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.
With an intriguing story line embellished by psychic phenomena and extrasensory perception, this novel is another best seller. Nell McDermott is a political columnist and the granddaughter of a wealthy, well-connected, retired Congressman who has raised her since both her parents were killed in an accident. Nell had the psychic gift then to feel the presence of her parents' spirits right after they died, although she was not present at the scene of their deaths. Cornelius McDermott, her grandfather, has spent most of his political career preparing Nell as his prot g e and heir apparent in the New York political scene. But when Nell marries Adam Cauliff, an architect on the rise, her political ambitions are suspended; all she wants is a happy, workable marriage. Still, her powerful grandfather wants her to run for his Congressional seat. Good characterizations by Jan Maxwell; expect this to circulate.--Kristin M. Jacobi, Eastern Connecticut State Univ., Willimantic Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Clark's heavy-breathing 22nd asks who planted a bomb on a rising architect's yacht, and whether the killer may be closing in on his widow. One minute the Cornelia II was lying peacefully at anchor off New York Harbor; the next a fireball had reduced the ship to ashes, along with its four passengers: owner Adam Cauliff, who'd planned the harbor outing as a way of bringing together the major participants in the Vandermeer Tower project he'd designed; Winifred Johnson, the loyal assistant who'd followed him from his old architectural firm; Vandermeer contractor Sam Krause; and Jimmy Ryan, probable site manager for the job. Krause, about to be indicted for bid fixing, leaves no one behind to lament his abrupt passing. But Adam and Jimmy are copiously mourned by their widows, old-money newspaper columnist Nell MacDermott, inconsolable because she'd just quarreled with Adam over her decision to seek her grandfather's old congressional seat, and no-money manicurist Lisa Ryan, who can't imagine how she'll raise the three children Jimmy left behind. But some fortuitous discoveries among Adam's and Jimmy's effectssecret compartments, safe-deposit-box keys, and all the restswiftly persuade their wives that there was more to the explosion than the leaking fuel line police had originally favored, and a young child who witnessed the blast has been having nightmares that suggests somebody may have survived. Was it Adam, Jimmy, Winifred, or Krause? Or was the whole scheme engineered by Peter Lang, the big-deal developer who'd masterminded the Vandermeer project but missed the boat that took his fellow-players to Davy Jones's locker?Lesssuspense and more honest-to-goodness mystery than most of Clark's best-selling output (We'll Meet Again, 1999, etc.), though the author telegraphs each twist so conscientiously that few fans will be fooled. Literary Guild main seledtion; author tour
From the Publisher
The New York Times Book Review Mary Higgins Clark knows what she's doing....This savvy author comes up with something unexpected....A hold-your-breath ending.
Publishers Weekly Romantic suspense has no more reliable champion than Mary Higgins Clark. Her characters are...breezy and fun, and so is this confection of a book.
Los Angeles Times For someone who loves plot, Mary Higgins Clark's Before I Say Good-bye should be like manna from heaven....America's "Queen of Suspense" clearly knows what her readers want. Here she provides it, in spades.
New York Post A smooth and easy read.
The Hartford Courant(CT) The storytelling skills of the newest grand master of mystery writing have never been better.
The Christian Science Monitor Clark holds the reins the whole way through this tale of mischief and secrets, allowing us to unwind her labyrinth of hidden clues only as she wants them to unfold.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel(TN) Hard to put down....It's what a vacation book should be.
Tulsa World(OK) Yet another pearl Clark can add to her worldwide bestsellers.
Midwest Book Review Fun and exciting....Clark provides her myriad of fans with another enthralling tale filled with action and adventure.
The Anniston Star (AL) Fascinating enough that I read it through in one sitting....Well worth reading for all your mystery fans.
Read an Excerpt
"I don't feel good," eight-year-old Ben Tucker complained to his father as they stood at the railing of the tour boat that was returning from a visit to the Statue of Liberty.
"The water's getting choppy," his father acknowledged, "but we'll be on shore soon. Pay attention to the view. You won't get back to see New York again for a long time, and I want you to remember everything that you see."
Ben's glasses were smudged, and he pulled them off to clean them. He's going to tell me again that the Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by France, but it wasn't until that lady, Emma Lazarus, wrote a poem to help raise money for a base that it got put up here. He's going to tell me again that my great-great-grandfather was one of the kids who helped collect the money. "Give me your huddled masses yearning to be free..." All right. Give me a break, Ben thought.
He actually had liked going to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, but now he was sorry he'd come because he felt as though he was going to barf. This tub smelled of diesel fuel.
Longingly he gazed at the private yachts around them in New York harbor. He wished he were on one of them. Someday, when he made money, that was the first thing he'd do -- buy a cabin cruiser. When they started out a couple of hours ago, there had been a couple of dozen boats in the water. Now that it was getting overcast, there weren't so many out.
Ben's eyes lingered on the really keen yacht way over there: the Cornelia II. He was so farsighted that with his glasses off he could read the letters.
Suddenly his eyes widened. "No-o-o-o...!"
He didn't know that he had even spoken aloud, nor was he aware that his word -- half protest, half prayer -- had been echoed by virtually everyone on the starboard side of the tour boat, as well as by all the observers in lower Manhattan and in New Jersey who at that moment happened to be looking in that direction.
As he had been watching it, Cornelia II had exploded, suddenly becoming an immense fireball, sending shiny bits of debris shooting high into the air before falling all over the waterway that led from the Atlantic Ocean to the harbor.
Before Ben's father had spun him around and clutched him against his side, and before merciful shock had blunted the vision of bodies being blown to bits, Ben registered an impression that settled immediately in his subconscious, where it would stay, to become the source of relentless nightmares.
Copyright © 2000 by Mary Higgins Clark