Saturday, February 8, 2014

Where Are You Now?, by Mary Higgins Clark

7 discs
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator: Jan Maxwell
Source: Library book

Description: 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, now twenty-six, realizes that she will never be able to get on with her life until she finds her brother. Despite her mother's objections, and a mysterious warning against the search, she resolves to discover what happened to Mack. Carolyn's pursuit of the truth about Mack's disappearance swiftly plunges her into a world of unexpected danger and unanswered questions. What do Mack's old roommates know about his disappearance? Can the police possibly believe that Mack is a shadowy predator of young women? Was he also guilty of his drama teacher's brutal murder and the theft of their taped sessions?

Carolyn's passionate search for the truth leads her into a deadly confrontation with someone close to her whose secret he cannot allow her to reveal
(From the back cover)

Review: Full disclosure, I technically did not read the whole book. About halfway through I got fed up and skipped to the last disc. And I had no trouble following what was going on. I don't consider this a good sign in a mystery or suspense novel.

This book is incredibly repetitive. While it might be normal for people trying to investigate someone's disappearance, or a string of murders, from my perspective as a reader, it was just incredibly frustrating and dull.

Another issue the book had was the serial killer investigation. I can't say that the way the police went about it was necessarily inaccurate, but I can say that I found that there was a serial killer investigation in the book rather strained credulity.

The serial killer case is based on the disappearance, no bodies found, of three women over a ten year period from different clubs in New York City and a fourth who goes missing early in the book. Even if you ignore the fact that the first one had a history as a runaway and that it's stated that the police initially assumed that was what had happened to her, I don't buy they'd connect her disappearance to the next one, which happened three years later from a different club. With no bodies, there's just not enough victims or a unique enough pattern to stand out in a city that size.

The ending seems to make sense, in the context of the book, but it involves a revelation that seems to come out of left field (it may have been set up in the part I skipped) and does involve a cop avoiding the perfectly normal step of mentioning the suspect's name to his colleagues at one point because the author hadn't quite reached the big reveal point. And for the reader to believe that the police hadn't blown up and gone through the pictures with a fine tooth comb years ago.

Thinking more on it, these are simultaneously the best and worst police investigators out there.

If, like me, you think the book's description sounds interesting, do yourself a favor and just skip to the end.

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