Amazon; $15.47I got hooked on Mary Higgins Clark's suspense novels with sexy, usually lonely, heroines in high school. As we have both aged, I've missed out on some of her quick reads through the years, but I picked up her latest, The Shadow of Your Smile (Simon & Schuster, 2010), hoping to relive my early thrilling days of MHC mysteries.
Ehh, not so much.
While the formula is still there -- a beautiful, single lady finds herself in the middle of mysterious circumstances that will surely lead to death or wealth -- the dialogue fell flat. Instead of getting caught up in the romance of Dr. Monica and her magical healing nun of a grandmother, I kept getting taken out of the story by the stilted and unrealistic conversations between the characters.
It's true I wasn't sure which millionaire family member was the killer until very close to the end, so big props there, but it almost didn't matter. They were all properly flawed and Higgins Clark did do a good job in creating unsympathetic characters that have a dose of humanity, so you could really go either way with who should go to jail and who should be redeemed.
And while the heat between the love interests is traditionally palpable in her stories, I just couldn't get excited about a guy so boring as Dr. Ryan. I hope Monica and Ryan live happily ever after, but I'm guessing they'll keep the house in the Hamptons and rent a pied-a-terre near the downtown hospital where they work and raise a couple of kids in the Village. Yawn.
But what really made me stop and say, "Come on, Mary, I know you can do better than this" was the use of two words: knockout drops. What are knockout drops? Rohypnol? Chloroform? GHB? I mean, really, there are so many names the police would use in this case. Doubt they're going around saying the victim was subdued with "knockout drops."
But if you want to sit on the beach, zone out, and delve into high society East Coast families with secrets to hide -- so much that they will kill -- grab yourself a copy of The Shadow of Your Smile.
The Shadow of Your Smile ($15.47) -- Amazon