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The Second Time Around: A Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Higgins Clark
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 30 2004
The "Queen of Suspense," Mary Higgins Clark, delivers a gripping tale of deception and tantalizing twists that might have been ripped from today's headlines.
When Nicholas Spencer, the charismatic head of a company that has developed an anticancer vaccine, disappears without a trace, reporter Marcia "Carley" DeCarlo is assigned the story. Word that Spencer, if alive, has made off with huge sums of money -- including the life savings of many employees -- doesn't do much to change Carley's already low opinion of Spencer's wife, Lynn, who is also Carley's stepsister and whom everyone believes is involved. But when Lynn's life is threatened, she asks Carley to help her prove that she wasn't her husband's accomplice. As the facts unfold, however, Carley herself becomes the target of a dangerous, sinister group that will stop at nothing to get what they want.

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From Publishers Weekly

There's something special about Clark's thrillers, and it's not just the gentleness with which the bestselling writer approaches her often lurid subject matter (in this one, for instance, there are numerous killings, but all occur off-page). Special above all is the compassion she extends to her characters-heroines, villains and supporting cast alike. In this latest effort, she conjures empathy even toward a mass killer, whose murderous spree has been sparked by a corporate crime. The smoothly told tale is narrated partly from the third-person perspective of the killer, and partly from the first-person point of view of Wall Street Weekly correspondent Carley De Carlo. Carley is the stepsister of Lynn Spencer, whose charismatic husband, Nicholas, dies in the crash of his small plane as he is fleeing arrest for looting the medical company he founded, which had made claims of a cancer cure, now proved false. Myriad investors have lost much, sometimes everything; one is Ned Cooper, whose beloved wife died as a consequence of Nicholas Spencer's thievery, and who determines to take revenge, setting off on a killing spree. Assigned to do a feature about the Spencer case, Carley digs deep, uncovering clues to a conspiracy within Spencer's medical company, as well as to the possibility that the cancer cure worked after all. Can she get to the bottom of the mess before Ned Cooper, or the possible conspirators, take her out? Clark's fans know the answer to that question, but what the novel lacks in suspense it makes up for in grace, charm and solid storytelling.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A feature writer for a newspaper, Carley DeCarlo has been assigned to do an article on the life and death of Nicholas Spencer, an eminent researcher who was on the verge of developing a pharmaceutical cure for cancer. Since millions of specially donated dollars are missing from his firm, his airplane accident may have been a faked suicide, or murder. Occasional chapters feature a disturbed man as he retaliates for the death of his wife, which he blames on Spencer's firm. Carley's portion of the story is written in first person so readers follow her doubts and triumphs as clues are revealed. She is a true sleuth; she often gets a clue that confuses her, but she keeps on investigating. Tension builds gradually as readers see both the heroine and the schizophrenic at work. But is he the only villain? Short chapters help to keep the suspenseful plot moving along.
Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --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 The Second Time Around Sept. 15 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Thirty-two-year-old Marcia "Carley" DeCarlo, writer of a financial advice column and eager New York journalist, sits in a section roped off for the media in a pressroom as a man cries in outrage, a beautiful blonde woman begs her innocence, and a stiff executive endure the boos and catcalls of the crowd. What caused this scene? The answer is Nicholas Spencer, the attractive and charismatic founder of the multi-billion dollar medical corporation, Gen-stone. Spencer claimed that using his doctor-father's research, he had finally discovered a vaccine to cure and prevent cancer. Two weeks ago, Spencer's private plane crashed into the sea during a freak storm while flying to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he would be attending a conference. But now that Spencer is dead, a terrible rumor has surfaced, appearing to be very reliable: Gen-stone's cancer vaccine is useless, and Spencer, a con man, created an elaborate hoax, where he did not die, but only seemingly slipped off the face of the earth.

Spencer's beautiful blonde wife, Lynn Hamilton Spencer, who also happens to be the rich stepsister Carley has only met three times---and in those three times developed an extreme dislike for Lynn---claims total innocence in her husband's hoax. Can Lynn be trusted? And the man enduring the hatred of Gen-stone's donators is Charles Wallingford, a Gen-stone executive and friend of Spencer. The story is splashed across national headlines and is all over CNN. But this story becomes even more high-profile when Lynn is nearly killed in a vicious fire set on her Fifth Avenue apartment; the fire was clearly arson. Now, Lynn begs her stepsister Carley to help Lynn prove her innocence to the rest of the country. Reluctantly, Carley agrees.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Such a deception! Aug. 15 2004
I am a huge MHC fan. I have read all her books. This one is the worst by far. I couldn't believe it. The plot and ending is so predictible. I finished the book thinking what a waste of my time that was. I will buy her next book and give her another chance but that's it after. This book was such a deception.
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5.0 out of 5 stars best book i've ever read July 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
this story keeps you wondering what will happen. It was a real page turner. Kept you thinking throughtout the book. Who really is the one to blame? This book is set local in new york city. It is a great book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good June 22 2004
This book kept me reading but I can't say that it was really fast-paced. I really liked how the author switched narratives between the first person view of Carley, the reporter investigating everything and the 3rd person view of the arsonist/murderer Ned.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Flat entry by a talented writer June 12 2004
It's no doubt that Clark is one of the most talented mystery writers around, but this attempt, despite her deft handling of different points of view, falls flat. The protagonist, Carley, is likeable enough, especially when she provides details about her beloved parents. She keeps her professional journalistic wits about her at all times and cleverly pieces together the puzzle of Nicholas Spencer's demise. Where Clark stumbles is in the failure to show personality through character interaction. We don't get enough chracter dimension coming through the dialogue, perhaps because Clark uses hackneyed phrases and there never seems to be the slightest amount of conflict, particularly between Carley and Casey. Maybe Clark needs to find another editor. She uses old-fashioned names for her characters, like Ned and Edna and Vivian, and antiquated references that don't ring true for a woman in her 30s. While this tendency does bring a certain gentleness to the subject of murder and mayhem, a forward-thinking editor could clean up Clark's prose and make it more believable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good Aug. 24 2011
By Dianne
Faithful to her regular style Mary Higgins Clark kept the story moving along at a quick pace.
Enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested and involved with the characters.
I'm a long time reader of Ms Clark and will continue to purchase her books.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Um...boring. July 17 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mary Higgins Clark absolutely should stick to writing in the third person. It just works for her. Narrating in the first person only makes this uninteresting, insipid recent novel from her all the more worse. The main character, Carley DeCarlo, is so lame and lacking in personality despite Clark's attempts to make her seem believable through the story of how she lost her child. She is so frustratingly one-dimensional. The other characters are just as intolerable. You are left wishing Nick Spencer would be so good as to make an appearance so you can take a break from the boring storyline. And folks it is feels as if Clark is trying her darndest to make this whole Gemstone fiasco seem intriguing. Bottom line, it's not. "The Second Time Around" is so flat and predictable.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical MHC story May 18 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was very boring and predictable. I have read many MHC books and will not read another for a while. One thing that may have helped this story was to develop the love relationship more than an occasional dinner or phone call. I usually cannot predict the outcome of her stories, but this one I new early on.
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