Book Review: The Sleeping Beauty Killer

The Sleeping Beauty Killer by  Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke
Genre: Fiction
Book 4 in the Under Suspicion Series

Reading books by Mary Higgins Clark is such a comfortable and cozy experience for me. Throughout my childhood in the 1980s I remember my mom reading her books and checking them out from the library. I remember a few made-for-TV movies based on those books. Mary Higgins Clark’s integrity and quality of writing has not faded with time. She is still creating likable characters and putting women in strong roles such as protector, executive, mother, daughter, and investigator. Her books are easy reads for me, not because the language or stories are simple, but because the writing flows so easily and my eyes seem to just float through the pages, drinking in all there is to learn. I sometimes like a book where I do not have to think much or keep a list of characters because there are so many I am confused.

The Sleeping Beauty Killer was an enjoyable, stress-free read that left me feeling satisfied and nostalgic.

Fifteen years ago, Casey Carter was convicted of murdering her engaging, well-regarded John F. Kennedy, Jr. – esque fiance. She has served her time and is ready to begin life again, but not until she clears her name.

Casey turns to Laurie Moran, creator of the true crime television show Under Suspicion. Casey trusts Laurie and believes she can help her set the record straight, to erase the nickname  “Crazy Casey” that has stuck with her through the years.

There are very delicate twists and turns sprinkled throughout the book and while reading, questions and suspicions began to surface in my mind. Every character in this book, at one time, believes -strongly believes – that Casey is guilty. I had my own thoughts and feelings, but thanks to the characters and those subtle twists and turns, I began to doubt myself and it was fantastic!

Not knowing is the best. I only began to figure some things out during the last ten pages of the book. There are also some subplots involving Laurie’s father, son, and romantic interest, but they did not take away from the main story. In fact, they enhanced the main story by giving Laurie more dimension. Her multiple hats and how she wears them helped to make clear who she is and what she stands for. Laurie is a single mother whose father is the ex deputy police commissioner – her son and father are everything to her, especially since Laurie’s husband was murdered almost six years ago. She is a strong main character who is witty, intelligent and good at what she does. Learning more about Laurie was a delight and I can’t wait for the next book because something about this book makes me think that this series isn’t over…

The character development was very nicely done. Mary Higgins Clark has a way of introducing you to a character, not writing about her until she almost slips your mind, and then bringing her back into the thick of things with excellent attention to detail. Even Laurie’s assistants, Jerry and Grace, are so well developed, I felt like I was really beginning to get to know and like them. The character of Casey is very strong and I fluctuated back and forth between liking her and being suspicious of her. She is beautiful and a bit abrasive, but she is fighting to get her good name back.

I highly recommend this book if you have a true appreciation for characters and character development. That is the number one thing that sticks out to me in regards to The Sleeping Beauty Killer. This would be a great novel for a fan of true crime books and television shows. Is Casey truly innocent, or is she just trying to drum up some attention for herself because that is what she missed so much while she was in prison?

Mary Higgins Clark does not disappoint. So fire up a bubble  bath or some hot chocolate and let your mind relax and get lost in this story about loyalty, love, and murder.

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