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From Barnes & NobleSpirited Suspense
Since the publication of her first blockbuster novel, Where Are the Children?, nearly 30 years ago, Mary Higgins Clark had been delighting her readers with high-class, spine-tingling suspense, becoming something of a legend in the publishing business. Her latest effort, Before I Say Good-bye, is no exception. It combines Clark's trademark woman-in-jeopardy theme with an elaborate plot that has more wrinkles in it than a shar-pei. And as if her usual chills and thrills weren't enough, Clark gives her readers a bonus in the form of a few ghosts and some spooky episodes of clairvoyance.
Nell MacDermott learned the meaning of tragedy at a tender age. She was only ten years old when she had a vision of her parents coming to school to say goodbye to her. Within an hour of that vision, Nell's grandfather, Congressman Cornelius MacDermott, arrived at the school with the news that Nell's parents had perished in a plane crash. Five years later, caught in a deadly riptide that threatened to drown her, Nell once again had a "visit" from her parents. This time, they gave her the courage and strength to hold on when her struggles against the riptide threatened to overwhelm her.
As an adult living in Manhattan, Nell views her strange experiences with a cautious and somewhat jaundiced eye. While she doesn't doubt the reality of what happened, she finds it hard to buy into the whole paranormal experience in general. And that suits her grandfather just fine, given that he expects Nell to step into his shoes as a congressman now that he's retired. Nell isn't averse to the idea; the old man's political inclinations are in her blood, too. But her husband, Adam, whom Cornelius has never liked, is strongly opposed to the idea.
Adam's objections become a moot point when his boat, occupied by himself and three other people, is blown to bits in a mysterious explosion. Reeling from her husband's death, Nell is forced to take a second look at her life...and her marriage. She doesn't much care for what she sees, and the picture rapidly grows worse when an investigation into the explosion reveals that it was no accident. Faced with the possibility that her husband wasn't who she thought he was and that a killer may well be on the loose, Nell is pulled into her own investigation. Her unusual abilities provide some assistance, but by the time the complex truth is revealed, Nell has had several visions of people's deaths -- including her own.
Clark has always been a master plotter, and her shrewd use of clever red herrings makes Before I Say Good-bye a treat for mystery fans. The characters are complex enough to be intriguing, imperfect enough to seem real, and enmeshed in a story that bundles up several deadly sins -- avarice, envy, pride, and wrath. The twists and turns will keep readers enthralled and guessing right up until the end. And the paranormal elements make for a spirited visit to a world where nothing is what it seems -- in this realm or the next. This one is Mary Higgins Clark at her chilling and charming best.