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Just Take My Heart: A Novel
List Price: $25.95

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Product Description

In her new thriller, America's #1 bestselling Queen of Suspense delves into a legal battle over the guilt or innocence of a man accused of murdering his wife. Woven into her plot is an eerie, little-understood but documented medical phenomenon -- the emergence of a donor's traits and memories in the recipient of a heart transplant.

Natalie Raines, one of Broadway's brightest stars, accidentally discovers who killed her former roommate and sets in motion a series of shocking events that puts more than one life in extreme peril.

While Natalie and her roommate, Jamie Evans, were both struggling young actresses, Jamie had been involved with a mysterious married man to whom she referred only by nickname. Natalie comes face to face with him years later and inadvertently addresses him by the nickname Jamie had used. A few days later, Natalie is found in her home in Closter, New Jersey, dying from a gunshot wound.

Immediately the police suspect Natalie's theatrical agent and soon-to-be-ex-husband, Gregg Aldrich. He had long been a "person of interest" and was known to have stalked Natalie to find out if she was seeing another man. But no charges are brought against him until two years later, when Jimmy Easton, a career criminal, suddenly comes forward to claim that Aldrich had tried to hire him to kill his wife. Easton knows details about the Aldrich home that only someone who had been there -- to plan a murder, for instance -- could possibly know.

The case is a plum assignment for Emily Wallace, an attractive thirty-two-year-old assistant prosecutor. As she spends increasingly long hours preparing for the trial, a seemingly well-meaning neighbor offers to take care of her dog in her absence. Unaware of his violent past, she gives him a key to her home...

As Aldrich's trial is making headlines, her boss warns Emily that this high-profile case will reveal personal matters about her, such as the fact that she had a heart transplant. And, during the trial, Emily experiences sentiments that defy all reason and continue after Gregg Aldrich's fate is decided by the jury.

In the meantime, she does not realize that her own life is now at risk.

A compelling novel that probes the mysteries of the human heart and mind, Just Take My Heart is Mary Higgins Clark's most spellbinding tale.

Customer Reviews:

  • Great Read
    A celebrity of the literary world, Mary Higgins Clark, has woven a new tale of suspense involving the murder of successful Broadway actress Natalie Raines. Prior to her murder, Natalie accidentally identifies the suspected murderer of her actress roommate Jamie Evans as one of the guests congratulating her on her performance after the show. Unconsciously, she calls him "Jess," the pet name Jamie referred to him by during their relationship all these years ago and whose photograph Natalie still remembered--that same photograph that was stolen from Jamie's wallet after her unsolved murder. Shortly thereafter, Natalie is brutally murdered herself and the prime suspect becomes her estranged, theatrical agent husband Gregg Aldrich who previously stalked his wife and has a dubious alibi. He cannot remember where he was when Natalie was murdered, and his amnesia as well as previous spying on Natalie casts doubt on his role in the tragedy. As the court proceedings against Gregg begin, the stakes are high. The gorgeous assistant prosecutor Emily Wallace is soon in danger of being murdered herself, a dangerous serial killer is lurking on the loose, the star witness in Aldrich's trial is hiding something, and a detective involved in the investigation is acting suspiciously. The chapters are short and easy to read, as the suspense escalates up until the very end. Clark's writing is effortless and her plot certainly rivals Grisham's legal thrillers, while her characters--the grief-stricken single parent husband in danger of receiving a life sentence in jail, a TV host colleague torn between his job and personal friendship with the defendant, the heartbroken mother of the murdered actress, a convict willing to do anything to shorten his prison term, a psychologically troubled killer on the run, a scared couple whose information can turn the entire case around, and a lonely prosecutor with a personal tragedy--are hunting and memorable long after the last page has been read. While the fictitious celebrity life of Natalie Raines is not widely explored despite being the center of the court case, real life tragedies of celebrity lives cut short spring to mind as Clark exposes the flawed U.S. justice system for what it is. Evidence can get tampered, witnesses can be manipulated, jury can condemn the wrong party, lives are unnecessarily put at risk, and the powerful forces driving the trial are sometimes hidden behind the curtain instead of present in the courtroom. What Clark leaves us with is a portrait of the current state of events, reminiscent of the daily newscasts, where personal safety is frequently compromised and anyone is in danger of becoming Natalie Raines or Emily Wallace--a puppet in the hands of forces more powerful and well-connected than themselves, as lives hang by a thread and no one is what they seem....more info
  • Doesn't Sound Like Mary
    I've read each of Mary Higgins-Clark's books, and loved most of them. I'm only halfway through Just Take My Heart, and the book is fairly interesting, but it doesn't seem like the author's work at all....more info
  • Quite possibly one of the worst books I've ever read
    I wasn't expecting much to start with, so it really surprised me when I finished this book and found my expectations were apparently still set too high.

    To be honest, I was expecting Emily and Gregg to go riding off into the sunset. I think I would have been less disappointed if this predictable and boring scenario had actually played out than what ultimately happened.

