From America's Queen of Suspense comes a gripping tale of a young woman trying to unravel the mystery of a family tragedy -- a quest with terrifying repercussions.
It has been ten years since twenty-one-year-old Charles MacKenzie Jr. ("Mack") went missing. A Columbia University senior, about to graduate and already accepted at Duke University Law School, he walked out of his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side without a word to his college roommates and has never been seen again. However, he does make one ritual phone call to his mother every year: on Mother's Day. Each time, he assures her he is fine, refuses to answer her frantic questions, then hangs up. Even the death of his father, a corporate lawyer, in the tragedy of 9/11 does not bring him home or break the pattern of his calls.
Mack's sister, Carolyn, is now twenty-six, a law school graduate, and has just finished her clerkship for a civil court judge in Manhattan. She has endured two family tragedies, yet she realizes that she will never be able to have closure and get on with her life until she finds her brother. She resolves to discover what happened to Mack and why he has found it necessary to hide from them. So this year when Mack makes his annual Mother's Day call, Carolyn interrupts to announce her intention to track him down, no matter what it takes. The next morning after Mass, her uncle, Monsignor Devon MacKenzie, receives a scrawled message left in the collection basket: "Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me."
Mack's cryptic warning does nothing to deter his sister from taking up the search, despite the angry reaction of her mother, Olivia, and the polite disapproval of Elliott Wallace, Carolyn's honorary uncle, who is clearly in love with Olivia.
Carolyn's pursuit of the truth about Mack's disappearance swiftly plunges her into a world of unexpected danger and unanswered questions. What is the secret that Gus and Lil Kramer, the superintendents of the building in which Mack was living, have to hide? What do Mack's old roommates, the charismatic club owner Nick DeMarco and the cold and wealthy real estate tycoon Bruce Galbraith, know about Mack's disappearance? Is Nick connected to the disappearance of Leesey Andrews, who had last been seen in his trendy club? Can the police possibly believe that Mack is not only alive, but a serial killer, a shadowy predator of young women? Was Mack also guilty of the brutal murder of his drama teacher and the theft of his taped sessions with her?
Carolyn's passionate search for the truth about her brother -- and for her brother himself -- leads her into a deadly confrontation with someone close to her whose secret he cannot allow her to reveal.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Very good
Posted March 06, 2011 by Therese , MontrealGood story, never guessed the end. Could not put it down.
Simon & Schuster
April 07, 2008
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Excerpt from Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark
It is exactly midnight, which means Mother's Day has just begun. I stayed overnight with my mother in the apartment on Sutton Place where I grew up. She is down the hall in her room, and together we are keeping the vigil. The same vigil we've kept every year since my brother, Charles MacKenzie Jr., "Mack," walked out of the apartment he shared with two other Columbia University seniors ten years ago. He has never been seen since then. But every year at some point on Mother's Day, he calls to assure Mom he is fine. "Don't worry about me," he tells her. "One of these days I'll turn the key in the lock and be home." Then he hangs up.
We never know when in those twenty-four hours that call will come. Last year Mack called at a few minutes after midnight, and our vigil ended almost as soon as it began. Two years ago he waited until the very last second to phone, and Mom was frantic that this slim contact with him was over.
Mack has to have known that my father was killed in the Twin Towers tragedy. I was sure that no matter what he was doing, that terrible day would have compelled him to come home. But it did not. Then on the next Mother's Day, during his annual call, he started crying and gasped, "I'm sorry about Dad. I'm really sorry," and broke the connection.
I am Carolyn. I was sixteen when Mack disappeared. Following in his footsteps, I attended Columbia. Unlike him, I then went on to Duke Law School. Mack had been accepted there before he disappeared. After I passed the Bar last year, I clerked for a civil court judge in the courthouse on Centre Street in lower Manhattan. Judge Paul Huot has just retired, so at the moment I'm unemployed. I plan to apply for a job as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, but not quite yet.
First, I must find a way to track my brother down. What happened to him? Why did he disappear? There was no sign of foul play. Mack's credit cards weren't used. His car was in the garage near his apartment. No one of his description ever ended up in the morgue, although in the beginning, my mother and father were sometimes asked to view the body of some unidentified young man who had been fished out of the river or killed in an accident.
When we were growing up, Mack was my best friend, my confidant, my pal. Half my girlfriends had a crush on him. He was the perfect son, the perfect brother, handsome, kind, funny, an excellent student. How do I feel about him now? I don't know anymore. I remember how much I loved him, but that love has almost totally turned to anger and resentment. I wish I could even doubt that he's alive and that someone is playing a cruel trick, but there is no doubt in my mind about that. Years ago we recorded one of his phone calls and had the pattern of his voice compared to his voice from home movies. It was identical.
All of this means that Mom and I dangle slowly in the wind, and, before Dad died in that burning inferno, it was that way for him, too. In all these years, I have never gone into a restaurant or theatre without my eyes automatically scanning to see if just maybe, by chance, I will run into him. Someone with a similar profile and sandy brown hair will demand a second look and, sometimes, close scrutiny. I remember more than once almost knocking people over to get close to someone who turned out to be a perfect stranger.
All this was going through my mind as I set the volume of the phone on the loudest setting, got into bed, and tried to go to sleep. I guess I did fall into an uneasy doze because the jarring ring of the phone made me bolt up. I saw from the lighted dial on the clock that it was five minutes to three. With one hand I snapped on the bedside light and with the other grabbed the receiver. Mom had already picked up, and I heard her voice, breathless and nervous. "Hello, Mack."
"Hello, Mom. Happy Mother's Day. I love you."
His voice was resonant and confident. He sounds as though he doesn't have a care in the world, I thought bitterly.
As usual the sound of his voice shattered Mom. She began to cry. "Mack, I love you. I need to see you," she begged. "I don't care what trouble you may be in, what problems you have to solve, I'll help you. Mack, for God's sake, it's been ten years. Don't do this to me any longer. Please...please..."
He never stayed on the phone for as long as a minute. I'm sure he knew that we would try to trace the call, but now that that technology is available, he always calls from one of those cell phones with a prepaid time card.
I had been planning what I would say to him and rushed now to make him hear me out before he hung up. "Mack, I'm going to find you," I said. "The cops tried and failed.