Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry
“Mary Higgins Clark, the ‘Queen of Suspense,’ captivates her readers with another thrilling read . . .”
Investigative journalist Gina Kane is returning from a trip to Nepal with her widowed father. Before leaving she receives an email from someone with the address of "CRyan," who writes of a "terrible experience" as an employee of the REL News network, adding she isn't the only one. Gina's curiosity is piqued, and she is eager to learn more from this person she responded to about the frightening situation she suffered. But CRyan has not written back.
Gina arrives at the New York City apartment her parents gave her when they retired and moved to Florida. She wishes she could talk to Ted, the man she's been seeing and who is pushing for a permanent relationship, but he's in Los Angeles for business. She needs advice from someone, both about Ted, as she's unsure of her feelings for him, and about the cryptic email, needing a second opinion.
Working freelance, Gina pitches her suspicion of wrongdoing within REL News network to Charlie Maynard, the longtime editor-in-chief of Empire Review, an investigative periodical, and someone she respects and worked with before. She believes she has interesting information to impart about the well-known corporation.
This proposed story is right up Gina's alley, and she determines to dig deeper and talk with other past and/or present female employees of REL to ascertain if they know if anything menacing is happening to others. She is surprised when Charlie informs her of his retirement and introduces her to a young man named Geoffrey Whitehurst who is taking over his position. Whitehurst gives her the consent to pursue this matter with an expense account needed for travel.
Through diligence and perseverance, Gina manages to track down a woman named Catherine Ryan whom is she believes is the one who emailed her, but she finds out Catherine is vacationing in Aruba. She gets the approval to go to there to meet with Catherine. Only it is too late, as Catherine has succumbed to a fatal jet ski crash. While there, Gina has questions answered and becomes concerned. Was this an accident or a murder?
As Gina probes deeper, she uncovers the names of other women who have been sexually harassed by the top anchor, Brad Matthews. From here, the story segues back two years when the notice of abuse first became known to the head officials at REL News. Their Human Resources lawyer Michael Carter devises a plan to keep this confidential.
An employee, Lauren Pomerantz confides about Matthew's untoward behavior and asserts she also told the son of the company’s founder, Frederick Carlyle, Jr. who is now in charge. She maintains Carlyle brushed her off, therefore needing to inform Carter, hoping he will do something.
"Carter could barely contain his excitement as he thought about this opportunity Pomerantz had given him to deal with the highest level of REL News as an equal. He pictured himself in the much larger office he would occupy in the not so distant future.
"'Lauren, no action I take can undo the hurt you've experienced. If you go to an outside law firm, your name will get leaked out. It always happens. Your picture will be on the front page of the New York Post. There is, however, a way for you to get justice and maintain your anonymity.'"
Carter confers with CEO, Richard Sherman to bring his idea into action. In private meetings with Sherman away from the office, Carter states his plan:
"The CEO's reaction was predictable. 'It's just a ''he said, she said', Sherman
When Carter pulls out his cell phone with the recording Lauren sent him of Matthews’ abuse is when Sherman realizes this is a serious allegation. Seeing Matthews is the business's top money producer, he agrees immediate action is needed.
Carter alleges there are at least four women with complaints against Matthews and states the only way to shut them up is to pay them off, to the tune of two-million dollars each. He suggests Sherman set it up so Carter can leave the company to start his own practice where he will secretly pay off the abused women, keeping everything between him and REL News confidential. Carter believes this is his chance to make it big and benefit financially, too.
As Gina probes deeper into these allegations, she learns another young woman who had been abused has hung herself. She talks with family members and friends who reveal this death is in no way a suicide. Things become ominous.
REL News is being offered as an Initial Public Offering (IPO), and Carter tries to keep everything hush-hush before this can ruin them, but with Gina's resolve to uncover the facts and expose Matthews, she grasps she may be in grave danger.
Mary Higgins Clark, the "Queen of Suspense," captivates her readers with another thrilling read, demonstrating how when big businesses with money and power are being jeopardized they will go to any length to protect their assets no matter the consequences.