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Where Are You Now?

Where Are You Now?

3.9 196
by Mary Higgins Clark

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From America's Queen of Suspense comes a gripping tale of a young woman trying to unravel the mystery of a family tragedy -- a quest with terrifying repercussions.

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


From America's Queen of Suspense comes a gripping tale of a young woman trying to unravel the mystery of a family tragedy -- a quest with terrifying repercussions.

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, is now twenty-six, a law school graduate, and has just finished her clerkship for a civil court judge in Manhattan. She has endured two family tragedies, yet she realizes that she will never be able to have closure and get on with her life until she finds her brother. She resolves to discover what happened to Mack and why he has found it necessary to hide from them. So this year when Mack makes his annual Mother's Day call, Carolyn interrupts to announce her intention to track him down, no matter what it takes. The next morning after Mass, her uncle, Monsignor Devon MacKenzie, receives a scrawled message left in the collection basket: "Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me."

Mack's cryptic warning does nothing to deter his sister from taking up the search, despite the angry reaction of her mother, Olivia, and the polite disapproval of ElliottWallace, Carolyn's honorary uncle, who is clearly in love with Olivia.

Carolyn's pursuit of the truth about Mack's disappearance swiftly plunges her into a world of unexpected danger and unanswered questions. What is the secret that Gus and Lil Kramer, the superintendents of the building in which Mack was living, have to hide? What do Mack's old roommates, the charismatic club owner Nick DeMarco and the cold and wealthy real estate tycoon Bruce Galbraith, know about Mack's disappearance? Is Nick connected to the disappearance of Leesey Andrews, who had last been seen in his trendy club? Can the police possibly believe that Mack is not only alive, but a serial killer, a shadowy predator of young women? Was Mack also guilty of the brutal murder of his drama teacher and the theft of his taped sessions with her?

Carolyn's passionate search for the truth about her brother -- and for her brother himself -- leads her into a deadly confrontation with someone close to her whose secret he cannot allow her to reveal.

Editorial Reviews

It will surprise none of her fans that Mary Higgins Clark prepares for each of her novels with detailed character biographies and intricate, chapter-by-chapter revisions. Her meticulousness and attention to plotting is evident on every page of her tightly threaded mysteries. Where Are You Now?, her 25th suspense novel, reaffirms the reputation of a major American suspense writer.
Publishers Weekly

Mary Higgins Clark's latest novel is a well-paced thriller sure to please longtime fans. However, Jan Maxwell's reading is uninspired and sluggish. Her voice rarely diverts from the monotone droning that dominates most of this tale. There is little attempt to relate the underlying tension that Clark has layered throughout the story, and Maxwell offers little in the way of character development. The result is disappointing; an unenthused experience that will turn many listeners away thanks to a nuance-free performance from this Broadway star. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 10). (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"An imaginative tale of murder and deceit...will keep readers guessing to the nail-biting conclusion." — Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Where Are You Now?

  • It is exactly midnight, which means Mother’s Day has just begun. I stayed overnight with my mother in the apartment on Sutton Place where I grew up. She is down the hall in her room, and together we are keeping the vigil. The same vigil we’ve kept every year since my brother, Charles MacKenzie Jr., “Mack,” walked out of the apartment he shared with two other Columbia University seniors ten years ago. He has never been seen since then. But every year at some point on Mother’s Day, he calls to assure Mom he is fine. “Don’t worry about me,” he tells her. “One of these days I’ll turn the key in the lock and be home.” Then he hangs up.

    We never know when in those twenty-four hours that call will come. Last year Mack called at a few minutes after midnight, and our vigil ended almost as soon as it began. Two years ago he waited until the very last second to phone, and Mom was frantic that this slim contact with him was over.

    Mack has to have known that my father was killed in the Twin Towers tragedy. I was sure that no matter what he was doing, that terrible day would have compelled him to come home. But it did not. Then on the next Mother’s Day, during his annual call, he started crying and gasped, “I’m sorry about Dad. I’m really sorry,” and broke the connection.

