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Mary Higgins Clark readalikes

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For over three decades Mary Higgins Clark has been the benchmark for the suspense genre, writing fast-paced, intricately plotted, compelling stories of women and children in jeopardy, but told without sex, violence, or vulgar language. These novels unfold within a limited time frame, and readers are given the point of view of both the heroine and the villain. Readers can relate to the heroines of these stories. These women are intelligent and gutsy, and play an active role in extricating themselves from dangerous situations.

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Elizabeth Adler.  Sooner or Later.

Sole heir to her family’s once formidable fortune, Ellie Parrish Duveen divides her time between running her small restaurant and trying to take care of her beloved grandmother. The last thing she has time for is men.
Dan Cassidy, formerly a New York City cop, now the owner of a run-down California winery, is also too busy for love – or so he thinks. When he walks into Ellie’s bistro, a friendship is sparked that threatens to turn into a serious romance. But the attraction between them can’t compete with a terrifying secret from the past that could have deadly consequences.

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Mignon Franklin Ballard. Minerva Cries Murder.

When Eliza Figg investigates her first mystery, she must delve deep into the atmosphere of the South.

Diane Chamberlain. The Courage Tree.

Eight-year-old Sophie Donohue just wanted to be like every other little girl. Which is why her mother, Janine, reluctantly agreed to let her go on the weekend camping trip with her Brownie troop. But when Janine arrives to pick up Sophie after the trip, her daughter is not among the others. Somehow, along the forested route from West Virginia, Sophie has disappeared. Sophie is no ordinary eight-year-old. She suffers from a rare disease, and Janine has recently enrolled her in an experimental treatment as a last effort to save her life – despite the vehement objections of her ex-husband, Joe, who believes conventional medicine is the only route to take. The only person to support Janine in her decision is Lucas Trowell, someone familiar with the herbs used in the treatment. All her mother’s instincts tell Janine that Sophie is alive, but time is running out. Without her treatment, it’s only a matter of days before Sophie’s illness will claim her life. As Janine, Joe and Lucas embark on a desperate search to find Sophie, envy and suspicion grow between the two men, casting doubts on each other’s true motives for helping Janine.

Marjorie Dorner. Nightmare.

After her teenage daughter comes home with a tale of abuse and attempted kidnapping, Linda Hammond, a tough, independent, single mother finds the police refuse to listen and becomes determined to protect her daughter at all costs.

Joy Fielding.  See Jane Run.

A woman finds herself alone, covered with blood and suffering from amnesia on a Boston street and she begins to suspect the celebrated doctor who says he is her husband.

Kate Green. Black Dreams.

Just before the Fourth of July weekend, Theresa Fortunato is awakened by powerful psychic messages from an abducted child. Theresa contacts the police, but none of their missing child reports match Theresa’s description. Theresa’s psychic impressions are validated a few days later when she is contacted by Ellen Carlin, a distraught mother whose ten-year-old daughter Tory has been kidnapped from a Los Angeles hospital. During their initial meeting, Theresa learns from Ellen that Tory appears to be suffering from an immune disorder that requires close medical attention. To make matters worse, Theresa is disturbed by a powerful intuition that Ellen has only three days to live. Theresa’s investigations soon reveal that Ellen and her ex-husband, Joe, are caught up in a vicious custody battle and each seems more interested in implicating the other in the abduction than in helping Theresa get to the truth and find Tory. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Jardine has unearthed evidence that links a murdered antiques dealer to the missing girl, even though they appear never to have met. Drawing on Theresa’s psychic ability and powerfully feminine forms of knowledge as well as Jardine’s more traditional investigative work, they collaborate to unravel the two tangled cases. And as Theresa receives increasingly strong psychic images, she and Jardine intensify their search, racing the clock to find the murderer, the abductor, and the very seriously ill little girl, and to save her mother from the terrible fate Theresa has foreseen.

Jane Stanton Hitchcock. Trick of the Eye.

