Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review: Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark - Book Club

Where Are You Now? A Novel by Mary Higgins Clark
Book Description: From America's Queen of Suspense comes a gripping tale of a young woman trying to unravel the mystery of a family tragedy -- a quest with terrifying repercussions.

It has been ten years since twenty-one-year-old Charles MacKenzie Jr. ("Mack") went missing. A Columbia University senior, about to graduate and already accepted at Duke University Law School, he walked out of his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side without a word to his college roommates and has never been seen again. However, he does make one ritual phone call to his mother every year: on Mother's Day. Each time, he assures her he is fine, refuses to answer her frantic questions, then hangs up. Even the death of his father, a corporate lawyer, in the tragedy of 9/11 does not bring him home or break the pattern of his calls.
Mack's sister, Carolyn, is now twenty-six, a law school graduate, and has just finished her clerkship for a civil court judge in Manhattan. She has endured two family tragedies, yet she realizes that she will never be able to have closure and get on with her life until she finds her brother. She resolves to discover what happened to Mack and why he has found it necessary to hide from them. So this year when Mack makes his annual Mother's Day call, Carolyn interrupts to announce her intention to track him down, no matter what it takes. The next morning after Mass, her uncle, Monsignor Devon MacKenzie, receives a scrawled message left in the collection basket: "Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me."
Mack's cryptic warning does nothing to deter his sister from taking up the search, despite the angry reaction of her mother, Olivia, and the polite disapproval of Elliott Wallace, Carolyn's honorary uncle, who is clearly in love with Olivia.
Carolyn's pursuit of the truth about Mack's disappearance swiftly plunges her into a world of unexpected danger and unanswered questions. What is the secret that Gus and Lil Kramer, the superintendents of the building in which Mack was living, have to hide? What do Mack's old roommates, the charismatic club owner Nick DeMarco and the cold and wealthy real estate tycoon Bruce Galbraith, know about Mack's disappearance? Is Nick connected to the disappearance of Leesey Andrews, who had last been seen in his trendy club? Can the police possibly believe that Mack is not only alive, but a serial killer, a shadowy predator of young women? Was Mack also guilty of the brutal murder of his drama teacher and the theft of his taped sessions with her?
Carolyn's passionate search for the truth about her brother -- and for her brother himself -- leads her into a deadly confrontation with someone close to her whose secret he cannot allow her to reveal.

About the Author: Mary Higgins Clark's fame as a writer was achieved against heavy odds. Born and raised in the Bronx, her father died when she was eleven and her mother struggled to raise her and her two brothers. On graduating from high school, she went to secretarial school, so she could get a job and help with the family finances. After three years of working in an advertising agency, travel fever seized her. For the year 1949, she was a stewardess on Pan American Airlines' international flights. "My run was Europe, Africa and Asia," she recalls. "I was in a revolution in Syria and on the last flight into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain went down. After flying for a year, she married a neighbor, Warren Clark, nine years her senior, whom she had known since she was 16. Soon after her marriage, she started writing short stories, finally selling her first to Extension Magazine in 1956 for $100.

Left a young widow by the death of her husband from a heart attack in 1964, Mary Higgins Clark went to work writing radio scripts and, in addition, decided to try her hand at writing books. Every morning, she got up at 5 AM and wrote until 7 AM, when she had to get her five children ready for school. Her very first book was a biographical novel about George Washington, inspired by a radio series she was writing, "Portrait of a Patriot." Originally published in 1969 by Meredith Press with the title Aspire to the Heavens, it was discovered years later by a Washington family member and re-issued in 2002 with the title, Mount Vernon Love Story.

Here's What I Think: This was my first experience with Mary Higgins Clark and I fully understand why the call her the "Queen of Suspense"! I literally did not know who it was until the last few pages of the book. I had figured out bits and pieces but not even remotely how the puzzle went together. I love the types of stories that make you pay attention, because even the slightest bit of information will solve the case. There were so many separate story-lines going on at the same time, without it seeming chaotic. At some point in the story I honestly thought it was just about every male in the book who was guilty, except for the one that actually did it!! Carolyn was written so beautifully, you want her to figure it out before it's too late. And I loved that she wasn't some love-sick puppy when it came to Nick. She was smart and strong and held it together. The twists and turns of this book are amazing. I will say that the epilogue does take the story to a bit to sugar-coated place, but it was a good way to wrap things up. The entire concept of the story is totally plausible making it all that more engaging. I am so happy that this book got selected for the September book club. And I will be sure to read more from Mary Higgins Clark - in fact I already ordered a three novel set from PBS!



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Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated to publish this post. I purchased this book myself.

1 comment:

  1. Yaaay, I am going to reread this one, I love MHC but can't remember them and definitely want to find my favourites.

    Come join my challenge, it just started Sept 1, ends next year Aug.

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