The Second Time Around

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Best-selling author of over twenty novels, Mary Higgins Clark, in The Second Time Around, has written not only an engrossing tale of suspense flavored with a touch of romance but also a novel that raises questions about the ethics of medical research and the business of medicine.

Nicholas Spencer, president of the medical research company Gen- stone, has apparently died in an airplane crash. At first he is eulogized, but as details about fraud and embezzlement surface, he is reviled. Working from his deceased father’s research notes, Spencer had made great strides toward a vaccine that not only prevents cancer but also inhibits cancerous growth, at least that is what his investors were led to believe. Just before a negative report is released by the FDA which would substantially reduce the stocks’ value, Spencer and a large amount of money disappear.

But nothing is simple as reporter Carley DeCarlo discovers as she investigates Spencer for a Wall Street Weekly cover story, her first assignment at her dreamed-for job. Carley interviews his non-grieving wife, disgruntled stockholders, reticent Gen-stone executives, a perhaps too loyal secretary, disappointed family members of cancer sufferers, and neighbors of Spencer and his father. She wanders into a dangerous world where a great deal of money can be made from patented vaccines and drugs and where people who know too much disappear or have accidents.

With her intelligent prose and fast-moving plot, Clark has written what every novelist wants: a real page-turner. Even at three in the morning, the reader will find it difficult to put down.