    The description says: "Woven into her plot is an eerie, little-understood but documented medical phenomenon -- the emergence of a donor's traits and memories in the recipient of a heart transplant." Nothing is mentioned in the book about this. Did I miss it? Do I care?

    Suspense? Action? Twists? Turns? Interesting characters? Engaging storyline? You won't find any of these here. I finished this book not really caring about what happened to anyone.

    Not any real point reading this book. Save yourself some time and money and buy something else, hopefully by a different writer....more info
  • Another Winner From The Queen of Suspense!!!!!!!!!
    Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark

    This newest by the queen of mystery and suspense is one of her best. Natalie Raines, Broadway star and actress, is shot to death in her Closter, New Jersey home. Her estranged husband, Gregg Aldrich, is the only suspect and is on trial. He swears he is innocent, though young Assistant Prosecutor Emily Wallace is determined to prove him guilty. Does the murder of Natalie's roommate Jaimie Evans twenty years earlier have any connections to Natalie's murder? While working on this murder case, Emily is suscpicious of her strange next door neighbor, who she hires to walk and watch her dog, not knowing there is a serial killer on the loose. The ending to this great suspense thriller, was a unique twist to Mary's novels.

    ...more info
  • Heart-wrenching Intrigue...
    Actress Natalie Raines flees to her Cape Cod vacation home - to think and to escape the fear that whoever killed her friend Jamie years ago has just reappeared in her life. Someone whose picture she has seen, but which was missing from Jamie's wallet when the body was found all those years ago.

    Estranged spouse Gregg Aldrich has been persistent in his efforts to persuade Natalie to reconcile. Almost to the point that he is "stalking" her.

    Returning to her New Jersey home, Natalie is accosted and shot as she is entering her kitchen.

    More than two years later, Gregg Aldrich is charged with her murder, after a career criminal, Jimmy Easton, confesses that he met with Aldrich on the Friday before she was killed, to accept a deposit on a contract to kill her. Which he then says that he backed out of...His confession and testimony earn him a lighter sentence in another crime, but are enough to convict Mr. Aldrich, because of certain details he knows about the Aldrich home.

    Emily Wallace, an ambitious prosecutor, who has a lot to prove - not the least of which is the ongoing possibility that others will see her as fragile because of a heart transplant she received two years before - is eager to take on the case.

    But something about Easton's testimony tugs at Emily...and the investigating officer, who is incidentally a cousin of the Chief Prosecutor, seems disturbingly anxious to keep certain facts hidden.

    Careening ahead to the final pages, the reader follows the author's trail of unanswered questions that plague Emily and certain others, and the intrigue leads to surprising conclusions. A reveal on the final pages is not totally unexpected, but satisfying nonetheless, as it ties up some loose ends.

    Always a fan of this author, I found Just Take My Heart: A Novel to be a compelling and exciting read.

    Laurel-Rain Snow
    Author of: Web of Tyranny, etc.
    ...more info
  • Okay, but not great...
    I have been a MHC fan for years. This book is a quick read. However, it is very predictable. For one, I knew right off that Emily had Natlie's heart inside her but why they drew so many similiarites between the two women during the trial was just too contrived. I figured out early on that the bad guy was either Ted or Billy - easy. The storyline of Emily's neighbor, Zach,didn't fit in and I found it boring. It seemed Emily was always letting her dog, Bess, in and out too. Just not MHC's best work. ...more info
  • tense thriller
    Several years ago Jamie Evans was seeing a married man Jess; her roommate Natalie Raines suggested she dump him because he will never dump his wife for her. A few weeks later, Jamie dies in what the neighbors and cops thought was a robbery turned ugly. Natalie thinks otherwise as she believes Jess either killed her or arranged it.

    Over the next few years Natalie becomes an acclaimed Broadway star. Following a great performance, admirers come to her dressing room to congratulate her. She recognizes one of them calling him Jess as Jamie did. Fearing for her life, Natalie flees to her New Jersey home where he waits to kill her. She is found near dead with a bullet in her chest. Her soon top be ex husband Natalie's theatrical agent Gregg Aldrich is the prime suspect having been accused of stalking her. Still the evidence remains weak and loosely circumstantial until two years later convict Jimmy Easton insists Aldrich tried to hire him to kill Natalie; he offers insider information that supports his proclamation. ADA Emily Wallace is assigned to prosecute the case against Aldrich. As she works the case and the verdict comes in, Emily has doubts that reach deep into her transplanted new heart that warns her to beware of her friendly new neighbor.

    Though the premise of a transplanted heart providing memories and messages from the original owner to the new owner is not new having been in books and movies (Hoskins-Washington film Heart Condition) numerous times, fans will enjoy this tense thriller. The story is told from Emily's perspective as she shows an inner strength moving past the death of her spouse and adjusting to her heart transplant. She works the case brilliantly but has doubts even after the verdict. Fans will relish Mary Higgins Clark latest suspense as the killer of the two roommates will come as a hard to believe shocker

    Harriet Klausner
    ...more info
  • just take my heart
    why o why have the prices gone up so much its hard enough in this economy...more info
  • Listen To Your Heart
    Assistant Prosecutor Emily Wallace faces a tough courtroom battle when she takes on the suspect in the murder of a famous Broadway actress, but she may have an advantage in the case. Emily was the recipient of a heart transplant--and not just any heart. Now, she is learning that the term "gut instinct" may be more than a casual phrase. She is "remembering" certain information relevant to the case--and someone is determined to keep that information a secret, even if it means silencing Emily's heart forever....

