Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke return to bookstores this week with their legalistic suspense Under Suspicion series. And it took me a while but I’ve only just realised the books (although mostly the titles) are kinda based around fairytales. Kinda.
They’ve mixed things up a little this time around however. Although Under Suspicion producer Laurie Moran is back, her former professional partner (and erstwhile love interest), lawyer Alex Buckley has left the show and is giving Laurie some ‘space’. It means she has to get used to a new host and is dealing with a case which offers up some unwelcome surprises.
The Sleeping Beauty Killer (Under Suspicion, #4)
by Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke
Series: Under Suspicion #4
on November 15th 2016
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
Television producer Laurie Moran puts everything on the line to help a woman she thinks was wrongfully convicted of murder.
Casey Carter was convicted of murdering her fiance, famed philanthropist Hunter Raleigh III, fifteen years ago. But Casey has always claimed she was innocent. Although she was charged and served out her sentence in prison, she is still living under suspicion.
She hears whispers at the grocery store. She can't get a job. Even her own mother treats her like she's guilty. Her story attracts the attention of Laurie Moran and the Under Suspicion news team. It is Casey's last chance to finally clear her name and Laurie pledges to exonerate her.
With Alex Buckley taking a break from the show and cooling his potential romance with Laurie, Under Suspicion introduces a new on-air host named Ryan Nichols. Nichols is a young legal whiz with a Harvard Law degree, Supreme Court clerkship, experience as a federal prosecutor, and regular stints on the cable news circuit. He's got a big reputation and the attitude to match it. Ryan has no problems with steering and stealing the show and even tries to stop Laurie from taking on Casey's case because he's so certain she's guilty.
An ego-maniacal new co-host, a relentless gossip columnist who seems to have all the dirt (and a surprising informant), and Casey's longstanding bad reputation: Laurie must face this and more to do what she believes is right - to once and for all prove Casey's innocence, that is if she's innocent.
I’m liking the mix of the personal vs professional MHC and AB are offering to Laurie here, although I am a little confused about her relationship with Alex. I recall – in earlier books – that I adored him but know in my review of the third in the series (All Dressed In White), something felt a little off…. and this time around, he only played a small role and I really didn’t get any sense of connection, closeness or passion between the pair. (And then there was the weird ending, but… more on that another time!)
I have to say though, that the romance has left the relationship for me and I’d actually be happy if they introduced a new potential love interest for Laurie. Plus I get bored easily, so…
This book felt a bit more focussed on the investigation at hand than previous books in the series and as a lover of a good mystery that suited me. The show (and therefore the book) basically unpicks old crimes – shaking the players about in the process – to see what comes loose.
In this case Laurie believes in Casey’s innocence, but things take a turn during the filming and she starts to wonder if Casey’s been completely honest with her, or playing a role the entire time.
There is a bit of a twist on a twist and, although I’d guessed at what it was, it made no difference to the big reveal. I could easily have devoured this book in a sitting, except that I started reading it far too late one night. It’s a fairly short read at only 300 pages and it’s light and sharp enough to keep you reading until the end.
The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke was published in Australia by Simon & Schuster and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.
Have you been reading this series? Are you a Mary Higgins Clark or Alafair Burke fan? I used to read the former and now always read the latter!