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Nighttime Is My Time [Hardcover]

Mary Higgins Clark
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 6 2004 Clark, Mary Higgins
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.


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From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As graduates of the Stonecroft Academy class of '84 prepare for their twentieth high-school reunion, only a pimple-faced reporter for the school paper notes that this class has seen more than its share of mysterious deaths--and that all of the victims, one of whom died on the eve of the reunion, were members of a popular clique. The lovely Laura, now an actress, has survived thus far, but will she make it through the reunion? And what about Jean? She was popular, too, but she seems to have found the killer's soft spot. We know from the start that the murderer is a classmate--but not which one. We only know it was someone who was spurned by girls and made fun of by everyone, someone who dubbed his evil alter ego The Owl. But Jean treated him differently back then; when he didn't make the team, she had a kind a word for him. Jean's mind currently is on the anonymous messages threatening Lily--the daughter she gave up years ago. Who knows that Lily is hers? While trying to uncover who's taunting her, The Owl gets way too close. Clark's certainly mastered the art of the page-turner, and though many characters are relatively shallow and the plot somewhat predictable, fans will enjoy the comfort of watching the Clark formula unwind yet again. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Different Nov. 11 2007
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a riveting novel depicting the mind of a killer. The story is of a murderer nearing the end of his mission of vengeance against women who had mocked and humiliated him during his school years. It is also about the detective obsessed with solving these murders.

The novel is full of suspense one can hardly put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nighttime is My Time June 19 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Jean Sheridan, a highly intelligent and famous historian that wrote a best-selling novel about Abigail Adams, begrudgingly arrives at her twentieth-year-reunion for Stonecroft Academy High School, in Cornwall-on-Hudson. Jean dearly wishes that she did not have to come back to Stonecroft, because Cornwall only reminds her of the public scandal fights that her parents---who also both passionately hated each other, and only stayed together until they could shove Jean into college---often had. But Jean decides to come anyway, especially since Stonecroft will be having a special memorial ceremony in the cemetery for Alison Kendall, one of the heads at a big Hollywood talent agency, who tragically drowned in her pool last month.

But while rumors abound that, since Alison stepped on so many people to just get to her high position, and that she was always a cruel queen bee in school, Jean likes to think that Alison only had a fainting spell in her pool and was not murdered by forced drowning. But what frightens Jean the most is the very threatening faxes that she has been receiving about Lily, he secret daughter an eighteen-year-old Jean was forced to give up for adoption to a kindhearted couple when the father of Lily was tragically killed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nightime Keeps You Up at Night Jan. 27 2011
By James A. Anderson TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Just finished Mary Higgins Clark's Nightime Is My Time. I must say I found it an exciting thriller with a vast array of characters and suspects. The climax is exciting and I didn't guess the killer. He's a serial killer called the Owl who leaves a tiny porcelain owl with each of his victims. "I am an Owl and I live in a tree," says this sick psycho who is on a revenge trip for slights he received years ago in school. "Night time is my time."
Something is rotten at the Stonecroft Academy's twentieth reunion. Of seven girls who shared a lunchtable 20 years ago, five have been done in by the Owl. He plans on getting the last two at the reunion. So much for bullying!
This is a pretty good read, even if a little over the top and melodramatic in a few sections. A real page turner.
Some of my friends don't care for Mary Higgins Clark's work, but I have enjoyed the five novels of hers I have read. She is prolific and has written 31 books in the past 30 years.
I had the privilege as a journalist of meeting her and interviewing her about 10 years ago during a book signing tour. She's a very gracious and warm lady who makes time for her fans and readers. She is both personable and genuine.
She said she knows the endings of her books before she writes them. "I have to know," she said. "Not the details, but I know which of my suspects is guilty.
She sets out a number of red herrings in this book set at West Point, New York. The journey to find the real killer is an interesting one. Mary lives in Saddle River, New Jersey and has a summer home in Cape Cod. She has 5 grown children and her favorite children's book is A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter.
The Queen of Suspense, as she is known by many fans, says she "loved to tell scary stories since I was age 5."

James A Anderson, Author

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By Bruce
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a braille proofreader, I tend to come across a lot of bad writing. Mary Higgins Clark falls into this category.
There are several problems, as I see it, with the writing of this book. One is the way Clark handles thought processes. This is not an example from the book, but illustrates my point:
Wow, thought Jean, It still amazes me that, as a girl growing up with two parents who hated each other, thus not affording me the loving environment one feels children should have, and given the horror of discovering the man I loved was dead, both of which must have scarred me severely emotionally ... And so on. The past is told through thought, and it just seems inauthentic to me.
Another problem I had was with the ending itself. I will not reveal it, but with a good mystery, the reader is left thinking, "I should have figured that out." This is not the case with Nighttime. In the case of this book, the author seems to have (badly) penned a story, and at the end just picked one character whom she decided would be the murderer. Rather than provide clues to lead readers to the murderer, all she did was mislead and provide a few dead ends.
It's a bad writing style, it assumes no intelligence on the part of the reader, and I do not recommend it.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I really liked it
Want three really good books to read? NIGHTTIME is certainly one. But Roth's PLOT AGAINST AMERICA and McCrae's THE CHILDREN'S CORNER are also good bets. Read more
Published on April 2 2005 by Ruth Varshack
1.0 out of 5 stars A School Without ANY Class
Set in the very real, very familiar town of Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, the exclusive Stonecroft School is holding its 20th Anniversary Reunion. Read more
Published on March 30 2005
1.0 out of 5 stars A School Without Any Class
Set in the very real, very familiar town of Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, the exclusive Stonecroft School is holding its 20th Anniversary Reunion. Read more
Published on March 30 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Hoot, Hoot, Hoot says the Owl.......
This book was terrific. There are so many twists and turns that you did not know what to think. The fact that all the girls were friends and that Jeannie had a secret that she... Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Lorraine Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Now that's what I'm talking!
Yeow! What a thrilling thriller! I was on pins and needles during the entire story. Thanks to Ms. Mary Higgins Clark, I now have NO fingernails left...Thank You Very Much! Read more
Published on June 28 2004 by Shana Black
4.0 out of 5 stars i love mhc but this isn't her best
i love mhc books and have read every single one of her books, and although i was really anticipating this one to be great and really wanted to, it fell short of her usual. Read more
Published on June 24 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this one; use a matrix to follow the suspects
I've been in a dry spell in the past month trying to get involved in a book and this one cured me - I found it extremely gripping, fun and impossible to put down. Read more
Published on June 7 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars I miss her old writing style
Mary Higgins Clark sure doesn't write them like she used to. I remember how suspenseful her first works were and truly miss that. Read more
Published on June 7 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Her Best
I read this book, and was very disappointed. It definately was not one of her best. Some parts were very well written, but overall it wasn't enjoyable.
Published on June 7 2004
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