Book Review · Books

You Don’t Own Me (Under Suspicion #6) by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

Synopsis

“Laurie Moran recently became engaged to her show’s former host, Alex Buckley, and since then, the two have been happily planning a summer wedding and preparing for their new life together. But then Laurie is approached by Robert and Cynthia Bell, parents of Dr. Martin Bell, a famously charming and talented physician who was shot dead as he pulled into the driveway of his Greenwich Village carriage house five years ago. The Bells are sure that Martin’s disgraced and erratic wife, Kendra, carried out the murder. Determined to prove Kendra’s guilt and win custody over their grandchildren, they plead with Laurie to feature their son’s case on Under Suspicion, assuring her that Kendra is willing to cooperate.

Kendra has lived under a blanket of suspicion since Martin’s death and Laurie’s show is a chance for her to clear her name. But unbeknownst to the Bells, Kendra already refused once before to go forward with a reinvestigation of her husband’s murder, and her statements to the contrary only add to the appearance of guilt. Once Laurie dives into the case, she learns that Martin wasn’t the picture-perfect husband, father, and doctor he appeared to be and was carrying secrets of his own. And what does the web of lies ensnaring the Bell family have to do with a dangerous stranger who gazes at Laurie from afar and thinks, She is actually quite a lovely girl, I’m sure she’s going to be missed…?”

-Synopsis from back of the book

Review

*light spoilers ahead*

What do I always say? Another great Under Suspicion book! I have so enjoyed this series since I started reading it last year, and until this past week, You Don’t Own Me was the most recent book. Now the seventh and final book has been published and the series is officially coming to an end.

In You Don’t Own Me, Laurie Moran is approached by the parents of Dr. Martin Bell who was murdered five years ago, demanding to know why she passed on using their son’s case for her show. This is news to Laurie, who didn’t pass on their case but was told by their daughter-in-law, Kendra Bell that she refused to be part of the show. Laurie and the show’s host, Ryan Nichols, meet with Kendra, who also happens to have been the number one suspect in the case, and convince her that unless she wants to look even more guilty for lying, her only option is to do the show. I thought this was a little harsh, but in reality it was the only way for Laurie to keep her integrity and still move forward with the case.

More Than Meets the Eye

Based on the prologue, I didn’t think that Kendra was guilty. She wasn’t even awake at the time of the murder! But as Laurie begins to realize, there was a lot more going on with Martin and Kendra Bell than most people knew. There is the fact that Martin was allegedly having an affair at the time of his murder, with the wife of a Senator no less. There is also the fact that Kendra was allegedly on drugs around the same time, making her unreliable and untrustworthy.

Kendra had big dreams of being a doctor but her husband and in-laws only wanted her to be a stay at home mom. That, along with the postpartum depression that she developed afterward, set her back considerably from being able to rejoin the medical field. But is that enough to want revenge on her husband? Kendra has a close friend from medical school who has insisted she is not guilty from day one; could he be the one who wanted revenge on Martin for all that he put Kendra through?

Finally, and what is one of the more solid leads Laurie follows, is the matter of Kendra’s spending habits. For years she has withdrawn large amounts of cash from her bank account, without being able to point to specific reasons for needing the money. Kendra reveals to Laurie that she spent a lot of time in a bar right before Martin was murdered, talking to someone who’s name she doesn’t remember but who she fears she may have asked to kill Martin while she was under the influence. It’s a huge revelation, but only if it ends up being true. There are a lot of aspects to the case that Laurie has to sift through in order to find the truth.

Looking Ahead, While the Past Catches Up

While this investigation takes place, Laurie and Alex are actively looking for a new apartment. They are planning a small wedding for the end of the summer and hope to find a new place to move into where their families can still have their own space. Laurie is juggling constant phone calls from her realtor about new properties for sale, and Laurie and Alex go to multiple showings only to be let down and worried that they won’t find something that works for them. Laurie contemplates the fact that while she is ready to move forward into this new stage with Alex, she does still miss her husband Greg and the life she had with him and their son.

All the while, someone is stalking Laurie. We don’t know who this person is and how they are connected to Laurie or the case or both. I always enjoy the unnamed narrator perspectives because it adds to the suspense of the story, and there are often little clues sprinkled around. This time around it was harder to figure out who this person was, but it is someone from the past and their connection to Laurie turns out to be was very interesting. I thought it was a great twist!

As I got closer to the ending, all of the pieces started to come together for me. There were many red herrings in this story but ultimately, it came down to two people and was a matter of which of them did it, and if either (or both) of them knew. As usual, right as the truth comes out, something else happens that endangers Laurie’s life and it makes for a very fast-paced last few chapters. I always love those endings!

This was another enjoyable Under Suspicion novel. As I post this review, I’ve just started reading the final book Piece of My Heart which came out this past Tuesday. I’ll be sad to see this series end but I’m eager to see how everything is tied together.

Goodreads rating: Five stars

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