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The Bookworm Sez - Clark's latest is fun read

Did you ever have one of those days where you just want to step away from the world and maybe disappear for a minute?

We all go through times when we're just better-off left alone. Some people, though, take that to an extreme.

When Carolyn MacKenzie's brother disappeared 10 years ago, the family was frantic. It wasn't like Mack to do something like that.

In the new novel, Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark, Carolyn fears that something bad happened to Mack. But then the calls arrive...

Every Mother's Day, Charles "Mack" MacKenzie, Jr., the only son of wealthy New Yorkers, makes his annual call to his mother, who hasn't seen Mack since he walked out of his apartment 10 years ago, and vanished.

The phone might ring at 3 a.m. A few years ago, he called a little after midnight. He doesn't say much; one or two sentences, and the line is dead.

Carolyn, Mack's sister, was 16 when her brother disappeared, and his furtiveness has marked her entire adult existence. She's spent 10 years wondering if Mack is sick or in trouble. She's put her life on hold, unable to move forward.

So when he last called, something snapped.

Carolyn screamed at Mack, telling him that she would find him. But Mack doesn't want to be found. He left Carolyn a note, warning her to stop her search.

Ignoring the note, the demands of her mother and the pleas of her late father's lawyer (who has fallen in love with Carolyn's mother), Carolyn decides to find Mack. She needs closure. Her mother needs to put everything to rest. Life need to go on, whether Mack wants to be a part of it or not.

Then another person disappears, and it doesn't seem to be voluntarily.

Coed Leesey Andrews was out with friends at a local nightclub, coincidentally owned by Mack's former roommate, Nick. When her friends left early, Leesey stayed to party and never returned home. The police are looking for her, but the search becomes more frantic when the phone call arrives.

"Please, Daddy, he says he's going to kill me."

Suddenly, knowing where Mack is now is a matter of life or death.

In every mystery, there comes an AHA moment: "Aha! The brother is the killer!" or "Aha! It's the sister!" or "Aha! The butler did it!."

You'll have a few dozen Aha! moments when you read this latest from mystery maven Mary Higgins Clark.

Where Are You Now? is a surprisingly fast read with just enough characters to throw you off the trail and just enough action to keep you turning the pages.

It's the kind of mystery that you can give to anyone who loves sleuthfests because the heroine is smart, the bad guys are completely without merit, the ending isn't frustrating, there are no lovingly gruesome scenes and no four-letter words.

"Where Are You Now?" If you're smart, you'll be standing in the mystery section of your local bookstore or library, looking for this great novel.


Terri Schlichenmeyer is the author of the Detroit Lakes Newspapers book review column, "The Bookworm Sez." Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old, and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in West Salem, Wis., with her two dogs and 9,000 books.