In the gripping new novel from America's Queen of Suspense, a young woman is haunted by two murders that are closely linked -- despite the one hundred and ten years that separate them.
Following the acrimonious breakup of her marriage and the searing experience of being pursued by an obsessed stalker, criminal defense attorney Emily Graham accepts an offer to leave Albany and work in a major law firm in Manhattan.
Feeling a need for roots, she buys her ancestral home, a restored Victorian house in the historic New Jersey seaside resort town of Spring Lake. Her family had sold the house in 1892, after one of Emily's forebears, Madeline Shapley, then still a young girl, disappeared.
Now, more than a century later, as the house is being renovated and the backyard excavated for a pool, the skeleton of a young woman is found. She is identified as Martha Lawrence, who had disappeared from Spring Lake over four year ago. Within her skeletal hand is the finger bone of another woman with a ring still on it -- a Shapley family heirloom.
In seeking to find the link between her family's past and the recent murder, Emily becomes a threat to a devious and seductive killer, who has chosen her as the next victim.
Is a reincarnated serial killer at work in a New Jersey resort town more than a century after he first drew blood That's the catchy premise that supports Clark's 24th book. In the 1890s, three young women in the upscale seaside village of Spring Lake died at the hands of an unidentified killer. In the present day, two young women have disappeared from town and their killer, whose first-person ruminations vein the third-person narrative, is preparing to strike again. His final target will be Emily Graham, an ambitious young attorney just moved to Spring Lake from upstate New York, where she'd been victimized by a stalker. Emily is a typical Clark heroine, bright and beautiful, and the friends she makes and suspects she meets in Spring Lake are her equal in stereotype, among them a former college president with a dread secret; a failed, aging restaurateur with a much younger wife; and a hunky real-estate agent. Emily's dream of a new start in the house once owned by her ancestor the first victim of the killer of yore sours when the body of a present-day victim is found buried on her land along with remains of her murdered ancestor. The dream curdles further when more bodies turn up and Emily's upstate stalker reappears. This is a plot-driven novel, with Clark's story mechanics at their peak of complexity, clever and tricky. There's some nifty interplay between past and present via diaries and old books, some modest suspense, and a few genuine surprises, including the identity of both the stalker and the killer. Clark's prose ambles as usual, but it takes readers where they want to go deep into an old-fashioned tale of a damsel in delicious distress. The first printing is one million; that, and Clark's popularity, will be enough to push this title to #1. (Apr. 17) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Simon & Schuster
April 01, 2002
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Excerpt from On the Street Where You Live by Mary Higgins Clark
He turned onto the boardwalk and felt the full impact of the stinging blast from the ocean. Observing the shifting clouds, he decided it wouldn't be surprising if they had a snow flurry later on, even though tomorrow was the first day of spring. It had been a long winter, and everyone said how much they were looking forward to the warm weather ahead. He wasn't.
He enjoyed Spring Lake best once late autumn set in. By then the summer people had closed their houses, not appearing even for weekends.
He was chagrined, though, that with each passing year more and more people were selling their winter homes and settling here permanently. They had decided it was worth the seventy-mile commute into New York so that they could begin and end the day in this quietly beautiful New Jersey seaside community.
Spring Lake, with its Victorian houses that appeared unchanged from the way they had been in the 1890s, was worth the inconvenience of the trip, they explained.
Spring Lake, with the fresh, bracing scent of the ocean always present, revived the soul, they agreed.
Spring Lake, with its two-mile boardwalk, where one could revel in the silvery magnificence of the Atlantic, was a treasure, they pointed out.
All of these people shared so much -- the summer visitors, the permanent dwellers -- but none of them shared his secrets. He could stroll down Hayes Avenue and visualize Madeline Shapley as she had been in late afternoon on September 7, 1891, seated on the wicker sofa on the wraparound porch of her home, her wide-brimmed bonnet beside her. She had been nineteen years old then, brown-eyed, with dark brown hair, sedately beautiful in her starched white linen dress.
Only he knew why she had had to die an hour later.
St. Hilda Avenue, shaded with heavy oaks that had been mere saplings on August 5, 1893, when eighteen-year-old Letitia Gregg had failed to return home, brought other visions. She had been so frightened. Unlike Madeline, who had fought for her life, Letitia had begged for mercy.
The last one of the trio had been Ellen Swain, small and quiet, but far too inquisitive, far too anxious to document the last hours of Letitia's life.