For every Mary Higgins Clark fan, I have to put a warning out: this thriller isn´t at all like the thrillers we are used to reading from her. There is no psychological finesse, no brilliant writing style and for sure no great characters. I don´t know if it´s only me if I am grown out of her way of writing, or whatever. This isn´t the first thriller of her I´ve read – but maybe the last. All her books were great if not fantastic reads for me, and I really had my pleasure with them. But this one? This one was a huge disappointment.

The Melody Lingers On*
by Mary Higgins Clark
Publisher Simon & Schuster on June 23, 2015
Genre Thriller
Pages 272
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

As the sole assistant to a famous upscale interior designer, Lane Harmon, mother to five-year-old Katie, is accustomed to visiting opulent homes around the tri-state area. A born optimist, Lane finds a glimpse into these gilded worlds fascinating and loves the reward of exceeding the expectations of their often-demanding owners. When she is called to assist in redecorating a modest townhouse in Bergen County, she knows the job is unusual. Then she learns the home belongs to the wife of a notorious and disgraced financier named Parker Bennett.
Parker Bennett has been missing for two years. He dropped out of sight just before it was discovered that the $5 billion dollars in the fund he had been managing had vanished. Bennett had gone out on his sailboat in the Caribbean. Was it suicide or had he staged his disappearance? The scandal around his name has not died down. His clients and the federal government all want to trace the money and find Bennett if he is still alive.
Lane is surprised to find herself moved by Mr. Bennett´s calm dignity and apparently sincere belief in her husband´s innocence. Gradually, Lane finds herself drawn to Eric, the Bennett´s son, who is similarly determined to prove that his father is not guilty. Lane doesn´t know that the closed she gets to the Bennetts, the more she puts her life – and her daughter´s life – in jeopardy.
Lane and her boss Glady work on the interior decoration of a house, where Anne Bennett will move in. After her husband Parker betrayed many people of their money and disappeared right after that, she is short of money and needs to move. When Lane meets her son Eric Bennett for the first time, she feels a certain connection to him and does something she hadn´t done in a long time: dating. But not everyone is happy to see them together. Many people believe that he´s done his share to help his father betray all those people. And after Lane helped her boss to change the interior decoration of the Countess de la Marco´s apartment, things change. Will Lane really get together with Eric?

The plot is nice, and could have been developed into a wonderful and entertaining story, but no. The Melody Lingers On is an almost boring read, the tone isn´t right and the strength and confidence that we´re so used to in her female protagonist are nowhere to find. At some point I felt like, this novel is a huge affront to Mary Higgins Clark. Presented with her name, yes, but without any of her inside. The story was so predictable, there was so less to no tension build and the end was so weak – seriously? What happened to the brilliance in her writing, her clear and powerful words, her way of surprising the reader and giving some twist and unexpected turns to the plot? Where was her fantastic way of describing her characters, of showing how they had to come to terms with whatever happened during the thriller? Since I know her books, I loved her soft but meaningful style. Her tone was pure fun for me and I always discovered something new on every page. In this thriller, you´ll find a lot of unnecessary things and I don´t know that from her.

The author is well known and famous for her self-confident, independent and well situated female main figures, which have made a nice career, live in a nice surrounding and have at some point in their life been treated very badly by it. Well, at least that one is given in this thriller.
Lane lost her husband after only a short year of marriage and has a little girl who´s never seen her father. She loves her work, but her boss is a dragon and when she starts to work on two different projects, she soon discovers how cruel not only life can be but also the press. What I found the most annoying about her was the “I don´t know what to do” sentence that I was reading on almost every fourth page.

But I missed the inner strength. Instead, Mary Higgins Clark created her figures very pale, insecure and so hesitant – it was … I have no further words …

This has been the worst thriller by Mary Higgins Clark I´ve ever read. For some reason I can´t get rid of the feeling, that this one wasn´t written by her – at least I have serious doubts. Maybe she´s done with her career as a writer, maybe this one was an exception and the next one will be great again, I don´t know. All I know is, I can´t recommend it. Sorry, but I just can´t.

Happy reading

*I read the German edition on October 26, 2015, by Heyne  

Mary Higgins Clark
©Gunther Gluecklich
Mary Higgins Clark, born 1928 in New York, lived and worked in Saddle River, New Jersey. She sold her first story 1956 for $100 to a magazine. After the sudden death of her husband in 1964 she wrote her first book, a biographical novel about George Washington. Her first suspense novel Where are the Children from 1975 meant a turning point in her life and carrier: He became a bestseller. She is #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, has written thirty-four suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel; two children´s books; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark she has coauthored five more suspense novels. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone. She is the most successful thriller author worldwide.


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