Jul 28, 2015

Book review: The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark

I blogged before about the Alliance Fran├žaise library membership and was there last week to exchange my books. There's a rather big collection of Mary Higgins Clark books there (in French, obviously) and I reckon I'd give her a try since she's a very popular author. I did read a couple of books by Mary Higgins Clark before but do not remember much about these. Since the books were so conveniently lined up before me, I grabbed two books at random.

One of these was The Lost Years, which I read in 4 days. Yes, I'm that fast of a reader but I have to admit that after reading about 100 pages, I started skipping through some chapters because the book was very badly written, boring and also a huge waste of time I will never get back. I admit I was personally very surprised by how bland the book was. Considering Mary Higgins Clark's reputation, I was expecting something very good and a book that would leave me figuring out who the murderer was until the end.

Lost indeed
However, there's absolutely nothing to like about the book. The text is poorly written with over-explanations of things not relevant to the main plot, the introduction of tons of filler characters (as an example, characters are still being introduced around three-quarter of the book), and a brutal assault on the English text which must have Charles Dickens rolling in his grave. I have not read a book such badly written since Harry Potter - the only difference is that the Potter books are fun while this one is tedious.

Here's an example of a BRILLIANT sentence taken directly from The Lost Years:
"She changed from her skirt and jacket into a cotton sweater, slacks, and sandals, and went back downstairs. She went into the kitchen, made a cup of tea, and carried it into the breakfast room. There she settled into one of the comfortable padded chairs and leaned back with a sigh."

And here's by far the best part of the book:

"It’s been handled by many people over the centuries, but there is a single DNA sample on it that is extraordinary. This unique DNA carries chromosomes with only the traits of a mother, who has to be the Virgin Mary. He had no human father." 

Yes folks, DNA tests have been around since the Virgin Mary era!

At one point, Mary Higgins Clark even introduces some old lady who has nothing better to do than taking herself for a detective and even ends up showing the baffled cops how to do their job just like in real life. But worst of all, the ending is absolutely infuriating with no suspense whatsoever and no shocking surprise to keep the reader on the edge of his seat, which is ironic coming from the so-called "Queen of Suspense".

Funnily enough, the book has a four-star rating on Amazon. I don't know what to believe anymore.