A STRANGER IS WATCHING by Mary Higgins Clark


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A distinct comedown from the page-turning mysteriousness of Where Are the Children?, this is a painfully obvious and absurdly contrived kidnap-arama in which a homicidal maniac snatches the asthmatic six-year-old who witnessed (but can't quite remember) his Mommy's murder (at the hands of said maniac) a while back. If Neil's very smart Daddy and the very dumb cops can't quickly find the kidnapper's secret hideout--an unused kitchen at Grand Central Station--Neil will die, Dad's girlfriend Sharon will die (the horny kidnapper grabbed her as well), and the youth who was mistakenly found guilty of the murder will be executed. To keep the action going, the maniac implausibly keeps dropping hints as to his identity and whereabouts, making a last-second-before-the-explosion rescue possible. Only the fatal interference of one of New York's ""shopping-bag ladies"" (who stumbles onto the hideout) comes across as vaguely real or frightening; everything else, from Neil's baby-talk thoughts to Sharon's campaign against the death penalty, is artificial and recycled. By breaking this nonsense into 53 tiny-tot, scene-shifting chapters, Clark keeps it from seeming boring. Nothing can keep it from seeming very, very stupid.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1977
ISBN: 1568490712
Publisher: Simon & Schuster