Synopses & Reviews
"The definition of an owl had always pleased him: a night bird of prey...sharp talons and soft plumage which permits noiseless flight...applied figuratively to a person of nocturnal habits. 'I am The Owl,' he would whisper to himself after he had selected his prey, 'and nighttime is my time.'"
Jean Sheridan, a college dean and prominent historian, sets out to her hometown in Cornwall-on- Hudson, New York, to attend the twenty-year reunion of alumni of Stonecroft Academy, where she is to be honored along with six other members of her class. There is, however, something uneasy in the air: one woman in the group about to be feted, Alison Kendall, a beautiful, high-powered Hollywood agent, died just a few days before, drowned in her pool during an early- morning swim, the fifth woman in the class whose life has come to a sudden, mysterious end.
Also adding to Jean's sense of unease is a taunting, anonymous fax she has just received, referring to her daughter, Lily, a child she had given up for adoption twenty years ago, the offspring of a romance between her and a West Point cadet killed in an accident a week before graduation. She had always kept the child's existence a secret, so who has found out? And why the implied threat now?
Struggling to conceal her fears, Jean arrives at the hotel where the reunion is being held. One by one she sees the other honorees, including Laura Wilcox, the class beauty, whose dazzling exterior belies the fact that her television career is sinking, and the four men who, like Jean, had spent four bitterly unhappy years at Stonecroft: Carter (formerly Howie) Stewart, an acerbic and successful playwright, once the class nerd; renowned child psychiatrist and talk-show celebrity Mark Fleischman, who has never been able to resolve the pain of his own adolescence; Gordon Amory, a media mogul, hardly recognizable as the awkward boy who was the butt of cruel jokes; Robby Brent, a popular comedian, whose caustic humor emanates from a childhood of rejection. Omnipresent is an old classmate, Jack Emerson, the chairman of the reunion, whose reasons for spearheading the event may be motivated by something other than class spirit.
At the award dinner, Jean is introduced to Sam Deegan, a detective obsessed for years by the unsolved murder of a young woman in Cornwall, who may also hold the key to the identity of the Stonecroft killer and the source of the anonymous threat to her child. She does not suspect that among the distinguished people she is greeting is The Owl, a murderer nearing the countdown on his mission of vengeance against the Stonecroft women who had mocked and humiliated him, with Jean his final intended victim.
In Nighttime Is My Time, Mary Higgins Clark creates a riveting novel of psychological suspense, penetrating behind the pervading façade of status and respectability to depict the mind of a killer.
"This time out, Clark ups the ante from her standard female-in-peril plot to three females in peril, all targets of a serial killer who fancies himself a night-hunting predator: 'I am the Owl,' he whispers to himself after he has selected his prey, 'and nighttime is my time.' The Owl kills his first victim, then it's off to attend his 20th high school reunion at Stonecroft Academy in Cornwall-on-Hudson, where he intends to do in the last several women who humiliated him when he was a geeky high school student. Jean Sheridan, one of the intended victims, was actually nice to the Owl, but he decides she has to die anyway because someone told him she once made fun of him. Jean's daughter, Lily, whom Jean gave away at birth, must also die, for obscure reasons, as must Laura, the class beauty. In the course of stalking and capturing these three, the Owl kills several innocent bystanders just to vent his anger and alludes to dozens more he has slaughtered over the years. The game here is figuring out which of the men who come to the reunion, all former nerds, is the Owl: Carter Stewart, now a genius playwright; Mark Fleischman, a psychiatrist with a syndicated television program; Gordon Amory, television magnate; Robby Brent, famous comedian; or Jack Emerson, local real estate tycoon. If the killer's animal fetish is the Owl, then Clark's is surely the red herring as she cleverly throws them in by the dozen, providing irrefutable proof that first one man, then another, must be guilty. Since any of the men might be the killer, the final revelation is anticlimactic, but Clark's multitude of fans will be happy enough to spend time with the innocent and imperiled Jean and to participate in the guessing game. Agents, Eugene Winick and Sam Pinkus. (Apr. 6) Forecast:No surprises here this should hit #1." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Mary Higgins Clark is renowned for her reality-based thrillers and superb gift as a storyteller. Nighttime Is My Time, built upon a frightening premise torn straight from today's headlines, is Clark at her very best, a riveting novel of suspense in which eerie coincidence gives way to chilling intrigue and potentially devastating consequence. Across the nation, young women are vanishing. By all accounts, their disappearances seem unrelated. But one young woman, realizing that she may have narrowly escaped their fate, begins to wonder could all these women have had the same abductor? Determined to learn the truth, she finds herself in the midst of an investigation pitting her against a dangerous and ruthless foe.
Building upon a frightening premise torn straight from today's headlines, the undisputed "Queen of Suspense" delivers a chilling new thriller about a nationwide spate of abductions targeting young women.
The undisputed "Queen of Suspense" delivers a chilling new thriller, set during the 20th high school reunion of a "tragedy-ridden" class, as a murderer sets out on a mission of vengeance against the women who once humiliated him.