Accepting a prestigious but intrusive commission to paint the grand ballroom of a reclusive society hostess, artist Faith Crowell discovers her own uncanny resemblance to her client’s daughter, who was brutally murdered years earlier by an unknown assailant.

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Tami Hoag.  A Thin Dark Line.

Pamela Bichon’s killer is free, the case against him dismissed on a technicality. In the eyes of the law it doesn’t matter that the prosecutor’s key piece of evidence proves Marcus Renard’s guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. All that matters is that the evidence was never listed on a search warrant and it was seized by a detective with a questionable past and a nasty reputation. But the investigation isn’t over – not for Cajun cop Nick Fourcade, who stands accused of planting the evidence. He’s stepped over the line before and this case could push him over the edge. Deputy Annie Broussard can’t walk away from the homicide either. She found the body. But pursuing the investigation will mean forming an uneasy alliance with Fourcade, a man she doesn’t trust. It will mean subjecting herself to growing harassment from her fellow cops. And it will mean letting herself be drawn into the confidence of a suspected killer.

Susan Isaacs. After All These Years.

Rosie Myers, high school English teacher, wife and mother, didn’t exactly object when her husband Richie changed from an easy-going math teacher into the hotshot president of a multi-million-dollar corporation in Manhattan. Well, she did worry how living on a grand waterfront estate in Long Island might affect the family, but what could be bad about the good life? She finds out when Richie leaves her the morning after their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary party – for a younger, prettier, and possibly smarter woman. Since then, Rosie’s been living alone in the big house, grieving over her loss…and eating more chocolate chip ice cream than is necessary to sustain life. Late one night, on her way to the refrigerator, she trips over – Richie! Dead on the kitchen floor, a carving knife in his chest. True, there is no evidence that anyone besides Rosie and Richie were in the house. Admittedly, Rosie does have a motive. And the murder weapon came from her kitchen. So naturally the police think she’s guilty. Rosie knows she has to save herself. Hours before she’s to be arrested, she gives the police the slip and heads for New York City to find the real killer. What she discovers is that Richie, the husband she thought she knew, had been living a secret, high-style life as he tried to charm his way into the jet set. On the lam in Manhattan, Rosie summons guts and savvy she never knew she had. In her daring and devious quest for the killer, she brilliantly pieces together the clues to her freedom and meets some old friends along the way who show her to live again after all these years with the wrong man.

Iris Johansen. Face of Deception.

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan has a rare – and bittersweet – gift. Her unique ability to reconstruct the identity of the long dead from their skulls has helped bring closure to parents of missing children. For Eve, whose own daughter was murdered and her body never found, the job is a way of coming to terms with her personal nightmare. When she is approached by billionaire magnate John Logan to reconstruct the face of an adult murder victim, only his promise of a sizable charitable contribution persuades her to accept. The warning signs are clear. There is the specially equipped lab Eve is taken to, in a country inn turned high-tech security fortress in rural Virginia. Surveillance cameras monitor her every move. The telephones are tapped. And then there is Logan himself – by turns ruthless, charming, and desperate. But it’s too late for Eve to walk out. The skull has begun to reveal its shocking identity, trapping her in a frightening web of murder and deceit. To free herself, she has no choice but to expose that identity and to trust Logan, the man who put her life in danger, a man who may see her as an expendable pawn.Velda Johnston. The Man at Windmere.

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Brenda Joyce. Third Heiress.

When Jillian Gallagher’s fiance is killed in a car accident, the last name he utters is “Kate”. And Jillian’s world suddenly becomes a nightmare. When she brings his body back to his family, Jill discovers a secretive and hostile family that plunges her into a puzzling mystery.

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Andrew Klavan. True Crime.

