On a muggy summer night, prosecutor Melanie Vargas takes her cranky baby daughter out for a stroll and stumbles across a brutal crime unfolding in her tranquil neighborhood on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Jed Benson, a wealthy, charismatic lawyer and former prosecutor in her office, has been viciously murdered in a gangland-style home invasion, his luxurious townhouse set ablaze to cover up the crime. It's just the sort of high-profile, headline-grabbing case Melanie thinks she needs -- to satisfy her demanding boss who's always on her case, and to take her mind off her handsome, successful husband, whom she's just thrown out after learning he was cheating on her. Melanie sends her baby home with a friend, marches into the horrific crime scene and walks out with the plum assignment.
But she quickly comes to regret her boldness. The case turns out to be much more complicated -- and dangerous -- than she'd ever imagined. Everyone around her is convinced Benson was murdered by gang members in retaliation for prosecuting their leader years earlier. But terrifying events begin to cast doubt on this theory. Witnesses are savagely murdered right after Melanie talks to them. Important evidence is stolen by an unseen intruder who chases Melanie through a deserted file room late at night. How could the street thugs suspected of killing Benson pull off these crimes, which required not only split-second timing, but inside information as well? Is the truth of Benson's death wrapped up in the sordid business scandal unfolding at his prestigious, white-shoe law firm? Does it lie at the door of his beautiful, calculating widow? Or does it strike even closer to home, implicating former colleagues of Benson's who are now part of Melanie's own team?
As she races to answer these questions before more witnesses die, Melanie struggles with her own complicated personal life. She fights a powerful attraction to the handsome FBI agent she works with, who may have secrets of his own. She's haunted by her difficult childhood in a tough Puerto Rican neighborhood. And in the midst of an impending divorce, she tries to be a good mommy to her adored baby daughter. But these difficulties soon give way to an even greater challenge. As she draws closer to the truth, the vicious killer ultimately trains his sights on her, and Melanie finds herself fighting to escape with her own life.
Most Wanted is the critically acclaimed debut in the Melanie Vargas series of thrillers.