Saturday, February 13, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Cinderella Murder. . .


In a first-time collaboration, “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark partners with bestselling author Alafair Burke to deliver a brand new suspense series about a television program featuring cold case murders. Television producer Laurie Moran is delighted when the pilot for her reality drama, Under Suspicion, is a success. Even more, the program—a cold case series that revisits unsolved crimes by recreating them with those affected—is off to a fantastic start when it helps solve an infamous murder in the very first episode.

Now Laurie has the ideal case to feature in the next episode of Under Suspicion: the Cinderella Murder. When Susan Dempsey, a beautiful and multi-talented UCLA student, was found dead, her murder raised numerous questions. Why was her car parked miles from her body? Had she ever shown up for the acting audition she was due to attend at the home of an up-and-coming director? Why does Susan’s boyfriend want to avoid questions about their relationship? Why was Susan so concerned about her roommate’s infatuation with a new-age religious sect? Was she close to her computer science professor because of her technological brilliance, or something more? And why was Susan missing one of her shoes when her body was discovered?

With the help of lawyer and Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley, Laurie knows the case will attract great ratings, especially when the former suspects include Hollywood’s elite and tech billionaires. The suspense and drama are perfect for the silver screen—but is Cinderella’s murderer ready for a close-up?

Together Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke deliver an exciting publishing event: the start of a thrilling new series guaranteed to keep you guessing until the last suspenseful page.

M & J’s Review 

I haven’t read Mary Higgins Clark since the mid to late 80s, so I wasn’t sure how I’d like this book since it seems like forever not having read her. But, I’m happy to say, Mary didn’t let me down. In fact, I could tell the parts in which she wrote, or I have a pretty good idea which sections of the novel she did because Mary has a very distinct writing pattern as all of us writers do. I’m not as familiar with Alafair Burke’s work, but from what I’ve read, I understand she’s a great writer too. Obviously, she must be since she paired up with the Queen of Suspense. I have to say, that was part of the reason I stopped reading Mary was due to the fact she was writing a book like every other day and I thought to myself there isn’t anyone that good who could write a book a day or a few weeks and drop ‘em one after the other. Her work began to get old to me and so predictable. Unfortunately, I found this book to be very similar, but it was a great story, so I let that go. 

Laurie Moran is a journalist looking for that next big story to showcase for her upcoming reality show Under Suspicion. As she and her boss, Brett, begin to go over the logistics of the subject matter, Laurie soon realizes she may have bit off more than she can chew. Laurie was on board to do her feature on The Cinderella Murder of Susan, a young woman in her prime attending UCLA with a promising career in acting and technology, was found dead just a few feet off of campus grounds. Why on earth would anyone want to kill this gorgeous young woman? The list of suspects continued to grow as Laurie met with Susan’s mother, Rosemary, to discuss that fateful day of May 7th, the day her only baby girl was murdered. The whole premise of Laurie’s show was to unearth new leads and suspects so the cold case could be solved. She interviewed everyone, from Susan’s mother, her roommates, ex-boyfriends, teachers, professors and acting directors. As the reader begins to discover clues as to who the murderer is, you start to see a story unfold that is so unbelievable. 

It’s hard to imagine that anyone would want Susan dead, but then strange and unusual things begin to happen to the production crew of Under Suspicion. Laurie is at her wit’s end and not sure exactly how to deal with these new developments. Was there a connection between what was happening to her crew and Susan Dempsey’s murder of years past? Hmm, only time will tell. 

I must admit, the story started out a little slow for me in the beginning, but after I got to about thirty percent of the book, it really started to heat up and the story never fizzled out. I couldn’t wait to get to the next page to find out what clues these cast of characters were going to discover. And, of course, no matter how hard I tried, I still figured out who the murderer was well before I got to the ending. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used to Mary Higgins Clark's writing, or if I’m just that good? Well, it’s probably a little bit of both, but I’ll take the latter. (LOL) 

Mello & June gives this book five stars. It’s a star-studded cast of well-rounded characters with personalities all of their own. This was the first installment in the series of Under Suspicion, so I’m looking forward to following up with Laurie and her crew to see what new mysteries they uncover. This was a fast read and extremely exciting, especially after you learn the characters.  Also, this is the type of great mystery where you can curl up on the couch with a cup of tea in hand and begin sleuthing.  Enjoy!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

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