Book Review: Where Are You Now?

Where Are You Now?Mary Higgins Clark

I have only been truly terrified once from reading a book. Granted, it's probably because I don't read books that I know will scare me. So why did I read that one? Well, it was by one of my favorite mystery/suspense novelists, Mary Higgins Clark. I had read most of her recent ones, so I decided to go back and read her earlier ones. Bad idea. It was A Cry in the Night and I would only recommend it to people who enjoy a good thriller.

All that to say, I have just finished Clark's most recent best-seller, Where Are You Now? and I must say, I was very satisfied. It was scary enough to make me jump when my dog barked into the silence while I read, but not so scary that I had nightmares afterwards. And it certainly was a page-turner. There were two nights in a row that I was up until 2 am, just unable to put the book down!

As with most of Clark's books, the story takes place in Manhattan and follows a 30-something single and professional woman trying to solve a murder. Following Clark's newest trend, it is in the first person of the main character, but then switches into third person as we follow the other story lines throughout the book. Additionally, the first person was written in present tense, and while it did convey a sense of urgency and excitement (which I'm sure was her intent), I found it slightly confusing, especially as she switched between that and past-tense third person. After reading the first few chapters, however, I soon became used to it and settled down for a good read.

Carolyn MacKenzie, a 30-something lawyer living in Manhattan, has finally come to wit's end with her brother, Mack. Mack walked out on his life 10 years previously and was never heard from again. Except, that is, on Mother's Day, when he calls his mother to assure her that he is OK and happy. Carolyn has watched her family fall apart as, year after year, Mack doesn't come home. So this Mother's Day, she vows to Mack that she will find him and make him pay. As Carolyn seeks to find out the truth, there are disappearances around Manhattan and she inadvertently leads the police to believe that Mack is the kidnapper for whom they are searching. Even though she strives to prove that Mack is innocent, she finds herself doubting that to be the case. Soon, however, Carolyn realizes her own life is in danger and she has to rely on the clues she has dug up along the way to save herself and others.

Mary Higgins Clark knows how to plant suspicion in her readers' minds for first one character then another. Early in the book, I found myself saying "Oh, I've figured it out", thinking, you know, that I'm extra-smart and she can't fool me. Several chapters later, I realized that was exactly what she wanted me to believe! I must admit to this having happened more than once through the book, and the ending gave me a thoroughly satisfying surprise.

I believe Where Are You Now? helped to break Mary Higgins Clark's recent formulaic whodunit pattern, and as I said, kept me guessing until the very end. Other than the slight confusion of the past/present tense and first/third person, the book was a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling read.