“Laurie Moran and her fiance, Alex Buckley, the former host of her investigative television show Under Suspicion, are just days away from their midsummer wedding when Alex’s seven-year-old nephew, John, vanishes from the beach. Witnesses recall Johnny playing in the water and collecting shells near an ice cream shack, but when his new sitter turned her head, he vanished. As the sun sets, Johnny’s skim board washes up to shore, and everyone realizes that he could be anywhere, even in the ocean.
Could the abduction be related to the wedding? Was Laurie’s ten-year-old son, Timmy, the intended target? Or was Johnny abducted by a stranger? Laurie and Alex, along with Johnny’s parents and Leo Farlley, Laurie’s father and a retired NYPD detective, are determined to track down every lead.
A ticking clock, a sinister stalker, and fresh romance combine in this exhilarating follow-up to the bestselling You Don’t Own Me – a riveting page-turner from Clark and her dazzling partner in crime, Alafair Burke. This is the masterful final novel from the beloved “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark, who was literally writing this novel up until the day she passed away.”
-Synopsis from the book
Piece of My Heart is the seventh and final book in the Under Suspicion series. While each case investigated up until this point has affected Laurie personally, this one by far was the one that hit closest to home.
Days before her wedding to Alex Buckley, Alex’s nephew Johnny is kidnapped. What was supposed to be a fun weekend of family time turns into a nightmare as the family tries to locate Johnny. After days of searching, they decide to postpone the wedding and dedicate all of their resources to helping to find Johnny. For Johnny’s parents, this means working closely with local police who are investigating the kidnapping, setting up a website where people can submit tips or information, and communicating with the media as they plead for their son to be returned safely.
For Laurie, it means searching for reasons as to why Johnny could have been taken. She knows that the likelihood of this being a random kidnapping is slim. There is usually a reason, a connection somewhere, but she can’t put her finger on what it might be. Eventually she comes to believe that because Johnny physically resembles her own son, Timmy, it’s possible that Johnny was kidnapped because someone thought he was Timmy. This theory sets Laurie off to figure out who in her past might still have a grudge, only this time it’s not her or Alex that has unfinished business, but her father, Leo Farley.
Laurie and Leo determine that an ongoing investigation that Leo is involved in could be connected to Johnny’s kidnapping. To Johnny’s mother, Marcy, this all sounds too far-fetched to be possible. But Laurie can’t sit still and do nothing while Johnny’s life might be at stake, so she moves forward with her theory and gets her show involved. Laurie believes that the national attention the show could bring to the case her father is involved in, the one she suspects may also be connected to Johnny’s kidnapping, could provide a breakthrough.
Meanwhile, alternating chapters show Johnny’s perspective from the moment he is kidnapped. He is not mistreated, but he is terrified and misses his family. He is a smart boy, though, and he knows that he has to do as he is told in order to not be hurt.
The chapters with Johnny started early, making this read very suspenseful right from the beginning. Normally with the Under Suspicion books, the story picks up about halfway through, at least for me. This time, things are intense from the beginning.
With the story kicking off so early, I ended up reading this book very quickly. There was so much going on, and I just had to know why Johnny was kidnapped and if it really was connected to Laurie and her son. I also had to see Laurie and Alex get married, of course!
Overall, this was such a great ending to this series. I’ve said it many times but I’m sorry to see this series be over! Thankfully there are still many more Mary Higgins Clark books out there for me to read, and Alafair Burke books as well.
Goodreads rating: Five stars