The Clock Strikes Midnight

Fiction - Mystery - General
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 05/13/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Four times business book author, Joan C. Curtis, released her first mystery/suspense title, The Clock Strikes Midnight.
Her first-place book awards include: Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition and best proposal for nonfiction in the Harriette Austin competition

Joan has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. She reads all kinds of books, including women’s fiction, mysteries, biography, and memoir. Her passion as a reader lies closer to literary writing with a commercial bent. She writes books she would love to read.

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jeffrey Brooke-Stewart for Readers' Favorite

With The Clock Strikes Midnight, Joan Curtis has written a true page-turner. The plot follows a successful business woman named Janie as she takes a journey back over her life. The diagnosis of terminal cancer (given on the opening page, so no plot spoiler there) rouses Janie's determination to take care of an unfinished issue from an early period in her life. The story begins in Savannah, Georgia, but quickly moves to Atlanta where the author deftly describes the contrasts of various parts of that city.

Joan Curtis takes the reader through Janie's life story and that of the previous generation. The characters of her family and friends are developed with sensitivity, even though some of them are very unattractive. Central to the plot is an understanding of Janie's family - her mother, step-father and her sister, in particular.

In the process, the author describes Janie's determination and her progress towards settling the old issue before the cancer causes her death. Exactly what that issue is does not become clear until the final pages. But it becomes obvious that it involves the murder of Janie's mother by her step-father, Ralph. Ralph's plea of innocence only adds to the uncertainty and suspense.

On a number of occasions, the reader may anticipate the ending, but each time a new variable is introduced to maintain the uncertainty and tension! The result is a fast-moving suspense-filled yarn. Those who like a good mystery story will enjoy this book.

Kathryn Bennett

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis introduces us to Janie Knox who wants nothing more than to live her life in Savannah, Georgia, without any drama. She never wants to go back to where she was born and raised - Atlanta. She left that place at the age of 17 when her step dad went to jail for killing her mom. When she is told she has only three months left to live, however, she goes home because she is going to kill her step dad. Tick tock goes the clock and Janie and her sister end up in a situation against their step dad they never thought would happen.

This was a very intense read for me. I could not imagine being Janie. I have had a step dad and step mom and I have no idea what I would do if either of them had harmed my parent. I might react in the same way Janie does and want some revenge. I might not, but this story truly ticks all the right boxes that you want to see in a novel. Every page was full of interesting content and I found I could not set it down. There are some big family secrets and surprising twists. Joan C. Curtis has put a lot of love and effort into this book and it shows in the way the story comes to life before your eyes. If you love a good mystery and a tale that is far more then just vengeance, you will enjoy this story. I would recommend it to all mystery lovers.

Trudi LoPreto

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis is the story of two sisters, Janie and Marlene, and the story of a long ago murder. The girls had a hard childhood with a mean and abusive step-father who was accused of killing their drunken mother. Janie leaves her home at the age of 17; Marlene remains in Atlanta for her entire life. Over twenty years have passed since the sisters have had any communication. Janie has just been diagnosed with cancer and has only three months to live. She decides it is time to go home and set things straight with her sister and explain what really happened the day her mother was killed. Marlene is more like her mother than she would like to admit and uses alcohol to escape her everyday life. When their step-father is released from prison, he is still trying to prove his innocence, but both sisters confront him and try to make him go away. This is when the real trouble begins.

Joan Curtis has done a perfect writing job. The Clock Strikes Midnight has murder, love, hate and family troubles perfectly combined to make it a top seller. The Clock Strikes Midnight kept me reading late into the night and again early in the morning until I reached the end and left behind my new friends, Janie and Marlene. Joan C. Curtis has a winner that is a five star hit. If you enjoy a good mystery, I think you will really like The Clock Strikes Midnight.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis is a tale of revenge and of putting things right, a story of hidden truths. Janie Knox wants to live her life quietly in Savannah with her life-partner Sue-Anne. Twenty years earlier, following the imprisonment of her stepfather for killing her mother, she packed up and left without a word to anyone and never spoke to her family again. A diagnosis of breast cancer, giving her just 3 months to live, changes all that and she heads back to put right the things that have haunted her. She discovers her sister is an alcoholic and her stepfather has been released from prison. He starts trying to blackmail both sisters and is looking to sue the government for millions for wrongful imprisonment. In a bitter race against time, Janie rushes to stop him and tie up loose ends before she departs for higher planes.

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis is an amazing story with a number of twists cleverly hidden away. It was gripping and, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t have guessed the ending if I tried. It’s a bittersweet story, full of love, laughter and tragedy, one that will have any reader on the edge of their seat, biting their nails as the story roars to its conclusion. Joan Curtis has done a wonderful job here, the story is gripping enough to keep you reading and the characters are a perfect fit. I look forward to reading more from Joan Curtis in the future.