    I am Carolyn. I was sixteen when Mack disappeared. Following in his footsteps, I attended Columbia. Unlike him, I then went on to Duke Law School. Mack had been accepted there before he disappeared. After I passed the Bar last year, I clerked for a civil court judge in the courthouse on Centre Street in lower Manhattan. Judge Paul Huot has just retired, so at the moment I’m unemployed. I plan to apply for a job as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, but not quite yet.

    First, I must find a way to track my brother down. What happened to him? Why did he disappear? There was no sign of foul play. Mack’s credit cards weren’t used. His car was in the garage near his apartment. No one of his description ever ended up in the morgue, although in the beginning, my mother and father were sometimes asked to view the body of some unidentified young man who had been fished out of the river or killed in an accident.

    When we were growing up, Mack was my best friend, my confidant, my pal. Half my girlfriends had a crush on him. He was the perfect son, the perfect brother, handsome, kind, funny, an excellent student. How do I feel about him now? I don’t know anymore. I remember how much I loved him, but that love has almost totally turned to anger and resentment. I wish I could even doubt that he’s alive and that someone is playing a cruel trick, but there is no doubt in my mind about that. Years ago we recorded one of his phone calls and had the pattern of his voice compared to his voice from home movies. It was identical.

    All of this means that Mom and I dangle slowly in the wind, and, before Dad died in that burning inferno, it was that way for him, too. In all these years, I have never gone into a restaurant or theatre without my eyes automatically scanning to see if just maybe, by chance, I will run into him. Someone with a similar profile and sandy brown hair will demand a second look and, sometimes, close scrutiny. I remember more than once almost knocking people over to get close to someone who turned out to be a perfect stranger.

    All this was going through my mind as I set the volume of the phone on the loudest setting, got into bed, and tried to go to sleep. I guess I did fall into an uneasy doze because the jarring ring of the phone made me bolt up. I saw from the lighted dial on the clock that it was five minutes to three. With one hand I snapped on the bedside light and with the other grabbed the receiver. Mom had already picked up, and I heard her voice, breathless and nervous. “Hello, Mack.”

    “Hello, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.”

    His voice was resonant and confident. He sounds as though he doesn’t have a care in the world, I thought bitterly.

    As usual the sound of his voice shattered Mom. She began to cry. “Mack, I love you. I need to see you,” she begged. “I don’t care what trouble you may be in, what problems you have to solve, I’ll help you. Mack, for God’s sake, it’s been ten years. Don’t do this to me any longer. Please . . . please . . .”

    He never stayed on the phone for as long as a minute. I’m sure he knew that we would try to trace the call, but now that that technology is available, he always calls from one of those cell phones with a prepaid time card.

    I had been planning what I would say to him and rushed now to make him hear me out before he hung up. “Mack, I’m going to find you,” I said. “The cops tried and failed. So did the private investigator. But I won’t fail. I swear I won’t.” My voice had been quiet and firm, as I had planned, but then the sound of my mother crying sent me over the edge. “I’m going to track you down, you lowlife,” I shrieked, “and you’d better have an awfully good reason for torturing us like this.”

    I heard a click and knew that he had disconnected. I could have bitten my tongue off to take back the name I had called him, but, of course, it was too late.

    Knowing what I was facing, that Mom would be furious at me for the way I had screamed at Mack, I put on a robe and went down the hall to the suite that she and Dad had shared.

    Sutton Place is an upscale Manhattan neighborhood of town houses and apartment buildings overlooking the East River. My father bought this place after putting himself through Fordham Law School at night and working his way up to partner in a corporate law firm. Our privileged childhood was the result of his brains and the hard work ethic that was instilled in him by his widowed Scotch-Irish mother. He never allowed a nickel of the money my mother inherited to affect our lives.

