A thriller that could have become one of the best books the author ever wrote if she wouldn´t have put some pages in it that seems to rather stretch than give the reader the feeling that they were necessary for the story and plot. I read it some years back and still can say that it shows you the best and worst a human can show you. The psychological finesse is fantastic and the plot very thrilling. Why I didn´t give it the full rating despite my opinion? Keep reading and you will find out.

No Place Like Home
by Mary Higgins Clark 
Publisher Pocket Books on March 25, 2008
Genre Thriller
Pages 496
Format Mass Market Paperback
Source Library

At the age of ten, Liza Barton shot her mother, trying desperately to protect her from her estranged stepfather, Ted Cartwright. Despite his claim that the shooting was a deliberate act, the Juvenile Court ruled the death an accident. Many people, however, agreed with Cartwright, and the tabloids compared the child to the infamous murderess Lizzie Borden, pointing even to the similarity of their names. To erase her past, her adoptive parents change her name to Celia. At age twenty-eight, a successful interior designer in Manhattan, she marries a childless sixty-year-old widower, Laurence Foster, and they have a son. Before their marriage, she reveals to him her true identity. Two years later, on his deathbed, he makes her swear never to tell anyone so that their son, Jack, will not carry the stigma of her past. Two years later, Celia is happily remarried. Her peace of mind is shattered when her new husband surprises her with a gift – the house where she killed her mother. And it soon becomes clear that there is someone in the community who knows Celia. More and more, there are signs that someone in the community knows Celia´s true identity. When the real estate agent who sold them, the house is brutally murdered and Celia is the first on the crime scene, she becomes a suspect. As she fights to prove her innocence, she has no idea that she and her son, Jack, are now the targets of a killer. 
As a ten-year-old girl, Liza wants to hurry to help her mother and protect her from her attacking stepfather. But instead of protecting the mother, she accidentally shoots her. What follows is a nightmare that never seems to end. Liza is adopted by distant relatives of her biological father and leads an almost normal life. But that changed 24 years later when her second husband, Alex Nolan, gave her a very special birthday present: the house where the tragedy happened. Liza, who has never told her husband about her past or her true identity moves into the house with agitated feelings. But the nightmare started again on the day of the move-in, and soon Liza found herself involved in several murder cases, facing an intrusive detective and confronted with a prosecutor who she did not know whether he was kind to her or not.

The plot of this thriller is once written in the personal narrative style when it comes to the events around the main events, and in the first-person perspective of protagonist Liza Barton. As a result, Mary Higgins Clark gave the plot a special touch and something fascinating.

Right from the start, even in the prologue, the reader is right in the middle of the action and the pace is rapid. After the prologue, the plot takes a leap of around twenty-four years and the reader is right in the middle and at a high reading pace again. Only in the middle of the book does the pace slow down and it gets a bit lengthy at times, which I didn´t like so much. In the last third of the story, the plot and the pace suddenly pick up again and the author comes up with the solution fairly quickly, and logically. The chapters are mainly determined by the dialogue that drives the plot well, and in Mary Higgins Clark´s very own style they are relatively short.

Like almost all her characters, the author has clearly and simply outlined her figures in this thriller, gradually introducing them to the reader, but still leaving enough room for your own fantasy and imagination. Mary Higgins Clark has cleverly played with contrasts and opposites within her characters as well as between the figures. One of the supporting personalities, an annoying and absolute gossip base, was so beautifully staged by the author that it was a real pleasure to read the exchange of blows between this and the other characters while reading.

For thriller fans a wonderfully exciting reading experience with a sophisticated plot and interesting characters.

Happy reading

Mary Higgins Clark
Mary Higgins Clark ©Gunther Glücklich

Mary Higgins Clark, born in 1928 in New York, lived and worked in Saddle River, New Jersey. She sold her first story in 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 career: 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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