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

4.4 out of 5 stars 419 customer reviews

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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 the Hardcover edition.

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
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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: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (419 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been reading Mary Higgins Clark ever since I was a kid, well, ever since she debuted in the 70's with "Where Are The Children", and have been a huge fan of hers ever since, reading everything she has written; and thoroughly enjoying everything she has published so far.

So, with that said, it pains me to say that I feel that she has finally written a bad novel, in my opinion. Well, it is plotted well, the story is good, and most of the characters are written well, it's just what she does with all of the above that is a wreck.

First off, it lacks suspense, a bad no-no since Mary Higgins Clark is the longest running reigning Queen of Suspense, far surpassing even Agatha Christie many years ago as the ultimate mystery/suspense writer in many people's opinion.

Second, there are some ludicrous scenarios that are beyond being called "far-fetched". For one, someone on trial for murder is not going to be leaving the courtroom every day to go home and be able to have dinner with friends and family. No, they are going to be in jail! But, not in Mary's world here, for when Greg Aldrich is brought to trial accused of murdering his ex-wife, he leaves every day after the trial and goes home.

But, the most unrealistic touch is after Aldrich is convicted and two characters come forward with possible evidence to prove that another character may have lied in his testimony against Mr. Aldrich, well, he is immediately let out of jail and allowed to go home a free man! Do what????! I hear you ask. What planet are these people from? What planet is Mary Higgins Clark from??? Because stuff like this surely never happens on earth!

I won't bother knocking her for her simplistic writing style, nor her weak character description of some minor characters.
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Format: Hardcover
In my opinion, this author usually does much better. Ms.Clark obviously is defaulting to a previously used template, a "recipe" for literary success from past novels.
In regards to the plot, the phrase "what are the odds of this really happening" came to mind many times during my reading. She wasted most of my reading time letting her characters wander through the disjointed plot, going here and there but not seeming to tell a fluid story. And in the end, she seemed to realize she had a deadline and tried to bring the entire plot together, solve the mystery and tie up the loose ends in the last 15 pages with a mass confessional of both villains and hero's. If you want to read a really good book, read "Garden Spells" by Sarah Addison Allen. It was an excellent surprise to find a new author with such fresh and inspired writing talent.
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