Book review: I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark

I’ll Walk Alone
by Mary Higgins Clark
Simon & Schuster, 2011.

I’ll Walk Alone repeats the successful formula of n other books by Mary Higgins Clark. The reader knows exactly what to expect – the protagonist is a decent young woman suffering some ordeal that is outside her control; various male characters are involved, one of whom will probably end up being the villain and another of whom will probably end up marrying her; and there’s a dash of suspense, but nothing too explicit, in resolving the mystery.

I’ll Walk Alone is about an interior designer, Zan (Alexandra) Moreland, whose young child disappeared from a New York park two years ago, never to be found. Zan has attempted to put her life back together, but although she makes ends meet she remains traumatised. The framework for the action here is two-fold: Zan is behaving strangely (for example, confessing to a priest that she is aware of a murder that is about to be committed); and some startling new evidence is revealed indicating she may have kidnapped her own child.

Events unfold from the perspective of several characters, two of whom are Alivirah and Willie Meehan, who will be familiar from previous novels as Alvirah, a cleaning lady, won millions of dollars in the state lottery and is now an amateur detective and columnist for a New York newspaper. It is in this latter guise that she has become friends with Zan, trying to support the fragile young woman as she tries to re-establish her career. However, even Alvirah begins to doubt Zan’s sanity as the evidence implicating her in her son’s disappearance seems overwhelming.

This is a book that one must simply take on its own terms. It carries the reader along in its engaging, confiding style. However, there are many coincidences and plot holes that really don’t bear any scrutiny. If one is going to enjoy the novel, one is going to have to leave one’s critical faculties at the door. There is also rather a lot left unexplained at the end about what’s been going on for the past two years and why, not least in the motivation of one person, who seems particularly dopey when it comes to being threatened and manipulated, and seems never to have heard of covering oneself by lodging an account of events with a lawyer or bank. Yet despite these flaws, reading this undemanding book passed the time pleasantly enough on a Saturday while suffering from a cold.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Other reviews of this novel: SCC Library Reads, Fiction Addict and Just One More Thing.

About the book at the author’s website – there is more of a plot summary here than I’ve provided, which probably removes quite a bit of what suspense there is from the novel. (An author’s preface provides a similar function; it would have been better placed at the end of the book. And there’s also a spoiler on the front-cover blurb.)

Wikipedia on Mary Higgins Clark – her fascinating life and a bibliography.