Mary Higgins Clark sends chills down readers' spines with the story of Lacey Farrell, a rising star on the Manhattan real estate scene. One day, while showing a luxurious skyline co-op, Lacey is witness to a murder -- and to the dying words of the victim.... The dying woman is convinced that the attacker was after her dead daughter's journal -- which Lacey gives to the police, but not before making a copy for herself. It's an impulse that later proves nearly fatal.
Placed in the witness protection program and sent to live in the Minneapolis area, Lacey must assume a fake identity, at least until the killer can be brought to trial. There she meets Tom Lynch, a radio talk-show host whom she tentatively begins to date -- until the strain of deception makes her break it off. Then she discovers the killer has traced her to Minneapolis. Armed with nothing more than her own courage and clues from the journal, Lacey heads back to New York, determined to uncover who's behind the deaths of the two women -- before she's the next casualty.
At once seductive and frightening, Pretend You Don't See Her is the "mistress of high tension" (The New Yorker) at her ingenious best.
There's no arguing with success, and no doubt Clark's eager following will lap up her 13th romantic suspense novel as eagerly as ever. All the elements are in place: an appealing, plucky working-girl heroine placed in instant danger; a virile, adoring would-be lover kept at arm's length until the curtain; a cute moppet (also in danger); a doting but somewhat foolish mother; a dead dad whose spirit is ever-present in times of crisis. What's lacking is any real suspense, or, in this case, a satisfactory windup. Lacey Farrell is a comely young real estate saleswoman in Manhattan who has a client, Isabelle Waring, murdered virtually before her eyes, then has to spend most of the book on the run from the killer, whom only she can identify. In the process she goes into the witness protection program, and the most interesting part of the novel (Clark is always good on research) is the details on how this works. The plot, however involving Isabelle's certainty that her daughter was murdered, the suspicion that falls on the wealthy man who owns Lacey's real estate firm and his scapegrace son, and a hit man who remorselessly pursues Lacey is perfunctory in the extreme. When the real villain is finally unmasked in a few throwaway sentences the reader has almost forgotten he existed and is given no clue as to how and why he did all his evil deeds. Maybe 13 isn't Clark's lucky number. 1.1 million first printing; Literary Guild main selection; author tour. (May) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Simon & Schuster
May 01, 1998
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Excerpt from Pretend You Don'T See Her by Mary Higgins Clark
IT WAS THE week after Labor Day, and from the steady ringing of the phones in the offices of Parker and Parker, it was clear to Lacey that the summer doldrums finally were over. The Manhattan co-op market had been uncommonly slow this past month; now, finally, things would start to move again.
"It's about time," she told Rick Parker as he delivered a mug of black coffee to her desk. "I haven't had a decent sale since June. Everybody I had on the hook took off for the Hamptons or the Cape, but thank God they're all drifting back into town now. I enjoyed my month off, too, but now it's time to get back to work."
She reached for the coffee. "Thanks. It's nice to have the son and heir wait on me."
"No problem. You look great, Lacey."
Lacey tried to ignore the expression on Rick's face. She always felt as though he were undressing her with his eyes. Spoiled, handsome, and the possessor of a phony charm that he turned on at will, he made her distinctly uncomfortable. Lacey heartily wished his father hadn't moved him from the West Side office. She didn't want her job jeopardized, but lately keeping him at arm's length was becoming a balancing act.
Her phone rang, and she grabbed for it with relief. Saved by the bell, she thought. "Lacey Farrell," she said.
"Miss Farrell, this is Isabelle Waring. I met you when you sold a co-op in my building last spring."
A live one, Lacey thought. Instinctively she guessed that Mrs. Waring was putting her apartment on the market.