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Just Take My Heart: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – March 23, 2010


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141657087X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416570875
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this intense novel of suspense from bestseller Clark (Where Are You Now?), the obvious suspect in the shooting murder of famous actress Natalie Raines at her Closter, N.J., home is her husband and theatrical agent, Gregg Aldrich, whom she was divorcing. Gregg never wavers from his innocent plea, but Bergen County assistant prosecutor Emily Wallace nails his conviction thanks to the evidence of an ex-con, who testifies Gregg tried to hire him to kill Natalie. Clark neatly details the courtroom proceedings, though of more dramatic interest is a subplot involving oddball serial killer Zach Lanning, who's been stalking Emily while pretending to be a good neighbor. Clark slowly reveals that Emily's recent heart transplant has given the attorney extra sensitivity to Natalie's past. As Emily's doubts about Gregg's guilt grow, the action hurtles to a surprising if abrupt resolution. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Intense . . . the action hurtles to a surprising resolution.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A must-read for mystery enthusiasts.”
—Tucson Citizen

“Fans will be as excited as ever coming down the home stretch.”
—Kirkus Reviews

More About the Author

If I were to define myself in one sentence, I would say, "I'm a nice Irish Catholic girl from the Bronx."

I was a Christmas Eve baby all those years ago, the second of the three children of Nora and Luke Higgins. Mother was pushing forty when they married and my father was forty-two. My older brother was named Joseph. Nineteen months later I, Mary, was born. Three and a half years later, my little brother, John, came along.

We lived in a very nice section of the Bronx on a street off Pelham Parkway. I loved our house. I still love it. After my father died, when I was eleven, my mother had to sell it.

I went to Saint Francis Xavier Grammar School. Two years ago I went back and was Principal for a Day. Escorted by two of the tiniest children, I was led into the auditorium while the whole student body sang "Hello Mary. You're back where you belong." I still tear up thinking about it.

I was awarded a scholarship to Villa Maria Academy which is in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, otherwise I couldn't have afforded to set foot in it.

I went to Woods Secretarial School and at eighteen had my first full-time job as Secretary to the creative director of Remington Rand's in-house advertising agency. If I were making that choice now I would have gone to college even though God knows we needed the income. On the other hand the three years I spent in Remington Rand was a tutorial in advertising which served me well when I was widowed with five small children. Another plus was that I left Remington to be a flight stewardess with Pan American Airways and when my contemporaries were seniors in college, I was flying to Europe, Africa and Asia.

Warren Clark and I were married on December 26, 1949 and had five children in the next eight years; Marilyn, Warren, David, Carol and Patricia. Warren died of a heart attack in 1964. The highest compliment I can pay my kids are that they are like him.

I sold my first short story when I was twenty-eight. It was alled 'Stowaway'. It had been rejected forty times before a magazine in Chicago bought it for one hundred dollars.

My first book was about George Washington. It was published in 1969 and disappeared without a trace. Three years ago Simon and Schuster co-published it with the Mount Vernon Historical Society and retitled 'Mount Vernon Love Story', it became a bestseller.

My first suspense novel 'Where Are the Children' was bought in 1974 for three thousand dollars by Simon and Schuster. Thirty-three books later, I'm still with S&S.

Time to wind up - at least for the present. As soon as I sold 'Children' I enrolled in Fordham College. Went there for five years at night and earned a B.A. in Philosophy. Summa cum laude, if you please.

I never thought I'd marry again but ten years ago I threw a cocktail party on St. Patrick's day. My daughter, Pat, urged me to invite John Conheeney. Her opening words about him were, "Have I got a hunk for you!" He came to the party and we were married eight months later.

I'm Honorary Chairman of FraXa Research. My grandson, David, has the Fragile X syndrome, which is the second leading cause of retardation after Downs Syndrome. Basically the brain of the people who have it can't send out the proper signals because there's a kind of short circuit in the synapses that carry the signals. We raise money for research with the goal of finding a medication that will work around that short circuit. I go all over the country to the fund-raisers as new chapters of FraXa are opened.

I'm always asked to name my favorite book. They're ALL my favorites. If there is one book that is very special to me, it is my memoir 'Kitchen Privileges' because writing it made me relive my early life including those first struggles to become a writer. I think 'Kitchen Privileges' is both tender and funny and it's me.

Customer Reviews

Just finished reading this book yesterday.
BettyJoan Smith
This is a fun book to read, that will keep readers interested until the very end.
Happy Chappy
The ending is action packed but was just a little too bizarre for me.
T. Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Amy Y. TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mary Higgins Clark knows how to enthrall, that's for sure!