    For more than 30 years, Mary Higgins Clark has been thrilling readers with her gripping romantic mysteries, earning her the title, "America's Queen of Suspense." JUST TAKE MY HEART is ample proof of her talents. Emily Wallace is one of her most compelling protagonists, and the fascinating medical phenomenon of donor/recipient empathy makes this a very unusual story. Highly recommended....more info
  • Just not very good...
    I always buy MHC's books when they come out and whiz through them when I have a few hours on a weekend. Her last few books have been a bit disappointing and this one was actually hard to finish because it was so bad. It was completely predictable; the heart transplant story added nothing to the plot and the characters were largely underdeveloped. I enjoy a light mystery, but this one lacked substance and felt particularly contrived.

    Skip it (or borrow from the library). ...more info
  • Who actually wrote this???
    I've read and enjoyed several MHC novels over the years and this is the first book I have ever thrown in the garbage after reading. In fact, I can't even believe this is a MHC novel...I thought it was THAT bad! She's never disappointed me before, but I thought this book was simplistic, predictable, and juvenile. I think in the future, if I read her books in the future, I will get them from the library. I bought this in hardback and consider it a total waste of money from start to finish! ...more info
  • Fascinating idea! Great suspense
    Mary Higgins Clark knows how to enthrall, that's for sure!

    The book starts off fairly standard- Gregg is indicted for murdering his estranged wife Natalie Raines, a successful actress. We get a brief glimpse of Natalie through her mother's eyes. She describes her daughter as having stardust clinging to her. The book follows the preparations of Emily Wallace, the assistant prosecutor who is on the case.

    A side plot grabbed me in the beginning- Emily's neighbor offers to care for her dog with the intent of gaining access to her house with the nefarious intent of 'touching everything she wore'. It's not long before Emily realizes there is something creepy about Zach.

    The book continues on, following the trial, which reveals the details of the crime little by little. Emily is 'young and beautiful' but also smart and leveraging a strong case against the defendant.

    About a quarter of the way into the book we get a big twist- Emily, the tough assistant prosecutor, has had a heart transplant after losing her husband in Iraq. The rest of the book unfolds in a very interesting way (which you'll just have to read to find out)centering around the idea of certain 'memories' from the original donor being brought along with a transplanted organ. Just whose heart does Emily have?

    I have been reading Mary Higgins Clark for years and she delivers a great murder mystery, yet again, just this time with a very interesting twist.

    This is not a difficult read or perhaps 'great literature' but it is highly entertaining. It is a quick and easy read, very enjoyable once you get into into it (took me a couple of chapters to build momentum simply because of the character view point switches). As the plot narrows in on Emily, I felt more drawn in- reading quickly through the other viewpoints to get back to the parts about her.

    Definately one you should pick up in hardback/kindle if you are a Mary Higgins Clark fan or into this genre. Otherwise, you mightt want to wait for it to come out in paperback as it is a quick read.
    ...more info
  • Up All Night
    Another great story from Ms. Higgins Clark. My husband got to it first but he finished it in one night - it has to be a good book for him to do that! It's a great story with a real twist. Highly recommended....more info
    Mary Higgins Clark has always been my most famous author ... once I started a book of hers, I was hooked and couldn't put it down until I was finished (usually in a single day). This book just didn't do it for me as it was too mundane. In the past, MHC's books always left me guessing right up to the very end ... this book held little suspense for me. I thought the side plot with the serial murderer neighbor to be the best part. Yes, Emily is a special character and you like her from the beginning ... she's the kind of lawyer I would want if I ever needed one. Her tenacity helps her uncover things that were covered up and justice gets served in the end. Others loved this book but I was hoping for another "The Stranger Is Watching" or "Where Are The Children" ... I miss that kind of masterful suspense....more info
  • Not the author's best work
    I am a Mary Higgins Clark fan. I look forward to each new release and usually finish them in one or two days because I can't put them down. Just Take My Heart is just not as good as her other novels. It is at times slow paced and I figured out who had committed the murder right away. (Usually I don't figure it out till closer to the end, and even then think it could be one of few people).
    This is a good book to borrow from the library, but not worth the purchase price. Still, at her worst MHC is a talented author, thus 3 stars. ...more info
  • Not her best work
    I'm beginning to think someone else is writing the latest Mary Higgins Clark books. Bottom line, I loved her earlier works but the last few books she's written have been dull. I thought it was boring and predictable--I figured out who the bad guy was within the first few chapters. I wouldn't pay for a hardcover--get this one at the library....more info
  • Just take my heart
    It was true to Mary Higgins Clark writting. Interesting, fast moving, and suspenceful. The auther out did herself on this on. Alot like her first one like Where Are The Children....more info