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on April 12, 2012
I am a huge fan of Mary Higgins Clark's earlier work. I can vividly remember staying up until dawn to finish "A Cry in the Night" and "Where are the Children?". I think the last book of hers I really loved was "Remember Me". They are the kind that you don't really want to read if you're alone in the house, and they guaranteed chills.

Sadly, I think that the either the time has come that she should consider retiring (she is in her eighties, after all) or possibly her daughter is writing these books (and she does NOT have her mother's talent). This story is readable but I really didn't care who did it. I read it because I read all her books, but her last several have been just meh.
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on April 19, 2012
I have been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark since I read her first book many years ago. I have enjoyed them all. But her latest book was a huge disappointment. To me, the writing simply felt tired. The characters were flat, the plot was thin, the dialog was dull and the suspense that I have come to expect in the Higgins books was non-existent.

I'm usually empathetic with the heroine but this time I found her to be somewhat annoying and childish. The supporting cast was poorly developed and, frankly, I wasn't all that interested in them. I agree with another reviewer that the addition of Alvirah and Willy was a surprise. They have never been favorite characters of mine and their presence in this book seemed out of place, almost to the point of being unnecessary.

I haven't given up on Mary Higgins Clark. I'm hopeful her next book will be back to her usual high standards, with interesting characters and a suspenseful and well-thought out plot.
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on April 5, 2012
As I was reading this book, I felt a strong sense of sympathy for the heroine, Mariah. Her mother had been suffering from Alzheimer's for several years; my late mother had it as well, so I understood how hard it is to be a son, daughter, or spouse of someone with the disease. Although I understood why Mariah resented the fact that her father was in love with another, younger woman, I could also sympathize with him because he could never have the woman he loved back the way she had been. That facet of the book alone made it fascinating to me.

It was good to see Alvirah & Willy again, especially now that I see Kathy Najimy's face on Alvirah. I also enjoyed reading about Wally and his unique scheme for (almost) foolproof burglaries.

On the negative side, I did not really feel I knew her father's four male friends that well. Although they were the main suspects, they weren't well drawn.

However, it's a fast read and a pleasant one (except for thinking about the Alzheimer's). I'm glad I bought it.
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on April 4, 2012
I always look forward to a new Mary Higgins Clark novel and I have never been disappointed.........before this book. It lacks the character development that is usually a trademark of hers. Alvirah and Willy are in this novel and add nothing to it - just copies of their involvement in earlier novels. Definitely not a page turner and definitely not a book that I would ever recommend. Hard to believe this was truly written by Mary Higgins Clark.
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on April 3, 2012
In 1474 A.D. Pope Sixtus IV ordered the destruction of the Joseph of Arimathea Parchment; the only known letter written by Jesus, because he believes the document was a fake. Instead it was snuck out of the Vatican and disappeared for over five centuries.

In the current day, Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the original Arimathea Parchment. He obtains affirmation from peers and shows it proudly to close friends. Jonathan's twenty something daughter Mariah comes home to find her father dead from a bullet in the head and her mom Kathleen, suffering from Alzheimer's, inside a closet holding the murder weapon and blood splattered all over her. The police believe Kathleen murdered her husband because in her lucid moments she knew Jonathan was having an affair and there are times when she is violent. While her mom is locked away in a psych ward, initially a depressed Mariah accepts the horrid conclusion that her mom killed her dad, but once the fog lifts from her mind, she logically begins to wonder whether the motive was the Joseph of Arimathea Parchment.

Once again Mary Higgins Clark affirms why she is the "Queen of Suspense" with this exciting biblical archeological thriller. The evidence points increasingly towards her mom as the murderer, but with help from friends Wiley and Alvirah, the dispirited heroine starts to find other viable suspects as she seeks someone filled with pride and avarice; but even then Mariah still lacks proof. Ms. Clark has another winner for her readers to enjoy getting us there with this entertaining taut tale in which the suspense spins from family violence to biblical archeological violence.

Harriet Klausner
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on April 10, 2012
If I had known that this was an Alvirah and Willy book I doubt if I would have ordered it. The idea of this lady super sleuth running around solving murders makes the book lose any credibility it might have had. The fact that the police allow it is even more ridiculous. The assumption is that winning a great deal of money automatically makes you brilliant.

The theme of priceless tapistries is an old one which has been done many times before.

Having dealt with dementia in my family makes me sympathetic to the main character in this book. The hopeless condition of once brilliant people is heartbreaking to loved ones, knowing that there is no cure and that each day the condition worsens makes this disease so tragic. This aspect of the book was well done.

