Picks and Pans Review: All Around the Town
There are mystery writers who concoct more sophisticated plots, more realistic settings, more profound characters. But for sheer storytelling power—and breathtaking pace—Clark is without peer.
The author's 10th consecutive page turner focuses on an accused murderer who is herself a victim: Kidnapped at age 2 from her idyllic suburban home then joyously recovered at age 4, Laurie Kenyon is a 21-year-old college student when evidence links her to the death of a popular professor. As Laurie's attorney sister fights to keep her out of jail, a psychiatrist tries to free her memory—and in the process discovers her multiple personalities. This inner drama is matched by an outer threat—the return of Laurie's odious abductor. Now a highly public figure, he can't afford for her to remember. Switching back and forth in narrative, Clark probes his mind and motives while exploring the dangerous ways his victim survived the abuse. There's a love story here too and another, more ordinary villain to track down.
Clark successfully and skillfully juggles all the plot lines. But first-time readers should be alerted: A new Clark requires a clear calendar, a baby-sitter and/or a long flight, because these are tales to be read in one sitting, no interruptions, case closed. (Simon & Schuster, $22)
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