Just Take My Heart

Just Take My Heart

3.7 200
by Mary Higgins Clark, Jan Maxwell
     
 

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In her new thriller, America's #1 bestselling Queen of Suspense delves into a legal battle over the guilt or innocence of a man accused of murdering his wife. Woven into her plot is an eerie, little-understood but documented medical phenomenon -- the emergence of a donor's traits and memories in the recipient of a heart transplant.

Natalie Raines, one of

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Overview

In her new thriller, America's #1 bestselling Queen of Suspense delves into a legal battle over the guilt or innocence of a man accused of murdering his wife. Woven into her plot is an eerie, little-understood but documented medical phenomenon -- the emergence of a donor's traits and memories in the recipient of a heart transplant.

Natalie Raines, one of Broadway's brightest stars, accidentally discovers who killed her former roommate and sets in motion a series of shocking events that puts more than one life in extreme peril.

While Natalie and her roommate, Jamie Evans, were both struggling young actresses, Jamie had been involved with a mysterious married man to whom she referred only by nickname. Natalie comes face to face with him years later and inadvertently addresses him by the nickname Jamie had used. A few days later, Natalie is found in her home in Closter, New Jersey, dying from a gunshot wound.

Immediately the police suspect Natalie's theatrical agent and soon-to-be-ex-husband, Gregg Aldrich. He had long been a "person of interest" and was known to have stalked Natalie to find out if she was seeing another man. But no charges are brought against him until two years later, when Jimmy Easton, a career criminal, suddenly comes forward to claim that Aldrich had tried to hire him to kill his wife. Easton knows details about the Aldrich home that only someone who had been there -- to plan a murder, for instance -- could possibly know.

The case is a plum assignment for Emily Wallace, an attractive thirty-two-year-old assistant prosecutor. As she spends increasingly long hours preparing for the trial, a seemingly well-meaning neighbor offers to take care of her dog in her absence. Unaware of his violent past, she gives him a key to her home...

As Aldrich's trial is making headlines, her boss warns Emily that this high-profile case will reveal personal matters about her, such as the fact that she had a heart transplant. And, during the trial, Emily experiences sentiments that defy all reason and continue after Gregg Aldrich's fate is decided by the jury.

In the meantime, she does not realize that her own life is now at risk.

A compelling novel that probes the mysteries of the human heart and mind, Just Take My Heart is Mary Higgins Clark's most spellbinding tale.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Perhaps overcompensating for her lethargic renderings of other Higgins Clark thrillers (e.g., Where Are You Now?), Jan Maxwell picks up pace smartly. The narration is a shade frenetic in the beginning, as Maxwell breathlessly introduces the key players (the murdered actress, Natalie Raines; her husband-and chief suspect-Greg Aldrich; assistant prosecutor Emily Wallace; and her serial killer stalker, Zach Lanning) in an overly upbeat chirp. The quick tempo works better as the plot slogs through procedural matters. All of the men, however, sound too much alike and the women's voices also blur at key points. These flaws aside, this audio book proves entertaining summer listening. A Simon & Schuster hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 30). (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
An assistant prosecutor trying the biggest case of her life doesn't realize that the victim she's hoping to avenge isn't the only damsel in distress. Fifteen years after her actress roommate Jamie Evans was strangled in Central Park, Broadway sensation Natalie Raines has the awful experience of meeting and recognizing her killer. Hours later, Natalie is shot to death herself. But Bergen County prosecutor Ted Wesley, who never called Jamie's murder anything but a robbery gone bad, fails to connect the two crimes. Instead, he indicts Gregg Aldrich, Natalie's estranged husband and former agent. The most damning (and virtually the only) testimony against Gregg comes from career burglar Jimmy Easton, who bargained down the sentence for his latest job in return for a story about Gregg offering to pay him $25,000 to kill Natalie. Jimmy should be a terrible witness, but he isn't. So even though Michael Gordon, the Courtside TV host who's kept an ominous distance from his old friend in the weeks leading to the trial, runs a series of informal polls that indicate that nearly half the TV audience thinks Gregg is innocent, things look a lot blacker for the defendant in the courtroom. Emily Wallace, the assistant prosecutor Wesley has assigned to the case, wonders if Gregg is guilty after all. Although she doesn't know it, Emily has much bigger problems to deal with. Her solicitous neighbor Zach Lanning is actually Charley Muir, who vanished after killing his wife's family in Iowa and now has his eye on Emily. The closer Emily gets to nailing Natalie's murderer, the closer a second, unrelated murderer is getting to nailing her. Clark (Where Are You Now?, 2008, etc.) handles the courtroom scenescapably, and fans will be as excited as ever coming down the home stretch. It's a shame that the climax awaiting them is the most strained and silly the bestselling author has ever fobbed off on her devoted readers.
From the Publisher
“Intense . . . the action hurtles to a surprising resolution.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A must-read for mystery enthusiasts.”
—Tucson Citizen