    I tapped on the door and pushed it open. She was standing at the panoramic window that overlooked the East River. She did not turn, even though she knew I was there. It was a clear night, and to the left I could see the lights of the Queensboro Bridge. Even in this predawn hour, there was a steady stream of cars going back and forth across it. The fanciful thought crossed my mind that maybe Mack was in one of those cars and, having made his annual call, was now on his way to a distant destination.

    Mack had always loved travel; it was in his veins. My mother’s father, Liam O’Connell, was born in Dublin, educated at Trinity College, and came to the United States, smart, well-educated, and broke. Within five years he was buying potato fields in Long Island that eventually became the Hamptons, property in Palm Beach County, property on Third Avenue when it was still a dirty, dark street in the shadow of the elevated train track that hovered over it. That was when he sent for and married my grandmother, the English girl he had met at Trinity.

    My mother, Olivia, is a genuine English beauty, tall, still slender as a reed at sixty-two, with silver hair, blue-gray eyes, and classic features. In appearance, Mack was practically her clone.

    I inherited my father’s reddish brown hair, hazel eyes, and stubborn jaw. When my mother wore heels, she was a shade taller than Dad, and, like him, I’m just average height. I found myself yearning for him as I walked across the room and put my arm around my mother.

    She spun around, and I could feel the anger radiating from her. “Carolyn, how could you talk to Mack like that?” she snapped, her arms wrapped tightly across her chest. “Can’t you understand that there must be some terrible problem that is keeping him from us? Can’t you understand that he must be feeling frightened and helpless and that this call is a cry for understanding?”

    Before my father died, they often used to have emotional conversations like this. Mom, always protective of Mack, my father getting to the point where he was ready to wash his hands of it all and stop worrying. “For the love of God, Liv,” he would snap at Mom, “he sounds all right. Maybe he’s involved with some woman and doesn’t want to bring her around. Maybe he’s trying to be an actor. He wanted to be one when he was a kid. Maybe I was too tough on him, making him have summer jobs. Who knows?”

    They would end up apologizing to each other, Mom crying, Dad anguished and angry at himself for upsetting her.

    I wasn’t going to make a second mistake by trying to justify myself. Instead I said, “Mom, listen to me. Since we haven’t found Mack by now, he’s not worrying about my threat. Look at it this way. You’ve heard from him. You know he’s alive. He sounds downright upbeat. I know you hate sleeping pills, but I also know your doctor gave you a prescription. So take one now and get some rest.”

    I didn’t wait for her to answer me. I knew I couldn’t do any good by staying with her any longer because I was angry, too. Angry at her for railing at me, angry at Mack, angry at the fact that this ten-room duplex apartment was too big for Mom to live in alone, too filled with memories. She won’t sell it because she doesn’t trust that Mack’s annual telephone call would be bounced to a new location, and of course she reminds me that he had said one day he would turn the key in the lock and be home . . . Home. Here.

    I got back into bed, but sleep was a long way off. I started planning how I would begin to look for Mack. I thought about going to Lucas Reeves, the private investigator whom Dad hired, but then changed my mind. I was going to treat Mack’s disappearance as if it had happened yesterday. The first thing Dad did when we became alarmed about Mack was call the police and report him missing. I’d begin at the beginning.

    I knew people down at the courthouse, which also houses the District Attorney’s office. I decided that my search would begin there.

    Finally I drifted off and began to dream of following a shadowy figure who was walking across a bridge. Try as I would to keep him in sight, he was too fast for me, and when we reached land, I didn’t know which way to turn. But then I heard him calling me, his voice mournful and troubled. Carolyn, stay back, stay back.

    “I can’t, Mack,” I said aloud as I awakened. “I can’t.”

  • Meet the Author

    The number one New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has written thirty-five suspense novels; four collections of short stories; a historical novel, a memoir, two children's books, and most recently partnered with Alafair Burke to collaborate on a new series: The Under Suspicion novels. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, Clark has co-authored five more suspense novels. Her books are international bestsellers with more than one hundred million copies in print in the United States alone.