Six years ago, Frank Beachum was convicted of the murder of a shop clerk and sentenced to die by lethal injection. Now his appeals have run out, and his number has come up. There is nothing left for him to do but say good-bye to the wife and child he loves, get his mind right with the God in whom he believes – and give one last statement to the public: an interview with a reporter for the St. Louis News. Steve Everett is the reporter. Despised by his colleagues and unfaithful to his wife, he’s looking for a big story to get his life and career back on track. The last thing he needs is to waste his time on a human-interest feature about a convicted killer’s last testament. But Everett is good at what he does, and when the Beachum interview is dropped in his lap, he begins to uncover another story – a more frightening story – just below the surface. As Frank Beachum’s time dwindles to nothing, Everett begins to believe that the man may be a wholly guiltless victim of rough justice, political blindness and human error. He believes the state may be about to murder an innocent. There are eighteen hours until midnight. In those hours Frank Beachum is going to be pushed to the very limits of his faith, looking over the edge into a nightmare. And Steve Everett, in spite of himself, is going to risk everything, even his own life, in a breathless attempt to save him.

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Rochelle Majer Krich. Now You See Me.

For feisty Los Angeles crime reporter Molly Blume, life is good. She is newly married (to the adoring and adorable Rabbi Zack), and her latest true-crime book is a hot seller. When an overardent fan’s attentions arouse Molly’s suspicion, however, her thoughts turn uneasily to stalkers. But the fan, Reuben Jastrow, swears that he desperately needs Molly’s help in finding his eighteen-year-old daughter, Hadassah, who has run away from home to be with a man she met on the Internet. Molly hesitantly agrees – and immediately has regrets. For Reuben hasn’t told her the whole truth. The more Molly looks for clues to the missing girl’s fate, the more she wonders: Is Hadassah a random victim of a predator, or is the girl a pawn in a scheme of revenge against her family? It’s a long, deadly path that stretches before Molly, a path mined with hidden passions and festering secrets. And it ends with a final twist and an unnerving truth: What we don’t see can lead to danger … and tragedy.

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Patricia MacDonald. Stranger in the House.

Eleven years after her young son mysteriously disappeared, Paul is miraculously returned, but Anna Lange and her family find their joy taking a dark turn because of Paul’s odd behavior and by someone who will do anything to keep the truth a secret.

Doris Mortman.  Out of Nowhere.

Ricki Baird was only nine when her comfortable world was shattered. With no warning, she was forced to leave everything behind…her home, her friends, her toys, even her beloved father. Her mother, a talented financial officer for an international bank, blew the whistle on a major drug money laundering scheme. Important people were caught red-handed – people who would neither forgive nor forget. From that moment on, mother and daughter could never be safe. Whisked from their home in Miami by United States Marshals, they were moved to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere and hidden in the Witness Security Program. Overnight, little Ricki Baird was officially dead.. and Amanda Maxwell was born. Years later, when her love of photography and fascination with police work lead her back East and into a career as a forensic photographer for the NYPD Crime Scene Unit, only one person knows the truth about the beautiful, yet reclusive, no-nonsense “Max” – her father, Lionel Baird. When he’s found dead – an apparent suicide – Amanda suspects he was murdered. As she begins to dig for the truth, Amanda finds herself caught between two very different men: brash, handsome Jake Fowler, a renegade attorney-turned-private investigator, and Tyler Grayson, an investment banker at her father’s firm who’s trying to rekindle a love he and Amanda once shared.

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Meg O’Brien. The Last Cheerleader.

While submerged in a murder investigation after the deaths of her ex-husband and her best-selling author, L.A. literary agent Mary Beth Conahan finds her life taking a dangerous turn when Lindy, a woman she went to high school with years ago, arrives on her doorstep asking for help.

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Nora Roberts.  Carolina Moon.

Tory grew up in a small run-down house, where her father ruled with an iron fist and a leather belt. But she had her friend Hope, who she was able to be a child with, unlike at her home. But after Hope’s brutal murder Tory’s life fell apart. As the years go by she forges a bond with Hope’s older brother. She not sure if the tragedy will bring them together or drive them apart.

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Tom Savage. The Inheritance.

