Where Are You Now?

Where Are You Now?

by Mary Higgins Clark

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416570882
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 03/24/2009
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 319,541
Product dimensions: 6.82(w) x 4.26(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has written thirty-seven suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a historical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has coauthored five more suspense novels, and also wrote The Cinderella Murder, All Dressed in White, The Sleeping Beauty Killer, and Every Breath You Take with bestselling author Alafair Burke. More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Her books are international bestsellers.

Hometown:

Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York

Date of Birth:

December 24, 1929

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Education:

New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979

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.”

  • Reading Group Guide

    Where Are You Now?
    Mary Higgins Clark

    Questions and Topics for Discussion

    1. Carolyn has a dream about Mack, “following a shadowy figure who was walking across a bridge. . . . I heard him calling me, his voice mournful and troubled. Carolyn, stay back, stay back.” (6) What do you think this dream means? Why must Carolyn “stay back?” What does the bridge symbolize?

    2. What role does media exposure play in Mack and Leesey’s cases? Does the media help or hinder the investigation? The killer freely admits, “I like the headlines.” (111) Why does he crave media attention? What steps does he take to keep Leesey and Mack in the headlines?

    3. Aaron Klein observes, “Elliott can’t mention Olivia MacKenzie’s name without getting stars in his eyes.” (56) Do you think Elliott genuinely loves Olivia, or is his affection another part of his false identity? Explain your answer.

    4. Carolyn confides in Nick about her mother, “Mack was always her favorite. He did everything right. I’m too impulsive for Mom’s taste.” (194) Do you think Carolyn is right about her mother’s preference? How does this belief fuel her determination to find Mack?

    5. Chapter 21 reveals the mind of the serial killer for the first time. What does the murderer’s perspective add to the novel?

    6. Carolyn carefully chooses her outfits throughout her investigation. In Martha’s Vineyard, for example, “I didn’t want to seem either overdressed or too casual. I wanted no sense of being Mack’s little sister when I saw Barbara.” (228) Why are appearances important to Carolyn? How are they crucial to Elliott, too?

    7. Why does Barbara hide her son’s paternity? Do you find her motives selfish or reasonable? After confronting Barbara about Mack’s son, Carolyn and Olivia agree “to wait until he is older to tell him the truth.” (288) Why do they consent to Barbara’s request? What is the appropriate age for this revelation?

    8. Carolyn reveals at the end of the novel, “Nick and I were married three months ago.” (289) How are Nick and Carolyn compatible? What, if anything, makes them an unlikely couple? Do you think Olivia MacKenzie approves of her new son-in-law? Why or why not?

    9. While you were reading, who was your first suspect in Leesey’s kidnapping? Did you switch to a different suspect over the course of the novel? Were you surprised when the murderer—and his uncle—were finally revealed?

    10. “Love or money . . . That’s what Lucas Reeves said were the causes of the majority of crimes.” (265) What is the cause of the crimes in Where Are You Now?—love or money? Or both?


    Enhance Your Book Club

    1. Mary Higgins Clark reveals how she gets her ideas: “I read an article in a newspaper or magazine, and for some reason it sticks in my mind.” (vii) Find an unsolved mystery in the newspaper and answer the same three questions Mary Higgins Clark asks herself: “Suppose? What if? Why?” Share an imaginary plot surrounding your chosen mystery with your book club!

    2. Print a copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, which Mack recites on tape for his acting class with Esther Klein. Read the sonnet aloud to your book group and discuss your interpretations. The sonnet can be found here: http://www.bartleby.com/70/50029.html.

    3. Get inspired by Leesey Andrews, who loves to dance, and take your book club to a local bar or club that features live music. Dance the night away, but don’t get into a stranger’s SUV at the end of the night!

    4. On a map of New York City, plot some of the sites from Where Are You Now?—Sutton Place, West End Avenue, Thompson Street, 104th and Riverside, and the district attorney’s office at 1 Hogan Place.

    5. Check out the real estate section of the newspaper and discuss the local market with your book club. Is it a good time to buy up properties, as Derek Olsen did in the 1960s, or to sell them off, as he does at the end of the novel?

    Introduction

    Introduction

    It's been ten years since twenty-one-year-old Charles "Mack" MacKenzie, Jr. went missing. A Columbia University senior, about to graduate and already enrolled in Duke University Law School, he walked out of his room in Manhattan's Upper West Side without a word to his roommates and has never been seen again. However, he makes 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, and hangs up. Even the death of his father on 9/11 does not bring him home.

    Mack's sister Carolyn, now twenty six, is a law school graduate applying to work as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. She has endured two family tragedies: her brother's inexplicable disappearance and the loss of her father. Realizing that neither she nor her mother will ever get on with their lives without some answers, she sets out to discover what happened to Mack, and why he finds it necessary to hide from them.

    Carolyn's pursuit of the truth about Mack's disappearance swiftly plunges her into a world of unexpected changes and ultimately into a deadly confrontation with someone close to her who suddenly becomes an enemy — and cannot allow her to disclose his secret...

    Discussion Questions:

    1. Carolyn has a dream about Mack, "following a shadowy figure who was walking across a bridge....I heard him calling me, his voice mournful and troubled. Carolyn, stay back, stay back." (6) What do you think this dream means? Why must Carolyn "stay back?" What does the bridge symbolize?

    2. What role does media exposure play in Mack and Leesey's cases? Does the media help or hinderthe investigation? The killer freely admits, "I like the headlines." (111) Why does he crave media attention? What steps does he take to keep Leesey and Mack in the headlines?

