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Nighttime Is My Time Hardcover – April 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074320607X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743206075
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This time out, Clark ups the ante from her standard female-in-peril plot to three females in peril, all targets of a serial killer who fancies himself a night-hunting predator: "I am the Owl," he whispers to himself after he has selected his prey, "and nighttime is my time." The Owl kills his first victim, then it's off to attend his 20th high school reunion at Stonecroft Academy in Cornwall-on-Hudson, where he intends to do in the last several women who humiliated him when he was a geeky high school student. Jean Sheridan, one of the intended victims, was actually nice to the Owl, but he decides she has to die anyway because someone told him she once made fun of him. Jean's daughter, Lily, whom Jean gave away at birth, must also die, for obscure reasons, as must Laura, the class beauty. In the course of stalking and capturing these three, the Owl kills several innocent bystanders just to vent his anger and alludes to dozens more he has slaughtered over the years. The game here is figuring out which of the men who come to the reunion, all former nerds, is the Owl: Carter Stewart, now a genius playwright; Mark Fleischman, a psychiatrist with a syndicated television program; Gordon Amory, television magnate; Robby Brent, famous comedian; or Jack Emerson, local real estate tycoon. If the killer's animal fetish is the Owl, then Clark's is surely the red herring as she cleverly throws them in by the dozen, providing irrefutable proof that first one man, then another, must be guilty. Since any of the men might be the killer, the final revelation is anticlimactic, but Clark's multitude of fans will be happy enough to spend time with the innocent and imperiled Jean and to participate in the guessing game.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As graduates of the Stonecroft Academy class of '84 prepare for their twentieth high-school reunion, only a pimple-faced reporter for the school paper notes that this class has seen more than its share of mysterious deaths--and that all of the victims, one of whom died on the eve of the reunion, were members of a popular clique. The lovely Laura, now an actress, has survived thus far, but will she make it through the reunion? And what about Jean? She was popular, too, but she seems to have found the killer's soft spot. We know from the start that the murderer is a classmate--but not which one. We only know it was someone who was spurned by girls and made fun of by everyone, someone who dubbed his evil alter ego The Owl. But Jean treated him differently back then; when he didn't make the team, she had a kind a word for him. Jean's mind currently is on the anonymous messages threatening Lily--the daughter she gave up years ago. Who knows that Lily is hers? While trying to uncover who's taunting her, The Owl gets way too close. Clark's certainly mastered the art of the page-turner, and though many characters are relatively shallow and the plot somewhat predictable, fans will enjoy the comfort of watching the Clark formula unwind yet again. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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

This is about as bad a book as you will find, in many ways.
Questio Verum
MHC used to be one of my favourite authors in the suspense genre but has clearly been going downhill in her last few books.
Priyadarshini Narendra
There were entirely too many characters in this book and many were weak.
L. Martin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
She would prefer to ignore the invitation to return to Stonecraft Academy for her class' twentieth anniversary reunion, but renowned historian Jean Sheridan is one of six recipients being honored at the gala for their accomplishments. Still the award would not have propelled Jean to return to the academy, but posthumously honoring another winner is the reason for the author to drive to Croton on the Hudson to attend the festivities.
At the hotel, Jean receives a fax that follows up on a package sent to her that contains evidence that someone kidnapped her teenage child, who she gave up for adoption at birth. She is further stunned when attendee Laura Wilcox followed by Robby Brent vanish. When Laura calls to confess that she sent the fax and wants to meet Jean, the historian has no idea the danger she will be stepping into. The serial killer the Owl has made a home at Stonecraft Academy and Jean would be a prize addition to the victim list of at least five from the class of two decades ago.
Though the plot seems anemic in spite of a serial killer and the abduction, the suspense is at its usual stratospheric levels as expected from a Mary Higgins Clark thriller. The story line focuses on the Professor dealing with two crises that interconnect with her. Readers will appreciate the heroism of the reluctant female champion as she grits her teeth and goes forth to do battle against an unknown enemy who might be abetted by a peer betrayer. Ms. Clark shows why she is amongst the top echelon of psychological suspense authors with this taut tale.
Harriet Klausner
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Subramaniam on May 15, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My, my, the Queen of Suspense certainly is slipping. I had the opportunity to read two of Ms. Clark's novels within a span of 15 days - "Two little girls in Blue" and "Nighttime is my time". Both of them were huge disappointments, although they helped me pass the time during my flights.

Ms. Clark had built her reputation and earned my interest in her earlier books by creating in each novel, a strong and slightly unique plot, characters who all subtly hint at sinister motives, a smart and strong-willed leading woman whose strength of character shines through out the story, a romance gradually made to progress through the plot twists and turns, the goings-on narrated from the unknown perpetrator's point of view and a grand finale where the evil is revealed and the good once and for all vanquishes the evil.

Now for "Nighttime is My Time":
1. It has what passes for a plot - a former tormented student killing off his/ her tormentors one by one at a high school reunion. Wow, never in a million years would I have imagined that plot for a mystery novel.
2. In an effort to keep us guessing, Ms. Clark has all characters at the reunion hint, nay, shout their sinister motives from roof-tops throughout the pages of the novel. The reason for this, I can't help but think, is because Ms. Clark hadn't decided until the last chapter whom the killer was going to be and to cover her bases built up everyone to be one... you know, just in case.
3. All that Ms. Clark lets the readers know of the leading lady is that she comes from a broken home, had given up a baby for adoption after high school, and now is a successful writer who is very very sad and always sad, never happy, in tears at times...
Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on May 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mary Higgins Clark takes us to the twenty-year reunion of what must have been the unhappiest high school ever. Six members of the class are being honored, and you would be hard-pressed to find another group of such obvious malcontents. However, amongst the honorees is renowned historian Jean Sheridan who harbors the secret of having given up her out-of-wedlock child for adoption. Now, not only Jean, but her child and everyone who shared her lunch table is systematically being eliminated by a disturbed fellow student who identifies himself as "the Owl" because nighttime is his time.
This is a look into the mind of a psychopathic serial killer and the lasting effects of childhood bullying. Interestingly enough, all the men being honored were bullied as high schoolers, but all have become successful in their chosen fields. However, those long-ago scars cause serious repercussions that erupt at the reunion.
My main complaint with this book is there are too many characters to keep track of. The four men being honored are barely distinguishable one from the other and it is virtually anitclimatic when the killer is finally exposed.
On the other hand, the suspense you expect from Mary Higgins Clark is present as well as two sub-plots involving romance.
If you are already a fan of her work, this one will not disappoint.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By HOKAJO on April 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What a disappointment! Although I've read all of Ms. Clark's books, I have noticed the quality diminishing of late. This was the last straw - I couldn't even read it through to the end; I just skipped ahead to the solution because, after slogging through half the book, I realized the rest of it just wasn't going to be worth my time. I wasn't drawn to any of the major players; in fact, the bit players were more interesting!
What's most bothersome about this latest novel is the writing style - repetitive narrative & an unrealistic form of "stream-of-consciousness" to explain the back story and/or personal reactions. NO ONE talks to herself/himself this way! It seems that many of today's "bestseller" authors are being pressured to write a book a year, and that's too quick for some of them, including Mary Higgins Clark.
Don't waste your money or your time on "Nighttime Is My Time". If you must read this, however, borrow it from a library.
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