Yesterday, she was Holly Smith, living a comfortable, middle-class life. Today, all that has changed. For Holly Smith is actually Holly Randall, born twenty-four years ago to a woman convicted of a heinous crime and given up for adoption as an infant. Now, the mysterious death of a great aunt she never knew has made Holly one of the richest women in America – and heiress to a magnificent Connecticut estate. In the beautiful mansion above Long Island Sound, they are waiting for her. Uncle John and his imperious wife, robbed of what they believe to be rightfully theirs; the odd, reclusive great uncle, lost in his faded scrapbooks and disturbing memories of dark family secrets; the troubled young woman who roams the estate, murmuring cryptic warnings; the handsome servants’ son to whom Holly is dangerously attracted; and the silent teenage boy who watches Holly’s every move. But is he protector or predator, angel or devil? For Holly, the answer may come too late. From the moment she crosses the threshold, she sets in motion a series of tragic events that will reveal the true – and terrifying – price of the inheritance.

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Joyce Schneider. Darkness Falls.

Psychiatrist Amanda Hammond returns to her sleepy but monied hometown of Grand Cove, Connecticut, to set up a practice and is immediately confronted by the possible murder of a patient, a death that recalls that of Amanda’s mother years before.

Wendy Corso Staub. Fade to Black.

Elizabeth Baxter is a quiet brunette living in the sleepy village of Windmere Cove, Rhode Island. She doesn’t socialize, has no friends, and when she’s outside, she constantly looks over her shoulder. No one in Windmere Cove knows her; no one pays attention to her. It begins with the arrival of a pink envelope. Elizabeth’s name and address are typed neatly on the outside; the postmark reads Windmere Cove, and there’s no return address. Elizabeth’s world crashes when she opens the card and reads the message inside: I know who you are. Five years ago, she was Mallory Eden, Hollywood’s hottest actress. Blonde and beautiful, her life was a dream come true … until a mysterious stalker turned it into a nightmare. Finally, unable to take the relentless pressure any long, Mallory Eden was left with no other choice but to make the world think she was dead and begin a new life. Her house is broken into and ransacked. And then there’s the sense that she’s being watched. Frightened, Elizabeth finds solace in the arms of Harper Smith, the only person she has befriended in town. As their relationship deepens, Elizabeth wants to tell Harper the truth – until she learns of his unspoken past – a past that connects to Mallory Eden’s…

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Carlene Thompson. In the Event of My Death.

They had been six teenage girls in Wheeling, West Virginia. Full of mischief. Acting wild. Having good times. And getting into trouble. they called themselves the Six of Hearts. Then one night things went to far. One of them died. The rest swore to never tell what really happened. Now, thirteen years later, someone has decided to kill the remaining Six of hearts. The first to die is Angie, a successful New York City actress. And flower-shop owner Laurel Damron, still living in Wheeling, may be next. She has gotten a chilling message in the mail. She knows a killer is watching her. But who? Only by searching the past can she uncover a haunting truth…only by looking deep with herself can she uncover a lost memory…and only by suspecting everyone she knows, does she have one slim chance of staying alive…

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Phyllis Whitney. Flaming Tree.

Kelsey Stewart is not thinking of love or adventure when she visits her aunt at her peaceful seaside inn nestled in beautiful Carmel, California. But when she is urged to help in the recuperation of Jody Hammond, a young boy who fell from a sea cliff, she finds her troubled heart coming back to life. And soon she finds herself falling in love with Jody’s father, the mysterious, handsome Tyler.

Minette Walters. Fox Evil.

When elderly Alisa Lockyer-Fox is found dead in her garden, dressed in her nightclothes and with bloodstains on the ground around her, the finger of suspicion points at her wealthy husband, Colonel James Lockyer-Fox. A coroner’s investigation deems it death by natural causes, but the gossip surrounding James refuses to go away.
With James friendless and alone, his reclusive behavior begins to alarm his attorney, whose concern deepens when he discovers that his client has become the victim of a relentless campaign accusing him of far worse than the murder of his wife. James is unwilling to fight the allegations, choosing instead to devote his energies to a desperate search for the illegitimate granddaughter who may prove his savior as he battles for his name – and his life.

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