“Fans will be as excited as ever coming down the home stretch.”
—Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442337664
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Edition description:
Abridged
Sales rank:
1,335,336
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

1

It was the persistent sense of impending doom, not the nor'easter, that made Natalie flee from Cape Cod back to New Jersey in the predawn hours of Monday morning. She had expected to find sanctuary in the cozy Cape house that had once been her grandmother's and now was hers, but the icy sleet beating against the windows only increased the terror she was experiencing. Then, when a power failure plunged the house into darkness, she lay awake, sure that every sound was caused by an intruder.

After fifteen years, she was certain that she had accidentally stumbled upon the knowledge of who had strangled her roommate, Jamie, when they were both struggling young actresses. And he knows that I know, she thought -- I could see it in his eyes.

On Friday night, he had come with a group to the closing night of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Omega Playhouse. She had played Blanche DuBois, the most demanding and satisfying role of her career to date. Her reviews had been wonderful, but the role had taken its emotional toll on her. That was why, after the performance, when someone knocked on the door of her dressing room, she had been tempted not to answer. But she had, and they all crowded in to congratulate her, and out of nowhere she recognized him. In his late forties now, his face had filled out, but he was undoubtedly the person whose picture was missing from Jamie's wallet after her body was found. Jamie had been so secretive about him, only referring to him as Jess, "my pet name for him," as she put it.

I was so shocked that when we were introduced, I called him "Jess," Natalie thought. Everyone was talking so much that I am sure no one else noticed. But he heard me say his name.

Who do I tell? Who would believe me? My word against his? My memory of a small picture that Jamie had hidden in her wallet? I only found it because I had lent her my Visa card and I needed it back. She was in the shower and called to me to get it out of her wallet. That was when I saw the picture, tucked in one of the compartments, behind a couple of business cards.

All Jamie ever told me about him was that he'd tried his hand at acting and wasn't good enough, and that he was in the middle of a divorce. I tried to tell her that was the oldest story in the world, Natalie thought, but she wouldn't listen. She and Jamie had been sharing an apartment on the West Side until that terrible morning when Jamie was strangled while jogging early in Central Park. Her wallet was on the ground, her money and watch were missing. And so wasthe picture of "Jess." I told the cops that, she thought, but they didn't take it seriously. There had been a number of early-morning muggings in the park and they were sure Jamie just happened to be one of the victims, the only fatal victim, as it turned out.

It had been pouring through Rhode Island and Connecticut, but as Natalie drove down the Palisades Parkway the rain steadily lessened. As she drove farther down, she could see that the roads were already drying.

Would she feel safe at home? She wasn't sure. Twenty years ago, after being widowed, her mother, born and raised in Manhattan, had been happy to sell the house and buy a small apartment near Lincoln Center. Last year, when Natalie and Gregg separated, she heard that the modest house in northern New Jersey where she'd been raised was for sale again.

"Natalie," her mother warned, "you're making a terrible mistake. I think you're crazy not to try to make a go of your marriage. Running back home is never the answer for anyone. You can't recreate the past."

Natalie knew it was impossible to make her mother understand that the kind of wife Gregg wanted...

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