The book starts off fairly standard- Gregg is indicted for murdering his estranged wife Natalie Raines, a successful actress. We get a brief glimpse of Natalie through her mother's eyes. She describes her daughter as having stardust clinging to her. The book follows the preparations of Emily Wallace, the assistant prosecutor who is on the case.

A side plot grabbed me in the beginning- Emily's neighbor offers to care for her dog with the intent of gaining access to her house with the nefarious intent of 'touching everything she wore'. It's not long before Emily realizes there is something creepy about Zach.

The book continues on, following the trial, which reveals the details of the crime little by little. Emily is 'young and beautiful' but also smart and leveraging a strong case against the defendant.

About a quarter of the way into the book we get a big twist- Emily, the tough assistant prosecutor, has had a heart transplant after losing her husband in Iraq. The rest of the book unfolds in a very interesting way (which you'll just have to read to find out)centering around the idea of certain 'memories' from the original donor being brought along with a transplanted organ. Just whose heart does Emily have?

I have been reading Mary Higgins Clark for years and she delivers a great murder mystery, yet again, just this time with a very interesting twist.

This is not a difficult read or perhaps 'great literature' but it is highly entertaining. It is a quick and easy read, very enjoyable once you get into into it (took me a couple of chapters to build momentum simply because of the character view point switches).
Read more ›
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Ann Maniuszko on April 13, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Mary Higgins Clark has always been my most famous author ... once I started a book of hers, I was hooked and couldn't put it down until I was finished (usually in a single day). This book just didn't do it for me as it was too mundane. In the past, MHC's books always left me guessing right up to the very end ... this book held little suspense for me. I thought the side plot with the serial murderer neighbor to be the best part. Yes, Emily is a special character and you like her from the beginning ... she's the kind of lawyer I would want if I ever needed one. Her tenacity helps her uncover things that were covered up and justice gets served in the end. Others loved this book but I was hoping for another "The Stranger Is Watching" or "Where Are The Children" ... I miss that kind of masterful suspense.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Meyers on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First, I have to say that I am not a great fan of this author but her books make for good vacation reading. For me, this book had a good plot and enough sub-plots to keep the reader interested. I especially liked the serial killer theme. Whenever was a serial killer boring?

I could not rate the book higher, however, based on the courtroom materials. In my occupation, I am frequently called as an expert witness so I spend a good deal of time in court, in chambers, and in conferences with attorneys. Clark, in building up the Emily character, seemed to go well beyond the bounds of believability. There is no way an inexperienced prosecuting attorney should have been able to waltz around a team of lawyers, one of whom with many years of practice. The defense attorney was so weak, that a mistrial could have been called. Emily got away with much too much latitude in her questioning and the defense never pulled apart the obvious loop holes in her argument. The guy should have been more ready to object to her offensive behavior. The leg work done at the appeal should all have been considered the first time around. I would love to have written the cross examination myself!

The whole heart thing also seemed pretty weak. It really was not a major issue in the story and seemed to be simply a tag-on. Why it rated mention in the title is beyond me. Furthermore, Clark should have done more research in organ transplant. It is impossible to believe that anyone in an office could have had a heart transplant without the knowledge of others. In the course of a transplant, a person is not gone a few days/weeks and returns like they were on vacation without someone knowing. Even the anti-rejection drugs which might be taken for months if not years have noticeable effects including a change in appearance. Come on Mary, your background work was flawed and although it is fiction, it has to be somewhat credable.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on May 5, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
I always buy MHC's books when they come out and whiz through them when I have a few hours on a weekend. Her last few books have been a bit disappointing and this one was actually hard to finish because it was so bad. It was completely predictable; the heart transplant story added nothing to the plot and the characters were largely underdeveloped. I enjoy a light mystery, but this one lacked substance and felt particularly contrived.

Skip it (or borrow from the library).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on April 11, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm surprised to see so many positive reviews of this book. MHC is one of my most favorite authors, but I thought this may've been her weakest book ever.

The first half was nothing more than a trial, which probably could've been condensed to a few chapters, in order to tell an actual story. Instead, it came across as some kind of true crime novel. And since we never really got to know Gregg, it was hard to invest in his trial or the outcome because there didn't seem to be any kind of payoff no matter how the jury ruled.

The Zach storyline seemed like it was just tossed in there to fill a word count. The two storylines had nothing whatsoever to do with each other, which made the jumping back and forth between them a choppy read.

And finally, everything was really easy to figure out, which is unusual for a MHC book. The murderer, the connection, etc. -- it all seemed very forced in order to make it happen.

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come from one of the best writers of our generation.
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