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Stranger Is Watching [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Higgins Clark
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1991
Ronald Thompson knows he never killed Nina Peterson... yet in two days the state of Connecticut will take his life, having found him guilty via due process of law. But Thompson's death will not stop the pain and anger of Nina's husband, Steve. Thompson's death will not still the fears of Nna's six-year-old son, Neil, witness to his mother's brutal slaying. Not even the love and friendship of Sharon Martin, a journalist who is slowly becoming a part of their world, will ever erase their bitter memories. Only time, perhaps, will heal their wounds. But in the shadows a stranger waits, a cunning psychopath who has killed before, who has unfinished business at the Peterson home...

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About the Author

Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, has written thirty-three suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; two children’s books, including The Magical Christmas Horse; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. She is also the coauthor with Carol Higgins Clark of five holiday suspense novels. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From Chapter One

"Do you believe that the circumstances in Ronald Thompson's case, the fact that he committed the murder only days after his seventeenth birthday, making him barely eligible for adult punishment, should have been considered?" (Tom) Brokaw (of the Today Show) asked quickly.

Steve said, "As you know, I will not comment specifically on the Thompson case. It would be entirely inappropriate."

"I understand your concern, Mr. Peterson," the interviewer said, "but you had taken your position on this issue several years before..." He paused, then continued quietly, "before Ronald Thompson murdered your wife."

Ronald Thompson murdered your wife. The starkness of the words still surprised Steve. After two and a half years, he could still feel the sense of shock and outrage that Nina had died that way, her life snuffed out by the intruder who came into their home, by the hands that had relentlessly twisted her scarf around her throat.

Trying to blot the image from his mind, he looked directly ahead. "At one time, I had hoped that the ban on executions in our country might become a permanent one. But as you point out, long before the tragedy in my own family, I had come to the conclusion that if we were to preserve the most fundamental right of human beings...freedom to come and go without fear, freedom to feel sanctuary in our homes, we had to stop the perpetrators of violence. Unfortunately the only way to stop potential murderers seems to be to threaten them with the same harsh judgment they mete out to their victims. And since the first execution was carried out two years ago, the number of murders has dropped dramatically in major cities across the country."

Sharon leaned forward. "You make it sound so reasonable," she cried. "Don't you realize that forty-five percent of murders are committed by people under 25 years of age, many of whom have tragic family backgrounds and a history of instability?"

The solitary viewer in Biltmore's room 932 took his eyes from Steve Peterson and studied the girl thoughtfully. This was the writer Steve was getting serious about. She wasn't at all like his wife. She was obviously taller and had the slender body of someone who might be athletic. His wife had been small and doll-like with rounded breasts and jet black hair that curled around her forehead and ears when she turned her head.

Sharon Martin's eyes reminded him of the color of the ocean that day he'd driven down to the beach last summer. He'd heard that Jones Beach was a good place to meet girls but it hadn't worked out. The one he'd started to fool with in the water had called "Bob!" and a minute later this guy had been beside him, asking what his problem was. So he'd moved his blanket and just stared out at the ocean, watching the changing colors. Green. That was it. Green mixed with blue and churning. He liked eyes that color.

What was Steve saying? Oh yes, he'd said something about feeling sorry for the victims, not their murderers, "for people incapable of defending themselves."

"My sympathies are with them too," Sharon cried "But it's not either/or. Don't you see that life imprisonment would be punishment enough for the Ronald Thompsons of this world?" She forgot Tom Brokaw, forgot the television cameras as once again she tried to convince Steve. "How can you...who are so compassionate...who value life so much...want to play God?" she asked. "How can anyone presume to play God?"

It was an argument that began and ended the same way as it had that first time six months ago when they'd met on this program. Finally Tom Brokaw said, "Our time is running out. Can we sum up by saying that notwithstanding the public demonstrations, prison riots and student rallys that are regularly occurring all over the country, you still believe, Mr. Peterson, that the sharp drop in random murder justifies execution?"

"I believe in the moral right...the duty...of society to protect itself, and of the government to protect the sacred liberty of its citizens," Steve said.

"Sharon Martin?" Brokaw turned quickly to her. "I believe that the death penalty is senseless and brutalizing. I believe that we can make the home and streets safe by removing violent offenders and punishing them with swift, sure sentences, by voting for the bond issues that will build the necessary correctional institutions and will pay the people who staff them. I believe that it is our reverence for life, all life, that is the final test of us as individuals and as a society."

Tom Brokaw said hurriedly, "Sharon Martin, Steven Peterson, thank you for being with us on Today. I'll be back after this message..."

The television set in room 932 of the Biltmore was snapped off. For a long time the muscular, thick-chested man in the green-plaid suit sat staring straight ahead at the darkened screen. Once again he reviewed his plan, the plan that began with putting the pictures and the suitcase in the secret room in Grand Central Station and would end with bringing Steve Peterson's son Neil there tonight. But now he had to decide. Sharon Martin was going to be at Steve's house this evening. She would be minding Neil until Steve got home.

He'd planned simply to eliminate her there.

But should he? She was so beautiful.

He thought of those eyes, the color of the ocean, churning, caring.

It seemed to him that when she looked directly into the camera she had been looking at him. It seemed as though she wanted him to come for her.

Maybe she loved him.

If she didn't it would be easy to get rid of her.

He'd just leave her in the room in Grand Central with the child on Wednesday morning.

Then at 11:30 when the bomb went off, she, too, would be blown to bits.

