No Second Chance

No Second Chance

The "nimble and ingenious" (New York Times) thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author-now in paperback!

Shot twice by an unseen assailant, Dr. Marc Seidman lies in a hospital bed. His wife has been killed. His six-month-old daughter, Tara, has vanished. But then a ransom note arrives, giving him one chance to save her.

Forbidden to talk to the police or the FBI, Marc is helpless as the authorities hone in on a new suspect: him. And he doesn't know who to trust as deadly secrets-about his wife, about an old love he's never forgotten, and about his own past-surface. Torn between agony and hope, Mark finds himself clinging to one, unwavering vow: to bring Tara home at any cost.

From Publishers Weekly

Supercharged by a father's fierce drive to rescue his kidnapped daughter, Coben's third stand-alone thriller proves far more gripping than his second, Tell No One. Marc Seidman, a plastic surgeon near New York City, wakes up in a hospital to learn that he has been gravely wounded, his wife shot dead and his infant daughter, Tara, snatched. The ensuing narrative, which shuttles between third person and Marc's first person, covers more than a year in Marc's hunt for Tara and climaxes twice with his fumbling of payments in response to ransom demands, plunging him into despair. A smartly drawn supporting cast supports Marc in his quest, including an old girlfriend-an ex-FBI agent-who reappears in his life; Marc's lawyer, who's also his best friend; a cop/FBI duo who for a while suspect Marc of engineering the snatch and ransom demands; and a working-class hero who joins forces with Marc near the end of his hunt and steals every scene he's in. On the villain's side lurk several shady folk, including a psychopathic former child star and her hulking boyfriend. The plot is overly complicated, and there's a revelation at book's end that veteran thriller readers will have sussed out long before. Those flaws matter little, though, in the face of the emotional onslaught of Marc's gut-wrenching, self-questioning, relentless narration, which will carry readers like a tidal wave through the novel's twists and turns. What Coben's thriller lacks in originality, it makes up for in sheer vigor; few browsers or dippers will put this down.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Starred Review Very few writers can induce in their readers the kind of trancelike state, punctuated by frequent "wows," that most of us associate with much-loved books from childhood. Coben can. Although he has had a fairly short mystery-writing career (this is his fourth novel), Coben has already won a great deal of acclaim. He is the only writer to have won all three of the genre's most competitive awards: the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Shamus. His current thriller is as pleasantly painful to read as its predecessors. Coben starts with an excruciating premise: What would you do if your infant were kidnapped? His hero, a plastic surgeon specializing in pediatric reconstructions, has no known enemies. But he wakes up 12 days after having been shot in his own home to discover that his wife has died, his six-month-old daughter has been taken, and he himself is a suspect. When the kidnappers make contact, promising that there will be "no second chance" if the cops or feds are brought into the case, Coben's hero is thrown into an agony of hope and indecision. The novel, spanning 18 months and jumping between the father and the kidnappers, sets off depth charges of meets, double-crosses, near-misses, and vengeful acts. Coben holds it together with his hero's determination and smarts. This is the kind of book that will leave readers dazed--but only after they finally look up from the final page. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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