Cassie Sheridan has all a television news reporter could want: an important beat in Washington D.C., a skyrocketing career, and a talent that everyone acknowledges. But then, she makes a critical mistake. Suddenly, her career is in shambles, her credibility is questioned, and her teenaged daughter makes her realize just how much time she hasn't spent with her. The repercussions of ambitious reporting have now derailed the career of KEY News justice correspondent Cassie Sheridan. Cassie is transferred to Miami, to wait out the end of her contract-separated from her family, her friends, and the familiarity of Washington. But in an unsuspecting south Florida town, a killer is watching...and waiting. While covering a hurricane that's moving up Florida's west coast, Cassie meets 11-year-old Vincent, who has just made a grisly discovery on the beach. In one week, Cassie traces the connection between Vincent's newfound "treasure" and a secret operation in the dark shadows of sunny Sarasota-a story that has national significance and maybe, just maybe, will win back her reputation.
Balancing compelling characters and intricate plotting in her trademark beach read style, Clark's suspense-filled latest finds 39-year-old television reporter Cassie Sheridan wracked with guilt over her part in a young rape victim's suicide. Named in a wrongful death suit and demoted to the Miami bureau after 15 years as a Washington, D.C., power player, Cassie rues the sacrifices that cost her her marriage and her relationship with her teenage daughter. While covering an impending hurricane, the newswoman befriends Vincent, a latchkey 11-year-old who's just discovered a severed hand on the sandy shores of Siesta Key. The author's own background as a writer and producer at CBS News, paired with reader Tunno's convincing rendition of downtrodden Cassie, imparts vocational verisimilitude. Tunno also skillfully narrates the nave Vincent, who steals a ring from the corpse to help his impoverished family and unwittingly puts himself and Cassie in the path of a serial killer whose M.O. includes wearing a grease paint clown mask. But despite the professional unabridged recording and fast pacing, translation to audio doesn't fair as well when Tunno is called on to voice a pornography mogul or the killer; she's unable to capture the grittier, masculine aspects of the book. Based on the St. Martin's Press hardcover (Forecasts, July 1). (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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St. Martin's Press
August 16, 2003
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Excerpt from Nobody Knows by Mary Jane Clark
Vincent blinked his brown eyes, groggily adjusting to the early morning light that slipped through the space between the window frame and the frayed vinyl shade. The first thing he heard was the comforting drone of the air conditioner. The second thing he heard was the familiar sound of his brother's cough.
Kicking off the cotton blanket, Vincent sat up, threw his legs over the side of the twin mattress, and stared at his younger brother lying in the companion bed crammed into the small room. Unmindful of his latest coughing episode, five-year-old Mark still slept. Vincent supposed the kid had to sleep through it if he was to get any rest at all. Mark had been hacking through the night, every night, for as long as Vincent could remember.
Many nights the eleven-year-old would listen in the dark to the coughing coming from the next bed. He was afraid that his brother was getting worse. He resented that Mom focused so much of her attention on Mark. He was angry that he had to help with his little brother when every other kid his age seemed to be out playing without a care in the world. He was relieved that he didn't have the same condition that afflicted his brother. And then, ultimately, he felt guilty. Why did Mark have cystic fibrosis? Why had Vincent been spared?
The doctor at the clinic had tried to explain it. Some people unknowingly carried the defective CF gene. Both mother and father had to have the gene and pass it on to their baby. Mark had gotten the sickly combination. Vincent had not. It was just the luck of the draw.
Some luck, thought Vincent as he quietly pulled on his shorts. His brother had an incurable disease, his mother was worried all the time, and he hadn't seen his father since three Christmases ago.
Careful not to make any noise, Vincent stepped gingerly over Mark's inhaler on the bedroom floor. He couldn't wait to get to the beach. He hoped he hadn't missed anything good by not going late yesterday afternoon after the swimmers and sunbathers left. That was the time to go, at the end of the day, the time with the best chance of finding the good stuff. But Mom had to go into work early to cover for one of the other waitresses who'd called in sick and Vincent had to stay with Mark and give him the treatment with the pounder.
Vincent hated the pounder, the electric chest clapper that helped dislodge the mucus that built up in Mark's lungs. But the pounder was a lot better than the old-fashioned way Mom used to do it, clapping and pounding on Mark's chest with her fists. Three times a day for twenty to thirty minutes each time. Little as he was, Mark never complained. In fact, he said it didn't hurt. But Vincent cringed to watch it.