Book Review – A Stranger Is Watching by Mary Higgins Clark

Published by: Pocket Books
Publication Date: First published 1977
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery
283 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Buy: Amazon, Book DepositoryiBooks, Kobo
Find on Goodreads


Ronald Thompson knows he never killed Nina Peterson… yet in two days the state of Connecticut will take his life, having found him guilty via due process of law. But Thompson’s death will not stop the pain and anger of Nina’s husband, Steve. Thompson’s death will not still the fears of Nina’s six-year-old son, Neil, witness to his mother’s brutal slaying. Not even the love and friendship of Sharon Martin, a journalist who is slowly becoming a part of their world, will ever erase their bitter memories. Only time, perhaps, will heal their wounds. But in the shadows a stranger waits, a cunning psychopath who has killed before, who has unfinished business at the Peterson home…


Last Saturday, while I was dusting my bookshelf, I just realized I have some bunch of new books I haven’t read yet. I know I want to read some good ol’ MHClark book so I just blindly picked what book to read, and it’s A Stranger is Watching!

This story started with the culprit’s POV, as usual, no name dropping and that’s when the guessing game started. What I always love about MHC’s stories is that we got to act like a real detective and gather all the information so we could guess who’s the bad guy is, and this story didn’t disappoint at all.

The story revolves around Steve Peterson. Two and a half years ago, his wife was brutally murdered, the source of death was suffocation. She was suffocated to death using her own scarf. The crime scene was witnessed by their then three-year old son Neil. The perpetrator, or what they believed, was now being held under police care and is up for a death penalty after two days. Steve is now romantically involved to Sharon Martin, a journalist who’s openly against the death penalty. Then that same day after the interview they went together, Sharon and Neil were kidnapped, and that’s the chasing begins.

As usual, the story is quite different to her other stories before. I love the idea actually, I love that this story also tackles about the death penalty which has been starting to make noise here in the Philippines. Honestly, when I haven’t read this story, I am pro-death penalty. I know it’s only God’s prerogative to judge and sentence someone to death, but I’ve been hearing heinous crimes in the news ALWAYS and most of the victims were kids. But now, I’m not sure anymore. I don’t want to talk more about that because it’s going to be a very long explanation hehe.

I’m sorry but I will be dropping a slight spoiler in a few minutes. Unlike her other stories, this one, it’s hard to guess who’s the real culprit because it’s obvious he/she or they were not close to the victim. It took me quite a long time but finally I was able to guess the real bad guy. It turns out that he’s not just a random killer slash kidnapper but he’s some sort of a psychopath. He adores women, especially if they’re good looking, but when they hinted that they don’t like him, he easily flipped and killed them in an instant. He is also known as recording their victims and taking their pictures after killing them.

The story were not made in a very fast pace giving us a room to gather all the proofs aiding us to know who’s the bad guy, thus making us pretty occupied and never lost our interest.

The characters  were fine with me. Usually, MHC introduces so many characters in her books, but this time, it’s not that many at all so it was pretty easy to keep track of them. But guessing the culprit was quite a task because unfortunately, it was only in the middle or I guess almost a few chapters until it’s ending that his real name was introduced.

For the main characters, I love how two opposite personalities were able to fall in lov. It’s been pretty clear in the first chapter that Steve and Sharon share different views about death penalty and Sharon is starting to end their relationship because they don’t agree in most things. Plus, his son, Neil doesn’t like her. But I was glad to find out how little by little, Neil was starting to like her considering their circumstances. I guess that’s the best thing about the kidnapping thing lol. Also, in this story, the heroine was a damsel in distress, she’s so helpless unlike MHC’s other stories that I’ve read before. I don’t usually fall in love with MHC’s heroes, and for this one, nothing has changed.

The culprit was surprisingly convincing and is really lewd at the same time. I can’t comment any further than that hah.

The characters were fine and they were able to do their roles well. Aside from the positive characters, there were also some opposing ones which makes this story quite realistic because that’s life. Whether we like it or not, there are really some people who oppose us and some who will point us to a wrong direction.

The final few chapters were death defying and so thrilling that it was really hard for me to put it down. It was quite a happy ending with only 1 character end up being dead. Not totally what I have in mind but still was a good way to end this story.

As usual, this story is very reader friendly which is what I always love about MHC. The writing style is impeccable and the story, the twists and turns were quite clever especially how she makes all the characters connected to each other.

The idea and the twist and turns are great but surprisingly, I didn’t find this one promising. I guess it’s because of my mood or maybe because of my impending headache but I find this story just in between. Don’t get me wrong, I love the thrill but I think I’m still looking for something, something that I don’t know lol, if you know what I mean. So for this story, I’m giving it a 3.5 star rating.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

A Stranger Is Watching Mary Higgins Clark | Blushing Geek

Reading this book contributed to the following challenges: