Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I'll Walk Alone

Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Pages: 337
Type: Hardcover
First Line: "Father Aiden O'Brien was hearing confessions in the lower church of St. Francis of Assisi on West Thirty-first Street in Manhattan."

Synopsis:  Alexandra "Zan" Moreland has lived through every mother's worst nightmare -- her 3 year old son, Matthew, was abucted.  Now 2 years later Zan has exhausted all of her resources in order to find her son.  When an unexpected clue comes to light it gives Zan hope that she'll find her son.  Suddenly, the clue points a finger at none other than Zan herself as the main suspect in her son's disappearance.  At the same time Zan learns that someone is trying to destroy her personally and professionally.   Will Zan finally be able to get her son back?

My Thoughts:  First off I just want to say that this is my second time reading a Mary Higgins Clark book ... and the second time that I haven't enjoyed it.  What am I missing?  Isn't she like the female Sidney Sheldon or James Patterson?  Doesn't she have oodles of mysteries on store shelves?  Where is the suspense?  Where are the amazing characters?  I was hoping for a 'can't put this book down for nothin' type feel.  Sadly, I was disappointed.

This book was just ok.  That's as much kudos as I can muster.  The storyline was slow, the characters were one-dimensional and there just wasn't enough oomph and suspense.  I didn't particularly like the main character, Zan Moreland.  She's really wishy-washy -- strong one moment then weak and questioning her sanity the next.  Is she strong? Is she losing her mind?   Honestly, I really didn't care by the middle of the book. And why did Zan jump on the 'Zan is crazy' bandwagon so quickly?? Seemed odd that she just gives up on herself. 

Another odd thing with the book was that the synopsis didn't match with the main storyline.  The book's synopsis focuses on the identity theft angle when really the vast majority of the story focuses on the missing child, not the identity theft.  See?  Odd.

Also, the mystery part of the book wasn't inspired and it was pretty clear 'who dunnit'.  Although I didn't guess the 'bad guy' until closer to the end it was obvious who it wasn't.  The author was pointing too many fingers (and probably even her toes) towards two characters in particular which would lead a well-read mystery lover to assume that that isn't the 'bad guy'. I like me lots of twists and turns in a mystery.  Make me figure it out on my own. Don't spoon feed me red herrings. It's insulting.

Plus, Clark's reasons for making this character the 'bad guy' were too simplistic and really didn't amount to much.  I wanted some huge back story as to why he became evil.  Sadly that wasn't given.  He was just 'a bad guy'. 

When I picked up this book I didn't realize that some of the characters were from previous books.  It was aluded to that Alvirah Meehan and her husband were returning characters.  Normally I really don't like coming into a series half way but Clark handled it well.  It was mentioned a few times but I didn't get the feeling like I was missing out on knowing the previous storyline.

One of the biggest issues I have with this book is how Clark attempted to increase the suspense by showing just how closely the mystery of the missing boy could have been solved.  At least I think increasing suspense is why she did it.  For example, Alvirah's phone rings and on the other end of the line is her old friend who has breaking news about the missing boy.  If only Alvirah had picked up the phone instead of letting the machine pick it up the mystery would have been solved.   There were a few instances like that and it got annoying because you just knew that the character wasn't going to actually get the much needed information.  Plus, if it weren't for the fact that the police work was so shoddy the mystery would have been wrapped up years before.  The fact that two old biddies and a elderly priest figure out the mystery before a bunch of cops leads me to believe that the NYPD aren't itching to pick up this book.  It was a bunch of 'If only, if only, if only'.  I need substance in a book not a "Three's Company" type silliness.

Lastly, the romance was a forced and abrupt and, quite honestly, wasn't needed.   It came out of nowhere and was unbelievable.   I just couldn't believe that a highly successful (and let's not forget gorgeous) guy would stick his neck out that much for a woman he just met ... and who has a LOT of baggage.  I'm talking she probably owns the entire emotional Louis Vuitton collection. 

This book was a quick read but didn't meet my expections.  I'm willing to pick up another book by this author to figure out what all the hype is about.  Did I just pick two of her less than stellar books??  Can anyone suggest a great read from Mary Higgins Clark??

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars


Jen said...

I would try one of her first books...... She hasn't written anything good in years. I think that's what happens when you pump out a book a year for 20+years.

Beth said...

I agree with Jen. Read her earlier stuff. They're not literature, but are good page-turners. The newer ones are mediocre at best. I had almost given up on her but read her latest since several of my customers had said it was great. It was just OK. Not sure I will be reading another of her books. Some authors should just give up.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Jen & Beth -- I'm glad it wasn't just me. I will try her earlier works just to see what the fuss is all about.

Sadly, I'd have to say that the same issue (future books in a series just not living up to the earlier books) is happening with the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I'd love for her to end the series on a really high note!!

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