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Piece of My Heart


Piece of My Heart

PIECE OF MY HEART starts off with a bang: a missing child, a postponed wedding and a convicted murderer accusing her father of falsifying a confession. This throws Laurie Moran, whose investigative television show “Under Suspicion” focuses on unsolved crimes, into a frenzy of work and fear.

In this last book by Mary Higgins Clark, who passed away 10 months before its publication, co-writer Alafair Burke offers a lovely tribute to the prolific and venerable author. It’s just one of many, for Clark is known not only for her superb mysteries and her wonderful ability to create memorable characters. She also is remembered and loved for her kindness and her determination to give each book her very best efforts, and to engage with her readers even past the point that she needed to do so for publicity’s sake.

"The ending is clearly what Clark and Burke had cleverly foreshadowed, but it is also filled with unpredictable turns and some unexpected emotion."

PIECE OF MY HEART boasts characters who give us a glimpse into Clark’s own life. She had known the loss of a spouse, and it might be that insight that allows us to clearly see Laurie’s grief over the death of her first husband even as she continues to work, provide for her son Timmy, and find love again with Alex Buckley, an attorney and the former host of “Under Suspicion.” Now they are preparing to marry, and Laurie’s small family is thrilled --- until fate intervenes.

It’s just a few days before the wedding. While on the beach in the Hamptons, preparing to celebrate Alex’s birthday with both their extended families, his seven-year-old nephew Johnny disappears. It’s quickly apparent that he didn’t just wander off, and everyone races to figure out his whereabouts. As with any worthwhile mystery, there are possibilities aplenty. Laurie’s father Leo is part of the NYPD top brass, but he stands accused of lying about a murder confession that put a Vassar student behind bars almost two decades previously. DNA evidence appears to irrefutably contradict Leo’s statement. But what sly maneuvers might the charismatic, intelligent felon have pulled off to manipulate the evidence and put pressure on Leo, all in his attempt to get out of jail?

Laurie also realizes that Johnny’s disappearance could be related to one of the crimes that she investigated for her show. Johnny looks very much like Timmy and could have been mistaken for him. Or is it aimed at Alex, who was just named a federal judge? There are countless avenues to investigate, and we get to ride along as we learn about each scenario from different characters’ points of view.

The ending is clearly what Clark and Burke had cleverly foreshadowed, but it is also filled with unpredictable turns and some unexpected emotion. The story deals with the subjects of adoption and, in a very sensitive manner, mental illness. PIECE OF MY HEART would be a fabulous book club choice because the authors write so thoughtfully about family, love and sacrifice.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on November 24, 2020

Piece of My Heart
by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

  • Publication Date: September 28, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • ISBN-10: 1982132558
  • ISBN-13: 9781982132552