Having said all that, I thought that this book lacked substance as compared with MHC of past times. It was not bad,nor was it great. There were some interesting moments but the outcome was no surprise from the getgo and the characters lacked depth
The beginning of this book dragged a bit but it did get better.This was an entertaining,rather mindless read that just did not do it for me.
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VINE VOICEon April 9, 2012
Mary Higgins Clark's latest suspense novel, "The Lost Years", plays on the popular fictional theme of significant religious documents. In Clark's book, historic document expert Professor Jonathan Lyons is found murdered in his study after authenticating what he believes is a letter written by Jesus Christ to Joseph of Arimathea. The letter has been rumored to exist, but has been lost, for centuries. If real, the letter is invaluable. Lyons' may -- or may not -- have told a small group of friends, all with an interest or an expertise in such documents, about his precious find. But the detectives investigating Lyons' death almost immediately arrest his wife, Kathleen, who is rapidly losing a battle against Alzheimer's disease. Although she is all too aware it is possible her mother killed her father, Mariah, the Lyons' 28-year-old daughter, sets out to prove Kathleen's innocence. The Lyons' friends, Alvirah and Willie Meehan, recurring characters in a number of Clark's books help her.

One of the book's strengths is the number of suspects, including Lyons' mistress Lillian and Kathleen's caretaker, that Clark presents. Clark uses the technique of including several chapters written from the villain's perspective to provide hints and keep readers guessing. Mariah's guilt over the distance that existed between her and her father is realistic and handled well. Clark's presentation of Kathleen's mental deterioration and how the police view her, is written sympathetically and with insight, if not a great deal of depth.

Romance is not quite as prominent as in some of Clark's other books and, although there are some exciting sections, the novel does not develop the imminent sense of danger to the heroine that Clark is so good at creating and which makes the best of her novels such great reads.

Still, while this is not Clark's best book, it is worth reading for those who enjoy romantic thrillers and like Clark.

Three and a half stars.
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on April 25, 2012
Every year I look forward to MHC's latest offering to scare well into the night. However, this year I am disappointed.
The sadness of dementia is well documented but the character of Mariah I felt was weak as were others.
I agree with other reviews that possibly we have seen the best and must be thankful we have had such a marvellous writer to entertain us for many years.
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on March 16, 2013
I've been reading (and collecting in hardback) all of Mary Higgins Clark's books ever since the early 80's -well, ever since "Where Are The Children", and I've long since felt she was not only the reigning Queen of Suspense, but also akin to Alfred Hitchcock of literature; and a major influence and inspiration to me as a writer. However, the last few novels of hers I've read, even though the plots may have been good, her style of writing is so juvenile and amateurish, as if written by someone else under her name. And they have been such a struggle to read. This one so far is probably the worst one so far.

While Mary was once an interesting author, her later books are quickly going downhill. This book was poorly written on so many levels, I feel it is time for her to retire her name from publishing. The writing is very amateurish, with vocabulary at a middle school level. And, the whole subplot about the holy letter was kind of hokey, and very repetitive; and, really for nothing. Whoever edited this mess should be fired. Sadly, not one I would recommend! Thank you.

Randall Brooks
(author, "The Two Worlds of the Mind")
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on May 13, 2012
I found The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark to be an interesting and intriguing book. The idea of a letter written by Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea is fascinating in itself, but to have been lost for five hundred years and then to possibly show up in the hands of Mariah Lyons' father, who is a Biblical scholar, is an even greater shock to other Biblical scholars and historians when they hear about it. If the parchment can be authenticated, not only will it be a priceless piece of Christian writing, but it can be returned to the Vatican Library from which it disappeared.

Mariah's father, Jonathan Lyons, is found shot to death at his desk at home, and his wife, who suffers from advanced dementia, is inside the closet holding the murder weapon. Their daughter, Mariah, who lives in New York and works on Wall Street, believes that her mother had nothing to do with the death of her father, but the police don't see it that way. Mariah will have to move back into her parents' home in New Jersey until the case is brought to trial and work to keep her mother safe and her name clear.
There are several characters in the book who have good reason to kill Jonathan Lyons, but none with such visible evidence as the smoking gun in his wife's hand.

I found the book to go very fast and I especially liked the character of Mariah. Willy and Alvirah add humor and an uplifting note to the story, and I enjoyed their presence along the way. As a light suspense novel, I enjoyed it and recommend it for Mary Higgins Clark fans and mystery/suspense fans. No graphic violence or language.
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