    3. Aaron Klein observes, "Elliott can't mention Olivia MacKenzie's name without getting stars in his eyes." (56) Do you think Elliott genuinely loves Olivia, or is his affection another part of his false identity? Explain your answer.

    4. Carolyn confides in Nick about her mother, "Mack was always her favorite. He did everything right. I'm too impulsive for Mom's taste." (194) Do you think Carolyn is right about her mother's preference? How does this belief fuel her determination to find Mack?

    5. Chapter 21 reveals the mind of the serial killer for the first time. What does the murderer's perspective add to the novel?

    6. Carolyn carefully chooses her outfits throughout her investigation. In Martha's Vineyard, for example, "I didn't want to seem either overdressed or too casual. I wanted no sense of being Mack's little sister when I saw Barbara." (228) Why are appearances important to Carolyn? How are they crucial to Elliott, too?

    7. Why does Barbara hide her son's paternity? Do you find her motives selfish or reasonable? After confronting Barbara about Mack's son, Carolyn and Olivia agree "to wait until he is older to tell him the truth." (288) Why do they consent to Barbara's request? What is the appropriate age for this revelation?

    8. Carolyn reveals at the end of the novel, "Nick and I were married three months ago." (289) How are Nick and Carolyn compatible? What, if anything, makes them an unlikely couple? Do you think Olivia MacKenzie approves of her new son-in-law? Why or why not?

    9. While you were reading, who was your first suspect in Leesey's kidnapping? Did you switch to a different suspect over the course of the novel? Were you surprised when the murderer — and his uncle — were finally revealed?

    10. "Love or money...That's what Lucas Reeves said were the causes of the majority of crimes." (265) What is the cause of the crimes in Where Are You Now? — love or money? Or both?

    Enhance Your Book Club:

    1. Mary Higgins Clark reveals how she gets her ideas: "I read an article in a newspaper or magazine, and for some reason it sticks in my mind." (vii) Find an unsolved mystery in the newspaper and answer the same three questions Mary Higgins Clark asks herself: "Suppose? What if? Why?" Share an imaginary plot surrounding your chosen mystery with your book club!

    2. Print a copy of Shakespeare's Sonnet 29, which Mack recites on tape for his acting class with Esther Klein. Read the sonnet aloud to your book group and discuss your interpretations. The sonnet can be found here: http://www.bartleby.com/70/50029.html.

    3. Get inspired by Leesey Andrews, who loves to dance, and take your book club to a local bar or club that features live music. Dance the night away, but don't get into a stranger's SUV at the end of the night!

    4. On a map of New York City, plot some of the sites from Where Are You Now? — Sutton Place, West End Avenue, Thompson Street, 104th and Riverside, and the district attorney's office at 1 Hogan Place.

    5. Check out the real estate section of the newspaper and discuss the local market with your book club. Is it a good time to buy up properties, as Derek Olsen did in the 1960s, or to sell them off, as he does at the end of the novel?

    Mary Higgins Clark's books are world-wide bestsellers. In the U.S. alone, her books have sold over one hundred million copies.

    She is the author of twenty-eight previous suspense novels. Her first book, a biographical novel about George Washington, was re-issued with the title, Mount Vernon Love Story, in June 2002. Her memoir, Kitchen Privileges, was published by Simon & Schuster in November 2002. Her first children's book, Ghost Ship, illustrated by Wendell Minor, was published in April 2007 as a Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

    She is co-author, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, of five holiday suspense novels Deck the Halls (2000), He Sees You When You're Sleeping (2001), The Christmas Thief (2004), Santa Cruise (2006), and Dashing through the Snow (2008).

    Mary Higgins Clark was chosen by Mystery Writers of America as Grand Master of the 2000 Edgar Awards. An annual Mary Higgins Clark Award sponsored by Simon & Schuster, to be given to authors of suspense fiction writing in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition, was launched by Mystery Writers of America during Edgars week in April 2001. She was the 1987 president of Mystery Writers of America and, for many years, served on their Board of Directors. In May 1988, she was Chairman of the International Crime Congress.

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    Where Are You Now? 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 154 reviews.
    lordofbooks More than 1 year ago
    Suspenseful. Keeps one guessing. did not disappoint.
    BelieverinbooksJB More than 1 year ago
    it was fun trying to place predictions on who was doing the kidnapping murders..kinda like agatha christie..it was easy reading that kept you glued to find out more..the writer was good at trying to make it look like everyone could had had motive or opportunity and such..it was great..
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I couldnt put this book down. I grab my interest immediately.
    MsTiptress More than 1 year ago
    After doing a little thinking I had to change my original 3 stars to 2. I use to read Clark back in middle school and I see now why I haven't not picked up a book by her in a while Although the mystery was good, the style of writing to me was just a little under adult almost made this a YA read for me. It was so... plain (if that's the best way I can describe it) The ending made it worse. I try to figure out who the bad guy is in all the mysteries and in this one there were no clues, hints or anything that I could try and guess it. And to find out in the end who really did the killing I was like No freaking way.. How was he able to do that and why. I still don't really understand why. .... This is a I have nothing else to read and I need to read something now!!
    jencrn More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book, once I started it... I couldn't put it down! I never saw the ending coming! Well done MHC, another outstanding "who done it"!
    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.
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    Fast paced, can't put it down until the mystery is revealed
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    Great suspense. Kept me wanting to turn the next page.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A really, really good mystery!!!
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    A real page turner. One of my favorites.