Book Critique - Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: A strong topic with an approach that lightens the crime, but leans heavily on the investigation and justice - a perfect last novel by the Queen of Suspense.

Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry is the latest thriller by Mary Higgins Clark published in November of 2019. 

On January 31st 2020, we lost the "Queen of Suspense" who herself became a mysterious star in the unknown sky, a year and a half after he third husband John J. Conheeney passed away. She was one of my favorite authors, in fact the very person who had introduced me to mysteries and thrillers that gave women strength and courage to beat the odds and come out successful. At the age of 92, she was still spinning amazing stories just like this book. It is still surreal about her death, about the fact that there will be no more Mary Higgins Clark novels to look forward to. She has left a huge gap in the world of mystery and suspense for sure. 

In 2016 when Mary had come to Chatham, NJ to promote her book As Time Goes By and I missed going to the event because it was a week day and I couldn’t take off. I will forever regret missing the opportunity to meet her.

I was in fact reading this book when the news came across the waves and broke my heart. I almost put the book down as tears rolled down my cheeks. Then I thought I would read the book in her honor, and dedicate my review to her as a tribute. So here we go. 

When Gina Kane, a free lance investigative journalist, receives a message regarding "wrong doings" at one of the biggest news corporation, she starts her investigation. With little proof to go on, Gina pursues no matter. However, when bodies start piling up, Gina must not only fear for the lives of the others who had been wronged, but also for her very own. 

For her last book, not that she knew about it when she wrote it, Mary has picked a very strong topic that cannot be ignored at any cost. Corporations are filled with abuse by employees towards their subordinates or peers. Although Mary focused on sex, it is prevalent with both sexes lately. 

A bold topic that Mary could have written in more gorier or grittier language. However, she kept it very simple while portraying the crime, but very complex while lugging us along unraveling and solving it. Typical pattern Mary has been following lately. 

Mary writes her plot that takes us between what is happening today and what happened a couple years ago. That back and forth sliding made the book split into three parts - present, past and present. 

For the most part, Mary's novel titles are lyrics from famous songs. However in this case it is not. But, we do see a few tunes floating across the plot. One of them being Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone, his 1965 single. Specially the lines "When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose".

And another one is That's Amore by Dean Martin from his 1953 album Dean Martin Sings.

Another difference I noticed with this novel were the number of editing errors I found. Mary's books are impeccable and I could rarely find a mistake, if any, it would be just one. However, this time the book seemed to be flowing with errors. Makes me wonder if her editors and publishers did a rush job. In hind sight, it does seem so considered she passed away two months after this book was published. 

Mary certainly created a mystery worth remembered beyond her existence by generations to come. It may be on the lighter side compared to her other books, but she did give the readers a light into the corporate world where we get to see to what extent these executives could go in order to sweep these "bad happenings" under the rug. She threw a punch at these corporations very expertly. 

While I am reading and writing a review on this book, my mind wanders back to her Under Suspicion series and wonders what would happen to it. Will Alafair Burke continue it in collaboration with Mary's team? Will there be more books from Mary's estate, any of her unfinished novels? 

As these questions linger in my mind, I finish this book and shed a tear for the Queen of Suspense who would be dearly missed by one and all. Wishing that she would be spinning more stories wherever she has gone to, hoping that the angels and gods  thoroughly enjoy it as we mortals had, I shut my eyes and pray for her soul to rest in peace!

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Catherine Ryan's family: brother Andrew; 

b. Other victims: Meg Williamson, divorced with a 6-year old daughter Jillian; Lauren Pomerantz; Mel Carroll; Christina Neumann; Paula Stephenson;

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Gina Kane's family and friends: her boy friend Theodore "Ted" Wilson; best friend Lisa; father Joseph "Jay" Kane; Marian Callow, Jay's girlfriend; 

b. People at Empire Review, the magazine for which Gina freelances: Jane Patwell, administrative assistant; Charlie Maynard, outgoing editor in chief (wife Shirley); Geoffrey "Geoff" Whitehurst, incoming editor in chief; Marianne Hartig, deputy editor; 

c. REL News Corporation staff: Michael J. Carter, lawyer in Human Resources (wife Beverly and son Zack); Brad Matthews, anchorman; Fredrick "Fred" Carlyle Jr. aka Junior, son of the company founder; Dick Sherman, CEO; Edward "Ed" Myers, CFO (wife Diane and daughter Tara); Bruce Brady, chief counsel; 

3. Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 83, last line, it should be "…to write notes…"

b. On Pg. 115, Mary has conflicting information around the wife of the character, Dick Sherman. In the second para, she mentions that Dick had taken a divorce after he found out affair of his wife. And towards the end of the very same page, she shows Dick's wife very much present in his house. So did he get divorced from his first wife, and living with his second wife now?

c. On Pg. 219, Mary introduced Bruce Brady as the chief counsel for Empire Review magazine. But on Pg. 315, Mary made Bruce as REL News lawyer. 

d. On Pg. 254, Line 10, it should be "of movement it offered…"


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