In case you missed last week’s post, I’ve decided to go back to a weekly schedule with individual reviews beginning next week. In the meantime, here are the second half of my May book reviews.
Pretend You Don’t See Her
I got hooked on reading Mary Higgins-Clark back in the 1970s when I picked up a copy of Where Are The Children from my favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore. (Those were the days!) Recently, I learned that her books are now on Kindle Unlimited. If you’re a fan, now is the time to catch up on the ones you’ve missed, or like me, reread some you’ve enjoyed in the past.
I first read Pretend You Don’t See Her when it was released in the late 1990s. I had forgotten a lot of things, so I was eager to read it again.
Lacey Farrell is a Manhattan real estate agent. She receives a call from a woman named Isabelle Waring about listing her deceased daughter’s apartment. Isabelle is obsessed over Heather’s death, convinced it isn’t an accident, much to the dismay of her ex-husband, Heather’s father.
When Lacey shows the high-rise to a prospective buyer, Isabelle tells her she’s changed her mind about selling it. Later, when Lacey agrees to meet the woman to discuss the matter, she arrives at the apartment to find Isabelle has been shot and the killer still inside. Lacey narrowly misses death herself when she hides in a closet while the perpetrator leaves.
As Isabelle lies dying, she gives Lacey her daughter’s journal, pleading with her to give it to Heather’s father. She reluctantly agrees and justifies her decision to withhold it from the police as a way to keep her promise to a dying woman. What’s worse, Lacey can identify the killer, which puts her in grave danger.
She ends up in the Witness Protection Program and is relocated to Minnesota. But is she safe there? When she tells her worried mother she’s in Minneapolis during a secure phone call, Mona Farrell vows to keep it a secret, but inadvertently leaves clues as to Lacey’s whereabouts.
It’s a race against time for the feds and the Manhattan police to find the murderer and bring him to justice before Lacey ends up being his next victim.
Despite the changes in writing styles since the 90s, I enjoyed this book. The pacing is good, and suspense is weaved throughout. I also find it refreshing that MHC’s books don’t have a lot of gore and foul language, something that is often overdone in today’s novels. I recommend Pretend You Don’t See Her if you enjoy reading a lighter mystery.
Continuing with book eight of the Cork O’Connor series.
Kristie Reinhardt, the daughter of an Aurora businessman, dies from meth addiction. Her father vows to get revenge against the prime suspect Lonnie Thunder, who is a member of an Ojibwe gang known as the Red Boyz. Alexander Kingbird, the gang’s leader calls on Cork to deliver a message to Kristie’s father promising him justice.
By the following morning, Alexander and his wife are dead—shot execution-style. The Red Boyz suspect Buck Reinhardt, and tensions begin to mount between the whites and the Ojibwe. Cork is caught in the middle, and Lonnie Thunder has disappeared. Will Cork be able to locate him before there are more deaths or all-out war?
The plot of this book is a little more complicated in that there are several things happening. Potential drug trafficking by the Red Boyz. Kingbird’s younger brother, a classmate of Cork’s daughter Annie, is bullied at school. A sniper kills Buck Reinhardt. A house belonging to the mother of one of the Red Boyz burns to the ground at the hands of an arsonist.
While there is plenty of tension and action, I had a couple of issues, one of which is Cork’s involvement in a Tribal matter. (I won’t say what to avoid a spoiler.) There was a surprise ending that almost seemed to be an afterthought as there were few clues pointing in that direction.
Lastly, the final chapter looks into the future and “tells” the reader about a major decision in Annie O’Connor’s life. I would have much rather learned this in one of the following books.
The Fallen Man
Okay, maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but this was my first time reading anything by Tony Hillerman. It won’t be my last. This is the second book I’ve read this month that was first published in the 1990s.
The Fallen Man is book twelve of Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee series, but I found it worked as a stand-alone novel.
There are two mysteries to unfold. The first begins when climbers find human remains on Shiprock or Tse Bit’ a’i in the Navajo language. It turns out the skeleton belonged to a man who had vanished over a decade earlier. Did he fall to his death or was it murder?
Retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is hired by the man’s family to investigate. When a Navajo guide dies from a sniper’s bullet, Leaphorn becomes convinced the incidents are related. He had worked on the missing person’s case years earlier, so he has a vested interest in solving the crime.
Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee has his own issues to deal with. His captain wants him to investigate a string of cattle thefts in the area. He has to deal with Dick Finch, a New Mexico brand inspector. Finch is arrogant and rubs Chee in the wrong way. Chee is determined, with the help of Officer Bernadette Manuelito to learn the identity of the rustler before Finch does.
The story is well-paced and keeps the reader in suspense. While this was my first introduction to the main characters, I had no problems connecting with them. After reading The Fallen Man, I’m interested in the other books of the series.
That’s it for this week’s reviews. I’ll be back next week with another review.