Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark is next up on our 100 Bestsellers List reading challenge.
This post does not contain spoilers.
Daddy’s Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark
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The Queen of Suspense
As the author of thirty-seven bestselling novels, Mary Higgins Clark is known as the Queen of Suspense. According to Clark’s website, her novels have sold over 100 million copies in the U.S. alone. That’s a lot of books! As the Queen of Suspense, one would be safe in assuming that Clark has the suspense novel format down pat. Since this is not a genre I read very often, and I have seen Clark’s books continually on the bestseller tables at bookstores, I expected great things from Daddy’s Gone A Hunting. And, while I enjoyed it, I didn’t find it to be great. Yes, there is suspense, but as a relative novice to the suspense novel, even I figured out the major plot twist long before it was revealed.
Too Many Characters
A major issue I have with Daddy’s Gone A Hunting is the massive number of characters throughout the book. It is difficult to keep track of all the different fire marshals, police officers, and other characters, and several times I had to read back a couple of pages to figure out exactly who was in a particular scene . Off the top of my head I count 22 characters in a book that is only 352 pages long. That’s a lot of characters to keep track of.
In addition to too many characters, I felt that Kate, the sister in the coma, is the forgotten character. It is her memory that reveals the pivotal piece of the story, so why is her character not developed to the same extent as, say, the homeless Vietnam veteran? I realize it might be difficult to develop a character that spends most of the book in a coma, but more of Kate’s story might have added to the suspense of the novel.
Even though I’ve not read any of Clark’s other books, I suspect that Daddy’s Gone A Hunting is likely not one of her best. You don’t get to be a bestselling novelist by writing lackluster stories, but after a few dozen bestsellers, I can understand how an author might write a book that isn’t quite up to her usual. I do have to wonder, though, why this particular novel of Clark’s is the only one to have made The Bestseller Code‘s list of 100 novels that we should read. Is it due to the pace, the scene-by-scene rhythm discussed in The Bestseller Code? Daddy’s Gone A Hunting is fast-paced, creating a feeling of a regular rhythm or beat to the story, and that rhythm kept me avidly reading to the very end. The chapters are short and alternate between the different characters, keeping us moving forward with the multi-faceted plot. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting would be a good book to read while on vacation or during a long cross-country flight.
Have you read any of Mary Higgins Clark’s many novels? Which would you recommend I read that might be a better representation of this author’s bestselling writing? And why do you think none of Clark’s other novels were listed in The Bestseller Code as a must read?
- Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
- Karen’s review from a reader’s perspective
- Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective
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Do you have suggestions for ways to improve this reading challenge? We’d love to hear them.
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What are we reading next?
If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time after the discussion starts.
The next book is number 78. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris (2010) – Discussion begins September 4, 2014
Animal-themed humorous short stories