Daddy’s Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clark

Pros: an interesting enough story

Cons: but lacks any real excitement

Daddy’s Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clark is a pretty decent story – it held my interest and I certainly wanted to know how it would end.  But it’s lacking the pizzazz I look for, in a book that calls itself a “thriller”.

We meet the Cavanaugh family over 20 years ago, when their world was shattered with the murder of their eldest daughter Andrea.  Ellie was just a little kid that night but she was smart enough to know that nothing would ever be the same again.  How right she was!

Now it’s present-day and Ellie is a woman in her thirties.  She never stopped grieving for her older sister, and for the idyllic family life that was shattered by a moment of tragedy.  The man convicted of the crime has served over 20 years in prison and has come up for parole.  Ellie is determined to see that doesn’t happen. But when Rob Westerfield is set free, Ellie’s world is turned upside down again.  Rob and his wealthy/powerful family are determined to show the world that he had been wrongly convicted.  In fact, there’s someone else they are determined to pin the murder on.  Ellie is equally determined to prove that the right man had been put away all those years ago.  Thus she sets out on a one-woman mission to do just that.

However, Rob has plenty of support on his side.  People who will go to any length to restore the Westerfield reputation.  The more Ellie digs, the closer she gets to proving her case, the more it becomes obvious that her own life is now in danger from forces unseen.

There you have it – a one-woman-against-all-odds story.  Ellie has very little to go on, just the murky memories from that night in her childhood.  From there, it is no easy task to find clues to support her claims.  I was impressed with how she went about her investigation.  She was actually pretty smart in her endeavors.

She was also very likeable and very sympathetic.  It was very easy to root for her and hope she gets the resolution she seeks.

I also liked how Clark describes the family dynamics, and how it can all unravel in the face of tragedy.  I felt it was written realistically, given how awful the death of a child can be.

My problem with Daddy’s Little Girl is that it was devoid any real excitement.  Don’t look forward to any major twists and turns – there were none.  I kept waiting for that “A-Ha!!!” moment.  But it never came.  The story just sort of goes on and on until it eventually ends.  Sure, the ending was somewhat interesting.  And Clark adds an epilogue that ties everything up in a neat bow.  But it just took too long, and was way too slow-paced to get there.  In the end, it just wasn’t worth it.

Daddy’s Little Girl held my interest, and I liked the technique of our getting to re-examine an old case that had already been solved, to see if it had been solved correctly or not.  But Clark forget to add some excitement to the story.  As a result, this book is just “ok”… Nothing more than that.


Also by Mary Higgins Clark:

Daddy’s Gone A Hunting

Nighttime Is My Time

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