==Synopsis of the book:==
It is ten years since Mack MacKenzie disappeared. The only contact his mother and sister Caroline have had with him since that time is a telephone call each year on Mothers Day. During his call this year Caroline tells her brother she is going to find him as she is sick of not knowing why he decided to leave them. As both Caroline and her mother feel they cannot move on in their lives. The following day her Uncle receives a note telling him not to let Caroline look for him. Now Caroline is sure he is alive and she must retread the ground that the private investigator did shortly after he first disappeared.
Meanwhile a young student Leesey Andrews does not return home after a night out and her father and brother contact the Police. This is the third female student who has disappeared in the same area over the last nine years. The missing girl although not know to Caroline lives in the building next to her. And following Caroline's visit to them asking them to re-open their investigation, they find this coincidence interesting. However soon Caroline find her missing brother is one of the main suspects in this investigation. Can she solve either of both of the mysteries?
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I found this was a very average crime mystery and one I did not particularly enjoy. For me it was quite a confusing story initially and I found it quite hard to understood where the characters fitting into the story. I think had it been more detailed it would have helped as the chapters where very short and no sooner had I started to learn a little about the people within the story the focus was moved onto someone else. As a result I failed to gel and remember who was who and I found myself getting confused and probably missing potential clues.
My manager at work like me loves books and he gave me this one after he had finished with it. I had never read a book by Mary Higgins Clark but I had at least heard and seen some of her books in my library and local book-store. I generally struggle with new authors to me as I find it takes me a while to appreciate a new writers style. That coupled with the fact I also struggle to enjoy American writers meant I was always going to struggle with this one. I think the reason I find American writers hard to get into as a whole is the culture difference, the fact that it is so different from England in the sense of size and it is not a place I have been too so I probably can't appreciate it properly.
Mary Higgins Clark is a very successful thriller and mystery writer. She has writer nearly fifty novels including some with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark. Her prime market for her books is America where she has already sold over 80 million copies. She has also written short stories and non fiction novels. The book I am reviewing is one of her latest books and was first published in 2008.
Yet for me when I has handed this book everything felt good about it. I liked the title and the idea that a student had been missing for several years. I also liked the two paragraph summary of the story. This focused on Caroline's idea after ten years to try and find Mack. I often criticise writers for giving away too much in their summaries, I certainly can't accuse this author of this, as she does not even talk about the other missing female students which was the second story in the book. This I am surprised at, as I thought the concept of a missing student possibly abducting young females to me would be a good selling point and I do not feel the author exploited this as she could have done.
As soon as I started reading this book I was struggling. I found the print very small and hard to focus on. I'm not sure if my eyes were showing their age but I found the print as a result hard to follow and it just didn't encourage me to want to read the story. I have attached a picture of the print so you get an idea of what I am talking about. As a result I found it hard to read and harder still to actually enjoy. The only conciliation for me was the chapters where nice and short so at least I felt I was making progress with the story, as the chapters and pages increased.
The story itself I found quite entertaining although I did struggle to remember who was who and where they fitted into the story. I found the whole concept of a young man having been missing for ten years only calling on Mothers Day quite bizarre especially as his father had died in that period and he had not been in touch, send flowers or attended the funeral. Added to the fact that in addition in the same area three young women had also going missing, seemed a quite ridiculous coincidence, that even a big fan of mysteries found hard to believe in.
However as the story started to unfold it did improve and while I didn't necessarily believe in it I learnt to accept it. I liked the way Caroline went about trying to discover the truth about her brother and in the process of doing so unwittingly made him the key suspect in the missing students investigation. However I felt the two stories lacked depth and while that made for an exciting ending where anyone of the characters involved in the story could be the guilty party it did not convince we the author had the correct solution to the mystery.
The story had a good pace about it and I felt it was always getting somewhere. It was rich in suspense and mystery throughout but really missing a complex plot that could have done the story justice. As the author certainly has some good ideas, some good characters but because the story was too short these were not utilised to there full advantage. For me I would imagine this piece of fiction would be good as a holiday read as it was short and not that involved as to have you fascinated by it.
I think my favourite and best part of the story was the concluding chapters. That was because these were fast paced and exciting. They successfully pulled together what had preceded it. Although again for me this could have been better had it been expanded, but it was an ending full of suspense. There was even time at the end of the story for a very short epilogue. I think in a one off story like this it is important to have one of these as it is good to know what happens next to the key characters you have learnt about in the story and what they do next in their lives.
One of the best features of the story for me the the lead character Caroline MacKenzie . I really liked the way Mack's little sister was going to try and find him once and for all. My favourite parts of the story involved her when she was trying to find the solutions to the mystery of her brothers disappearance. I found her a likeable character and I enjoyed reading things from her perspective. Again more depth in her thoughts and actions would have improved the story but on the whole she was a good lead character and one I always liked and supported in her quest for the truth. And while she was supported by a well though out array of support characters because the author did not focus too much on them this created my mystery about them but also did not exploit their interesting personalities.
I am very pleased I tried this book, because I had been feeling for some time that I should try something from this very successful thriller writer. But for me this was not a good example of a crime thriller and left me in the main disappointed and frustrated. I need to read another of her stories as this could just be a one off and as I have previously mentioned it sometimes takes a while to fully appreciate a writers work.
I do not feel this is a crime story that I can in all honesty recommend. For me it lacked depth because it was too short. I also found it hard to believe in some important aspects of the story such as Mack's disappearance then another three female students also disappear from the same area. Although I did think the author created some very good and interesting characters which again would have been helped by focusing more on them so the reader to know and understand them better.
