It's a minor accident that brings prosecutor Kerry McGrath to the plastic surgeon's office with her beloved daughter, Robin. But even as the doctor assures Kerry that her daughter's scars will heal, she spies a familiar-looking beautiful woman in the waiting room and is seized by an overpowering sense of deja vu. When, on a return visit, she sees the same haunting face -- on another woman -- she has an intense flash of recognition: it's the face of Suzanne Reardon, the "Sweetheart Murder" victim, killed more than ten years ago! The case resulted in a guilty verdict and life sentence for Suzanne's husband, Skip. But for what possible reason would Dr. Smith be giving his patients the face of a dead woman?
As Kerry immerses herself in a fresh investigation, she is catapulted into the strange and ominous territory of those so obsessed with beauty they'll kill for it. Each new piece of evidence she unearths reveals a disturbing cache of questions. Not only does everyone involved want to keep the case closed, it's clear somebody will stop at nothing to keep it sealed forever. As she delves deeper she finds she's wrestling with a force so sinister that her own life -- and her daughter's -- is threatened with increasing peril....
Interweaving fascinating characters with deeply daring, staggeringly unpredictable plot twists, Mary Higgins Clark reminds us that she is, indeed, America's Queen of Suspense.
The latest from the Clark suspense factory has a spunky New Jersey prosecutor, Kerry McGrath, as its heroine in danger. Kerry has taken an interest in a 10-year-old murder case, in which Skip Reardon had been found guilty of slaying his beautiful wife, Suzanne, and has since been pleading his innocence from his jail cell. When Kerry's small daughter, Robin, goes to a New York plastic surgeon after a car crash, it is apparent that Dr. Smith, who was Suzanne's father, is weird. He seems to be fashioning the faces of young women to resemble his dead daughter and it was his testimony that sent Skip to jail. Kerry's interest in the case (and her parallel interest in Skip's good-guy lawyer) may harm her chances of a judgeship, and it also draws the ominous attention of another possible suspect, James Weeks, a wealthy real-estate magnate with rumored mob connections. Then there's elegant, tasteful art burglar Jason Arnott, who had also known Suzanne.... As usual, Clark's plot, unfolded in dozens of short chapters, is convoluted, full of red herrings and finally wrapped up with a villain out of left field. The writing is crisp but colorless, characterization minimal, atmosphere nonexistent; but the cozy evocation of a deserving damsel in distress who attains a happy ending seems never to disappoint her legions of fans. One million first printing; major ad/promo; Literary Guild selection; author tour. (May) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Simon & Schuster
May 01, 1996
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Excerpt from Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Mary Higgins Clark
Kerry smoothed down the skirt of her dark green suit, straightened the narrow gold chain on her neck and ran her fingers through her collar-length, dusky blond hair. Her entire afternoon had been a mad rush, leaving the courthouse at two-thirty, picking up Robin at school, driving from Hohokus through the heavy traffic of Routes 17 and 4, then over the George Washington Bridge to Manhattan, finally parking the car and arriving at the doctor's office just in time for Robin's four o'clock appointment.
Now, after all the rush, Kerry could only sit and wait to be summoned into the examining room, wishing that she'd been allowed to be with Robin while the stitches were removed. But the nurse had been adamant. "During a procedure, Dr. Smith will not permit anyone except the nurse in the room with a patient."
"But she's only ten!" Kerry had protested, then had closed her lips and reminded herself that she should be grateful that Dr. Smith was the one who had been called in after the accident. The nurses at St. Luke's-Roosevelt had assured her that he was a wonderful plastic surgeon. The emergency room doctor had even called him a miracle worker.
Reflecting back on that day, a week ago, Kerry realized she still hadn't recovered from the shock of that phone call. She'd been working late in her office at the courthouse in Hackensack, preparing for the murder case she would be prosecuting, taking advantage of the fact that Robin's father, her ex-husband, Bob Kinellen, had unexpectedly invited Robin to see New York City's Big Apple Circus, followed by dinner.
At six-thirty her phone had rung. It was Bob. There had been an accident. A van had rammed into his Jaguar while he was pulling out of the parking garage. Robin's face had been cut by flying glass. She'd been rushed to St. Luke's-Roosevelt, and a plastic surgeon had been called. Otherwise she seemed fine, although she was being examined for internal injuries.
Remembering that terrible evening, Kerry shook her head. She tried to push out of her mind the agony of the hurried drive into New York, dry sobs shaking her body, her lips forming only one word, "please," her mind racing with the rest of the prayer, Please God, don't let her die, she's all I have. Please, she's just a baby. Don't take her from me...