It’s a sequel to the book that started Mary Higgins Clark’s rise to fame as the “Queen of Suspense.” The premise to Where Are the Children Now? was a collaboration between Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke prior to Clark’s passing in 2020. Themes from the bestselling Where Are the Children are repeated nearly 50 years later in this new contemporary thriller. This sequel can be read without reading the first book. The book sleeve gives you enough of the backstory for everything to make sense. However, reading two great books in a row is an even better idea.
Melissa and Mike are survivors of a kidnapping that took place 40 years ago. Melissa has chosen to block out the past declaring that “happiness is a choice.”’ She has a promising career as an attorney with a successful podcast and a new family with Charlie and his little girl Riley. Mike has embraced his violent past and moved forward as a boat captain. When their mother Nancy decides to move to a new cottage on Long Island, everyone pitches in to help.
It is from Nancy’s idyllic cottage that Riley disappears while Melissa is sleeping. After a night of searching, no one believes that Riley just wandered off. The infuriating thing is that the police, who at first refused to even consider this to be a kidnapping case, are now looking at Melissa and Charlie as suspects. Melissa is a strong female protagonist worth rooting for. She and her family have survived so much already. As they come together the reader feels hope, even at this time of despair, that things will work out in the end.
While the reader is given clues about where Riley is, the suspense is in following the whole community working together trying to find her. It’s not at all clear who took her or why. Through twists and turns the pace of the novel is brisk and satisfying.
If you enjoy the compelling, intricately plotted suspense novels of Lisa Jewell or Sally Hepworth this could be a great fit for you. You may even finish the book in a day – it’s so hard to put down.