Books by Marilyn Wallace

CURRENT DANGER by Marilyn Wallace
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

Fifteen years after a suspicious fire gutted a Mercer Street project that budding contractor Claudia Miller lost her shirt on, Claudia, now a respected builder, is ready to take on her biggest job: a rehab that stands to generate a million-dollar profit for her to split with owner Murray Kurtz, whose brother Jack installed the windows the firefighters smashed at Mercer Street. But Mercer Street lives on in the minds of an unknown who's determined to punish each subcontractor by killing a close relative with a ghoulishly chosen bit of electrical equipment, an unknown who's already erased demolition expert Laverne Jefferson's cousin. The next victim, Claudia's kid brother Tommy, barely escapes with his life, but not before giving the killer a new idea: Instead of just executing Claudia's clueless brother, he'll force her to watch the death, getting close enough to Claudia so that he can observe her anguish firsthand. While her tormentor is warming up by eliminating those other innocent relatives, beginning of course with Murray Kurtz, Claudia's left to ponder which of the men she's recently gotten close tobrash Los Angeles writer Charlie Pastor, last-minute replacement carpenter Gary Bruno, or Ukrainian entrepreneur Mikhail Cherninbest fits the profile of the Mercer Street avenger. Except for an underwhelming unmasking, Wallace (Lost Angel, 1996, etc.) does her usual expert job of raising your blood pressure and keeping you from taking those deep, cleansing breaths. Read full book review >
LOST ANGEL by Marilyn Wallace
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

Valerie Vincent thinks the worst of her life is behind her when she divorces alcoholic Johnny Starr, boots out his crazy anti-Satanist parents, knuckles down to finish her college paper on the Salem witch trials, lies about having a daughter, and leaves her toddler Joanna with her old friend Esther Klein in order to take a job as companion to blind, crippled Antonia Carrera. But her carefully reconstructed world shatters when someone kills Esther and then, passing herself off as Valerie, breezes into the local police station and takes off with Joanna. Valerie's nightmare only deepens when the police link Joanna's abduction to Deliverance And Safe Haven (DASH), an underground network of born-again kidnappers and deprogrammers of small children whose membership just might include Johnny's lunatic parents. As Valerie struggles to figure out just which of her would-be supporters she can trust—dried-out Johnny, manipulative Antonia, Valerie's predecessor Kristin Denby, zealous journalist Kevin Murchison?—Wallace (The Seduction, 1993, etc.) expertly throws suspicion on one after another of them until you're as overwrought as poor Valerie. Once again, Wallace's breathless fantasy strikes deep into the core of paranoia that Mary Higgins Clark's recent novels have missed. Read full book review >
THE SEDUCTION by Marilyn Wallace
Released: Nov. 3, 1993

As the curtain rises, Lee Montara and her sister Rosie Cooper are trading stories about their childhood as they wait, armed with a pistol, in Rosie's Taconic Hills farmhouse for the man who's been terrorizing them. A series of long flashbacks shows Lee, a photo editor for City, switching her vacation destination from Cozumel to Taconic Hills to avoid megalomaniac photographer Stewart McClaren; the arrival of a series of sinister gifts—a bouquet of rotting yarrow leaves, a layer cake, six candles, a bunch of blood-filled balloons- -each tied with black satin ribbon; and the discovery that even though he's followed her to Taconic Hills, McClaren can't be the sender of these unwelcome presents, because he's been strangled.... Far less inspired than So Shall You Reap (1992), Wallace's last outing in Taconic Hills, though it presents an ingenious motive for mischief that may well be unique in the annals of crime fiction. Read full book review >
SO SHALL YOU REAP by Marilyn Wallace
Released: Aug. 18, 1992

The cozy, inbred New York hamlet of Taconic Hills, celebrating its bicentennial by staging a pageant of its early history, is beset by a series of disturbingly literal echoes of that history: its spiritual leader dead of exposure after getting lost in a snowstorm; the unexplained spoiling of a vat of milk; a dog dead of a mysterious three-point wound; a cannon's fatal explosion. Sara Hoving, slated to play the part of drowned Emily Schiller, feels trapped not only in her heroine's destiny but in her own traumatic childhood as she finally confronts her closemouthed father, her husband Peter's family, and the town council about her mother's abrupt abandonment of her as a child. The time that Wallace takes over Sara's painful discovery of the truth—eight fictional months—allows her a texture and spaciousness rare in mystery fiction; the result is not to be missed. Readers who've been comparing Wallace (A Single Stone, etc.) to Mary Higgins Clark will have to find a more resonant model for this likely Edgar contender. Read full book review >
A SINGLE STONE by Marilyn Wallace
Released: Nov. 19, 1991

Oakland police duet Carlos Cruz and Jay Goldstein (A Case of Loyalties, 1985) play supporting roles this time to landscape-designer Linda Orett—who was narrowly acquitted three years ago of killing her daughter Amy, and who's now hunted (she and architect husband Matt have left town and resurfaced with new identities) as the leading suspect in a second child-murder and a kidnaping that looks like a third. The detective work, too, is less prominent than Wallace's effective handling of the scary frontier where Linda's distracted fear shades into full-blown paranoia, as she doubts her friends, increasingly obsessive Matt, and herself before Cruz and Goldstein provide the relatively sunny finale. Dead-on insight into Linda's terrified isolation, breathlessly mounting suspense, and an overwrought conclusion that will have Mary Higgins Clark fans shaking with relief. Read full book review >