as I got caught up in all the suspense. If you are new to the Melanie Vargas series, I recommend that you read at least the one before this (better yet, start with the first one) because things that happened in earlier books will help you understand a lot of Melanie's reactions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Notorious - Michele Martinez March 23, 2008
I'm a real Michele Martinez fan and thoroughly enjoyed her newest book
Notorious. I honestly thought that it should have her main character Melanie be a little more open to the idea of getting back with her old boyfriend. Thought she was WAY to harsh on him. Didn't feel real in that regard. But otherwise, a terrific plot and another good page turner!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exhilarating tense thriller March 6, 2008
Attorney Lester Poe meets with federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas at the Manhattan federal courthouse where he offers her a deal. His client legendary rapper Atari Briggs is on trial for a murder rap, but offers a DVD of big wig terrorist Gamal Abdullah using Atari's yacht to arrange a hundred million dollars a week Afghan heroin shipment to the CEOs of the major American illegal drug empires; their payments would go to support the Taliban.. Moments after their meeting and arranging a post trial date, a car bomb explodes killing Lester in front of Melanie's horrified eyes.

Single mom, Melanie knows the explosive image is imprinted on her brain forever especially the man with the "prop" dog who used a cell phone to ignite the bomb. However, by stepping up Melanie exposes herself as a witness that the assassin must take out. Sleazy Evan Diamond takes over the defense insisting he knows nothing about a deal to hand over Abdullah. Melanie knows that Diamond is pulling stunts, but is more worried that the killer will come for her daughter, her witnesses against Briggs, and ultimately her.

This exhilarating tale starts off with an explosive opening scene and never slows down whether the plot is in the courtroom (legal thriller) or involving the terrorists (investigative thriller). Melanie is terrific as is the support cast especially a female judge and Susan another prosecutor. Although the storyline is thin, fans will enjoy Melanie's efforts to keep her and others alive and should bring in new fans for Michele Martinez.

Harriet Klausner
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars great series
i would highly recommend reading all the books by this author. she writes a great series about a female prosecutor. great suspense, thriller and romance.
Published on July 14, 2012 by carolyn keene
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfectly paced plot and a satisfying, if ironic, ending
There are a multitude of reasons why you should read NOTORIOUS by Michele Martinez. A fast-paced experience? Check. Believable good guys? Check. Read more
Published on June 9, 2010 by Bookreporter
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read for mystery and suspense fans
This is a good and enjoyable read. A female lawyer ready to prosecute a man finds out that the man may have ties to a fugitive. The man is blown up right in front of her. Read more
Published on May 8, 2010 by J. Robert Ewbank
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
This book was great, it was given to me by a co-worker, and I loved it. I had to get Michele Martinez's other books!
Published on April 26, 2009 by Denise C. Whelan
From start to finish this book managed to keep me in suspense. Michelle Martinez is a fabulous mystery writer she has become one of my favorites.
Published on April 7, 2009 by Adrienne Lopez
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Legal thriller
Notorious is an entertaining legal-centered mystery focusing on prosecuting attorney Melanie Vargas. Read more
Published on March 5, 2009 by Stefan Yates
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hard Trial
Melanie Vargas makes her fourth appearance in this novel, this time as the chief assistant in her role as an U.S. Assistant Attorney in New York City. Read more
Published on March 13, 2008 by Ted Feit
2.0 out of 5 stars Not like the other three
I was disappointed. After waiting a year I think Martinez fell short by leaving out the sexual tension between her and Dan O'Reilly. Read more
Published on March 8, 2008 by Angelina V. Monaco
5.0 out of 5 stars Deputy Chief Melanie is Back!
I was so happy when I found out the 4th Installment in Michelle Martinez's series about a Federal prosecutor was being published. Read more
Published on March 1, 2008 by Linda Holman
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