3.5 star, adult

Review: Piece of My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

In the latest thrilling collaboration from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, television producer Laurie Moran must solve the kidnapping of her fiancée’s nephew—just days before her wedding.

Television producer Laurie Moran and her fiancée, Alex Buckley, the former host of her investigative television show, are just days away from their mid-summer wedding, when things take a dark turn. Alex’s seven-year-old nephew, Johnny, vanishes from the beach. A search party begins and witnesses recall Johnny playing in the water and collecting shells behind the beach shack, but no one remembers seeing him after the morning. As the sun sets, Johnny’s skim board washes up to shore, and everyone realizes that he could be anywhere, even under water.

A ticking clock, a sinister stalker, and fresh romance combine in this exhilarating follow up to the bestselling You Don’t Own Me—another riveting page-turner from the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and her dazzling partner-in-crime Alafair Burke.

“Queen of Suspense” is totally correct! While I haven’t read her works before, Mary Higgins Clark definitely does a great job of stretching out the tension and building upon it throughout an entire novel. At moments she lets the tension go a bit slack just to reel you in, before snapping it right back taut. Masterfully manipulated suspense was definitely one of my thoughts as I read through this thriller.

Piece of My Heart centres around a few parallel plotlines, multiple families, each experiencing some sort of tragic loss. The novel takes us through the journey of how these families recover from the tragedies of their past and move forward, all within the suspense of a kidnapping. Many questions are posed from the beginning, and the layers of suspense grows and grows from the beginning all the way to the climax and the denouement.

I’ll admit that at first, the story was a little bit hard to get into. Immediately in the first few chapters we are hit with many names, many characters, with whom we share no connection, and it is difficult to grasp onto anything concrete. Luckily, the suspense is imminently palpable, and the story is intriguing, which kept me reading forward. The pacing of the suspense really is well-crafted. My only real gripe is the bombardment of characters from the beginning, I feel like I could’ve been eased in a little bit more gently.

Most characters in this story are quite high-profile: lawyers, federal judges, high ranking police, etc., which makes it a bit unique, in my opinion. Usually only a lawyer or a sympathetic police here and there will be present, but this thriller really takes the stakes to a whole new level. It reminds us that even people with such professions are not safe from their own cases that they deal with day in and day out.

There are many POVs in this book, but I didn’t find this to be too confusing (after the initial shock). This kind of “panoramic” view of the characters in the book really provided a whole other level of suspense. Usually we know nothing about what is happening with the kidnapper and the abductee. But in this book, we literally get a POV from almost every party involved. I felt that this was well done, and I enjoyed that it really allowed for the suspense to seep through every aspect of the story. The anxiety of the family who lost their child, but also the anxiety of the child who was kidnapped – it is just so haunting to see both parties suffering simultaneously.

Overall, I really enjoyed this thriller. There was a good plot, with good twists and the use of suspense was expertly done. It may be a bit confusing at first with all the POVs but I felt like the rest of the book really ameliorated this setback. If you enjoy this kind of third person semi-omniscience view, you’ll definitely have a blast with this one!

Overall Recommendations

Piece of My Heart is a thriller that follows multiple families, each with a tragic past. Their current struggle starts when one of their children is kidnapped, during the weekend getaway of an upcoming wedding, no less. Many characters and plotlines are expertly woven together in this story, complicating the situation at every turn. Just who is responsible for this kidnapping, and what is their motive? Find out all the answers in this elaborate twist of a thriller!


3 thoughts on “Review: Piece of My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke”

  1. This looks pretty good! I’m big on suspense and Clark delivers.
    Also, great review, thanks so much for sharing it!
    It’s always nice when you find out authors you already like have new material!

    Liked by 1 person

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