Copyright © 1977 by Mary Higgins Clark --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Stranger is Watching" by Mary Higgens Clark Dec 5 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you are interested in reading an intense novel that keeps you from wanting to put the book down, then "A Stranger is Watching" by Mary Higgens Clark is the book to read. This novel is full of intense situations which makes the reader see things in a completely different perspective.
Kidnapping is a devastating situation which occurs in everyday life. In "A Stranger is Watching", it shows the viewpoint from which one is kidnapped. The novel gave a horrifying insight on what, the character that had been kidnapped, had to go through. It gave great detail on the emotional distress that the character felt, it made the reader feel as if he/she were the ones going through the terrifying tragedy. It also showed the viewpoint from the police officers and the investigators, and the stress they had to go through as the victems lives depended on them.
It's truely amazing what a difference one person can make and how many lives they effect. Many people were effected by this tragedy and many people put in 110% effort to help save the victems lives and to obtain justice. The novel shows the reader what the many people that are effected have to go through in real life situations. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves intense reading.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was expecting more suspense in this story but it lost it somewhere near the beginning. It was more of a 'clock'watching' tension suspense.
~Ronald Thompson knows he never killed Nina Peterson, yet the state of Connecticut is going to take his life for the brutal murder.
Nina's husband, Steve Peterson cannot deal with the pain and overwhelming anger he feels for Thompson and thinks his death will ease some of it. To make matters worse, his only child, a six-year old Neil has witnessed Nina's murder and refuses to speak to anyone.
Sharon Martin is a journalist who oposses the death penality and is trying to prove Thompson's death is a waste. The problem is, she is in love with Steve and Steve is madly in love with her, but Nina's death is hanging over them like a black cloud. Only time can ease his pain and the love of this woman. But in the shadows, a stranger waits. A cunning psychopath who has killed before and who has unfinished business at the Peterson home...can Sharon stop the wrong man from dying? Will the killer get to them before she can prove it?
A true time-watcher's dream. Sharon must beat the clock to save an innocent man's life! Will Steve help her or will he thwart her efforts? A nail-bitter...
Tracy Talley~@
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great author; great book Dec 11 2000
By "koley"
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Four stars go to a wonderful author with several published books. A Stranger Is Watching was particularly intriguing. It keeps the reader interested and not wanting to stop. The short chapters make it an easy book to get hooked on. The mother of a family is killed and a local teen is found guilty of the murder. Ronald Thompson knows he did not kill Nina Peterson but he will be executed in just fifty-two hours. Steve Peterson, the husband of the victim and his new girlfriend, Sharon Martin have different points of view on capital punishment. Sharon and six year old Neil, son of Steve and Nina, get kidnapped by a man for ransom. Only Mary Higgins Clark could write a story this twisted and terrifying. With a good storyline to keep readers of all ages turning to read just "one more chapter," I would recommend this book to anybody that likes suspense. The only negative thing about this book is the way there are so many different groups of people and every chapter switches to tell about a different group each time. The first three chapters are kind of boring but once you get into the meat of the story and discover what is going on, there is no putting it down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Strange Man Who Isn't Really a Stranger Jan. 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a story I wasn't sure I would enjoy. Usually anything short of almost 400 pages isn't nearly developed enough for my tastes. I quickly learned that this was not the case. Ms. Clark can quickly and what is seemingly effortlessly spin a tale that captures your attention and holds it throughout. I was in awe of her ability to tell the story from each individual character's viewpoint, and do not regret picking up this short read.
Steve Peterson lost his wife to a brutal murder, and Ronald Thompson is awaiting execution on death row for her murder. Steve's world has just recently begun to show signs that there can again be love. His hopes are soon dashed yet again as he discovers Sharon, his new love is missing along with his son Neil. As Steve fights ot find Sharon and Neil, time is running out for Ronald, and now there is doubt as to his guilt as peices that went missing in his trial now become evident. Can the puzzle be solved for all involved before it is too late?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel April 22 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm reading the Marry Higgins Clark book A Stranger is Watching . I haven't finished it yet but already I can tell it is a very good book. I like the way she keeps you informed on what is going on. I know what is happening to Sharon and Neil, but I know how helpless Steve and Huge feel. They don't have a clue about any thing. I even feel helpless because I can't get in the book and tell them what is going on. I don't understand why "Foxy" is doing this to Steve. I mean first his wife now his son and his girlfriend. Hopefully after I finish the book it will make more sense. I have read a few of Clarks other books and they all are like this, they all keep you hanging on the edge of your seat and you cant put them down.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Can't put it down!
Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book at beginning and almost to the End.
Actually this was a very supspenseful book, it was well versed.One thing about MHC she doesn't give the best conclusion's. Read more
Published on July 23 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A stranger is watching
A stranger is watching by Mary Higgins Clark is a great book. It is about a little boy, whose mom was murdered a few years ago and his dad's new girl friend. Read more
Published on June 3 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful
I like Mary Higgins Clark and her book A Stranger Is Watching though not my favorite of her books is good and suspenseful and I recommend it to any fans of this author.
Published on April 5 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stranger is Watching
This book was really good. The plot is too complex to tell it all here, so I'll just say this: It was a total page-turning thriller. It was so good, I read it twice in a row. Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stranger is Watching
"A Stranger is Watching," is a very interesting book. This book starts off with a lady named Sharon and a young boy they both get kid naped and locked into a room. Read more
Published on Sept. 21 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars about a stranger is watching
A man and his son live alone. His wife died a few years ago by someone but no one knows who the killer is. He meets someone new and invites her over. Read more
Published on April 4 2001 by Allison Rodebeck
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre,which is still above avg with MHC
I enjoyed this thriller by MHC. But once again felt there was not enough depth for the characters. More time should have been spent on the relationships of the characters to help... Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars This was Awesome!
I pesonally would have to say this book was one of the best I've ever read. The view point of this book was very unique in that they relayed the events from each persons view. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2000 by Kelly Homerski
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