Martinez enthralls with her first-rate first novel, which has sizzling romance and gripping suspense. A federal prosecutor in New York, Melanie Vargas hopes to land a big case, which she does one night when she follows sirens to a crime scene. Former federal prosecutor Jed Benson has been murdered in his home.

Since she's the first prosecutor at the scene, Melanie gets the case and must work with sexy, secretive FBI agent Dan O'Reilly. Melanie, meanwhile, is plagued by personal problems: She's separated from her philandering husband and her babysitter is threatening to quit.

And that's not all. When the only witnesses to Benson's murder find themselves in imminent danger, Melanie fears for her own safety, worried that an unknown assailant is following her.

Martinez's novel excels with its gritty realism, exploring everything from New York's drug wars to the dark side of its most esteemed law firms. Her very human characters are captivating and believable, especially when she highlights the budding attraction between Dan and Melanie. (Mar., 384 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick