- I’ve Got You Under My Skin (2014)
- The Cinderella Murder (2014)
- All Dressed in White (2015)
- The Sleeping Beauty Killer (2016)
- Every Breath You Take (2017)
A while back I read The Ex by Alafair Burke. While it wasn’t the best thriller I had ever read, it was solid enough to make me add several of Burke’s other works onto the TBR. However, when I added this series I didn’t realize that Burke was a co-author. Somehow, I had never gotten around to reading any of the famous Mary Higgins Clark’s books, so I was actually pretty intrigued to delve into this series.
The first book was written by Clark on her own, and it sets the premise for the rest of the series. The story opens when Greg, a young doctor, at the park with his three-year-old son, Timmy. A stranger appears and murders Greg – and only Timmy sees his face. Timmy remarkably is able to remember that the man had very blue eyes and also that he said, “Tell your mother she’s next, and then it’s your turn.”
Five years later, no further progress has been made on the Blue-Eyed Killer. Greg’s wife, Laurie, has done her best to move forward with her life, even with the constant threat made by a murderer hanging over her. Her father, Leo, took an early retirement from his job on the police force in order to help Laurie take care of Timmy. Laurie works as a television producer, but her last few ideas haven’t done very well and she knows that her next pitch could be her last.
But it’s a doozy – her idea is to have a sort-of reality show that revisits cold cases. But instead of just talking about them, she wants to pull together all the main players and reenact some of the scenes. She wants her main focus to be on cold cases where the witnesses are also the suspects – where the fact that the case is still open means that multiple people are still under suspicion – which is exactly what she wants to title her new show.
Although her boss is at first reluctant, she manages to hook him with a cold case that received a lot of media attention at the time, and soon production for the first episode of Under Suspicion is underway. Meanwhile, the reader is privy to the fact that Blue Eyes is back on the fringes of Laurie’s life – with definite plans for finishing the job he started five years earlier.
I really enjoyed this series a lot, and gave basically all of these books an easy 4* rating. It felt a little obvious that Clark didn’t originally intend for the first book to be the first in a series – Laurie’s mystery is neatly wrapped up, she’s given a potential love interest for the future, and things overall get tidied – but it works really well as a series nonetheless, with each book being another episode of Under Suspicion. Laurie is a really likable protagonist, and the other characters grew on me as well. I was moderately frustrated with the slow speed of her romance with THE PERFECT GUY, but overall that was also a nice thread running throughout.
It did seem as though the endings were sometimes rushed – I especially felt that way with the first book, where things are tooling along and then suddenly ACTION! DEATH! MURDER! SUICIDE! CHAOS! And then the end. Other than that, though, the pacing was good throughout. The chapters are SUPER short – some of them only a couple of paragraphs long – which I find incredibly addictive.
A new character is introduced in The Sleeping Beauty Killer, and he really brought down my overall enjoyment of that book and the next. Ryan ended up being THE most stereotyped character in the whole series… let’s create a male character who is a caricature of every stereotypical negative male trait ever! It was so annoying, especially since everyone else grows and changes, but Ryan just stays completely stagnant in order to emphasize how EASY it is for men ALL THE TIME, blah blah blah.
But overall these were great thrillers. They had enough twists to keep things interesting, good premises, likable characters (except Ryan), and decent character development over time (except Ryan). The most recent was just published last year, so I’m hopeful that there may be another addition to the series at some point. 4/5 for the Under Suspicion series on the whole.