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It Had to Be You: An Under Suspicion Novel

Review

It Had to Be You: An Under Suspicion Novel

On the night her life ended, Sarah Harrington was a wife and proud mother of three children celebrating the college graduations of her twin sons, Simon and Ethan. She and her husband, Richard, would be found shot to death in their home.

The residents of the small coastal town of Harbor Bay were stunned by the crime, and law enforcement was unaccustomed to it as well. The evidence pointed to a perpetrator or perpetrators known by the victims. An eyewitness sighting pointed to the possibility of either Simon or Ethan being involved in the double homicide. The evidence was circumstantial, but no charges were brought against either of them.

"Compelling is just one of many words to describe a transfixing mystery where suspects are abundant, motives are opaque and the truth will always win out."

Ten years later, the case has gone cold, and lingering suspicions have divided Simon and Ethan. The curiosity about the case has led to interest from podcasts and other media devoted to true crime whodunits. Neither brother is eager to get involved in such a tawdry spectacle. However, their sister, Frankie, believes that revisiting the case could set the record straight once and for all.

Laurie Moran is the producer of a crime magazine show called “Under Suspicion.” Frankie reaches out to Laurie with the idea of the series re-evaluating the evidence and interviewing witnesses in the murders. She has been caught in the middle of her feuding brothers over the previous decade, and it has worn on her. She promises Laurie that she can get Simon and Ethan to sit down for an interview to tell their respective sides.

Laurie’s boss is over the moon with the possibility of a show featuring the case of “The Deadly Duo,” as the brothers have been dubbed. Frankie’s promise is one thing, but Simon and Ethan are still wary of the other’s motives and remain wild cards until the conclusion of the interview. As Laurie and her television crew begin to probe the circumstances leading up to the crime, long-buried secrets are revealed. The picture-perfect lives of the Harringtons were for display purposes only.

IT HAD TO BE YOU is the latest mystery gem from the writing partnership of Mary Higgins Clark (who passed away in 2020) and Alafair Burke. While being the eighth installment in the Under Suspicion series, this outstanding effort proves that the shine is still on the apple. Simon and Ethan are just two of the many fascinating characters populating the pages of this excellent novel. The murders of their parents and the suspicion cast upon them have only heightened past grievances and pushed them further away. Simon went into the family business, while Ethan opted for a more creative route. The strong women in their lives are the ones who convince them to take the first step toward closure.

True crime has become an entertainment genre in its own right over the years, but Laurie distinguishes her program as being focused on the truth and less on the salacious. The quest for justice over ratings adds to the overall conflict of the plot. Compelling is just one of many words to describe a transfixing mystery where suspects are abundant, motives are opaque and the truth will always win out.

Reviewed by Philip Zozzaro on June 1, 2024

It Had to Be You: An Under Suspicion Novel
by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

  • Publication Date: April 16, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1982132574
  • ISBN-13: 9781982132576