Title: He Sees You When You’re Sleeping
Author: Mary Higgins Clark & Carol Higgins Clark
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Read for: Queen of Suspense Challenge
Blurb (from dust jacket)
Meet Sterling Brooks. His was not an exemplary life–he was too self-absorbed to ever really think about anyone else or make a commitment to the woman he loved. On the other hand, he had endearing qualities. His actual misdeeds were few–his were sins of omission, not commission.
It is a few days before Christmas. For forty-six years Sterling has lingered in the celestial waiting room outside the heavenly gates, awaiting summons by the Heavenly Council. Will he be deemed fit for entrance into heaven? At last the day comes and the council settles on a test for Sterling–he will be sent back to earth and given an opportunity to prove his worthiness by helping someone else.
Sterling Brooks finds himself in Manhattan, at the skating rink in Rockefeller Center. Among the skaters is a heartbroken seven-year-old named Marissa, and as Sterling soon realizes, it is she he has been sent to help. Marissa’s sadness comes from her separation from the father she adores, a talented young singer, and her sparkling grandmother, owner of a popular restaurant. Both have been forced into the Witness Protection Program because two mobsters, the Badgett brothers, have put a price on their heads to prevent their testifying against them in an arson case.
Sterling, able to move back and forth in time and place, masterminds a plan to eliminate the threat from the Badgett brothers and reunite Marissa with her loved ones.
This book went by very slowly for me. It isn’t the normal format for a mystery, where the main characters are trying to figure out who-dun-it. Instead, our main character is trying to help someone, and there is no “who-dun-it” involved in any way. It was a mystery of a different kind: how to get from point A to point B.
The novel is short enough that we don’t really get a feel for any of the characters. A lot of the novel takes place during the previous year, when Marissa’s father and grandmother go away. Sterling chases after them for more than a week, learning all he can about exactly why they had to go into Witness Protection. He skips through the following year, learning what he needs to in order to be able to help Marissa get her father and grandmother back in time for Christmas Eve, and her birthday. Because we skip over so much, we don’t really find out much else about the characters. Even Sterling doesn’t seem to change throughout the novel; we must rely on what’s been told to us about his past (that he was ungrateful and simply absent-minded in regards to those he loved or who might have needed a hand) to see the change.
This book wasn’t for me, but if you like quick reads, I’d recommend it, especially to read during the month of December.