Price: 7.19 New at Amazon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Year first published: 2008
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
© CPTDANIELS February 2013.
I have a friend who lends me books and recently she gave me a box of books to read which I didn't look at properly until I was working my way through them. When I got to the bottom and found Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark my heart sank. I've read a few of her books and didn't feel they were particularly interesting but with nothing else to read I decided to give it a go.
Where Are You Now is about a man who went missing 10 years previously. Charles MacKenzie Junior also known as Mack just disappeared for no reason but every year on Mother's Day he calls home to reassure his mother and sister he is fine but won't say where he is or why he left. Even his father's death in 9/11 doesn't bring him home so his sister Carolyn decides enough is enough and warns Mack she will try and find him. This prompts a series of events that lead her to various people Mack knew and some secrets she had no idea about. At the same time female students are going missing from bars. Is it all related and will Carolyn find her brother Mack?
Right from the word go I had a half formed idea about where Mack was and it was just that, half right. The secrets that surface during Carolyn's search were a surprise and I didn't guess them but I didn't need to know them to know the answer to where Mack was.
I also had 2 suspects in mind for the female students abductions and I guessed right again with one of them but I didn't put together the whole situation before it was revealed which I'm glad about, I like books that I can't guess the ending to immediately but after reading thrillers for years I sometimes know instantly who did it.
Mary Higgins Clark is actually 81 years old so this book is quite current for her and she does a reasonable job of not being too old fashioned but you can tell it's written by someone older. The MacKenzie family have plenty of money and while a rich family often works for a storyline this fact didn't actually add anything to the story, they could just as easily have been of average income and the story would have gone the same way.
The character Carolyn is actually believable and likeable and her method of investigating Mack's disappearance works because nothing is particularly contrived or too easy. The people around Carolyn aren't as believable, some of them are very one dimensional and never develop properly.
It's all a bit high society nice if that makes sense and there are times when someone's reaction doesn't ring true because it's all so terribly polite and a bit stuffy which is something I've found to be a trait of this author's books but I suspect this is because of the era Mary Higgins Clark is from. Some of the secrets that emerge are very small secrets that in this day and age really don't need to be a secret which adds to the slightly behind the times feel of the book.
The eventual outcome isn't hugely thrilling or shocking and it wraps up pretty quickly once we know the facts. The book is an easy read which doesn't give away the whole truth until the end but it's rather lacking in the thrill department for a thriller. It's a very tame book if you've read anything by younger authors with a lack of any gore or heavens forbid impolite language! I think Mary Higgins Clark writes for an older audience, the fans who have read her work for many years and don't want to move forward into the faster paced, sometimes shocking arena of more modern thrillers and I have to say although I didn't dislike this book I wouldn't want to re-read it again nor am I in a hurry to read anything else by this author unless I feel the need for a genteel mild thriller.
That could just be me though, I've read alot of thrillers and some horror and like a darker, faster, more shocking feel to my reading material. This book is available to buy new from Amazon for £4.07 or used on Amazon Marketplace for 1p. Unless you are a long term Higgins Clark fan I would suggest borrowing it or buying it secondhand.
3 stars from me purely because I didn't completely guess the ending in the first few chapters.
I found this Mary Higgins Clark novel in my local Cancer Research charity shop. I have enjoyed all of her previous novels so I had to buy it.
The premise of this story is that 10 years ago a 21 year old student called Charles MacKenzie Jr (Mack) vanished without a trace, he had everything going for him he was due to graduate and about to take a place at Duke University Law School. However throughout these 10 years he makes a phone call to his mother every Mother's Day. Every time he assures her he is fine but refuses to answer her questions about his whereabouts, then he promptly ends the telephone call. Even when his father is killed in the 9/11 attacks he never turns up for the funeral and the same pattern continues with his one annual phone call.
His sister Carolyn is now 26 and is a law school graduate, she has just finished a clerkship for a judge in Manhattan. Carolyn decides to take a break before looking for a new job, she desperately needs some closure on her brothers disappearance. After his phone call on Mother's Day she interrupts the call and says that she will track him down, no matter what. At church her uncle Monsignor Devon Mackenzie has just finished Mass when he is presented with a bit of paper which was left in the collection basket. It says "Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me"
Both her mother and Elliott Wallace who was her father's best friend believe that she should resign herself to the fact that Mack doesn't want to be found and they beg Carolyn to stop. She decides to carry on secretly looking for her brother to spare her mother's feelings. When a young girl then disappears she begins to suspect a connection to her brother. Once she delves into the disappearance she finds more unanswered questions and also puts herself in grave danger.
Where Are You Now? to be totally honest isn't my favourite of Mary Higgins Clark's novels the only reason being that the ending was a little on the predictable side. Never the less I did enjoy the story as it progressed and it was very entertaining. In most of her novels the police are always very helpful and provide good resources to the protagonist however in this story they are not the most helpful. It shows that if they think the person doesn't want to be found they don't get involved. The character of Carolyn is quite a likeable one you can understand why she is desperately searching for her brother. Even if finding out the truth will be devastating she needs to know to bring some closure to the situation.
It has plenty of twists and turns along the way, which I have come to fully expect from Mary Higgins Clark who has the nickname Queen of Suspense.
This story is perfect for a holiday read and whilst maybe not one her best it is still worth a try. It does flow quite well and does reach a dramatic conclusion all be it one that was slightly predictable.