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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.