    Brief Biography

    Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York
    Date of Birth:
    December 24, 1929
    Place of Birth:
    New York, New York
    New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979

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    Where Are You Now? 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I've read every one of MHC's novels, and her latest "Where Are You Now?" rates high on my list as one of her most entertaining reads. I can't believe any one would call this novel predictable! I couldn't put it down wondering who was behind the tangled web of a myriad of mysteries that boiled down to one person I would least suspect. The characters and scenes were depicted perfectly, and MHC is back to her old self portraying the glitz and glamour of Manhattan's lifestyle coupled with gripping suspense. MHC is an amazing woman and I can't say enough good things about her writing style and the research she puts into her novels. She is my role model. Congratulations and keep up the good work! Just check it out and see.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Mary Higgins Clark is my favorote author without a doubt. She did not disappoint me in this book. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I didn't want to put it down.
    Book-Lover6 More than 1 year ago
    Where are you now is a great page turner keeping you guessing all the way 'til the end about who is the "bad guy". I thought it was well written and the characters stay with you even after you have finished the book. A must read if you like thrillers!!!
    Literary_Cass More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book. I bought it because I am a part of my school's Literary Club, and had to choose a bestseller. I am so glad that I chose this one! It is easy to understand and follow, but the ending is a real shocker! It has a sad ending, but you will love it. If you like her other books, or mystery novels in general, then you will love this book.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This was the first book that I've read by MHC. I really enjoyed it. Though I must say there were ALOT of characters in this book. This would definetly be a book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys mystery and suspense.
    harstan More than 1 year ago
    Over a decade ago Charles ¿Mack¿ Mackenzie Jr. disappeared while attending Columbia University with plans of going to Duke University law School after he graduated. However, since he vanished Mack has called his mother annually to wish her a Happy Mother¿s day and to let her know he is okay. Although he knows she became a widow on 9/11, he has not changed his annual routine as he tells her nothing else about where he is, what he is doing, and why he left. --- Mack¿s younger sister, Carolyn, a recent graduate of Duke Law School, informs him when he calls that she will find him to bring him home. However Mack leaves a note for his uncle, Father Devon Mackenzie of St. Francis church, to tell Carolyn to leave well enough alone and not seek him out. Carolyn becomes even more resolute to at least confront her older brother face to face to ask why. --- The queen of suspense is at her best with this riveting tale that has the audience enthralled with wondering why Mack vanished. Readers are hooked from the onset as we learn of the ¿vigil¿ that his mother and sister do starting midnight on Mother¿s Day Like Carolyn, fans want to know. The heroine¿s investigation is terrific as she begins to learn the truth why her brother vanished. Mary Higgins Clark provides her fans with an excellent family thriller. --- Harriet Klausner
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was a real page turner, I didn't want to put it down, good twist at the end. --K--
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed reading this. It kept me in suspense the whole time so I had trouble putting it down until I finished it. There were times that I got confused and had some trouble keeping track of what was going on, but overall it was a fantastic book!
    JEKteacher More than 1 year ago
    Other than always expecting the unexpected, Mary Higgins Clark's books are not predictable. Her characters are varied and interesting; her writing style is smooth and easy reading. The only complaint is that once I start I don't get much else done until I finish. I appreciate that she writes spell-binding stories without foul language, explicit sex, or gory details.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    Mary Higgins Clark is back in the groove with this gripping story of -- why did my brother disappear? Why does he only call on Mother's Day? This suspenseful story will leave you on the edge of your seat until the last page. I highly recommend this new book by Clark.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This book was absolutely wonderful!!!! All these years I can't believe Ive never read her books. I always thought she wrote romance for some reason. This was an excellent suspense novel!!! Highly recommend this book!!! You will be guessing the entire time!! great job Mary Higgins Clark! To think I met her not too long ago, had I known she was such a wonderful author I would have asked for an autograph!
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    cocoabubbles More than 1 year ago
    Slow start but good once I got going. Surprise ending though...
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