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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another Review..

This is my second review and it is by Harlan Coben. It's called No Second Chance. I really didn't like this one as much as the first book I read by him, but the review explains that.

In "No Second Chance", Doctor Marc Seidman wakes up in the hospital that he works at with almost no recollection of what happened. He knew that he had been shot and he remembered what his last thought was. His daughter. His first thought was his daughter and how much he loved her. His daughter, Tara is six months old and a police detective tells him that she has been kidnapped and his wife is dead. Dr. Seidman is distraught with grief and in a state of shock. The shock becomes even greater when he finds out that he has been in the hospital for twelve days.

Twelve days his daughter has been missing. Twelve days his wife, Monica, has been dead and buried. The funeral was small and quiet. Her father had wanted it that way and could not wait for Marc to be released from the hospital. Her father, Edgar, was a very prominent man with lots of money. However, he was not a very nice man. We find out that he had "abused" his daughter. At the end of her life, she was seeing a pyschriarist for emotional problems. She thought that her husband did not love her anymore and might've been having an affair with his old girlfriend Rachel in college. She was right about one thing. Marc didn't really love his wife ever. He married her only because she was pregnant and he was trying to do the right thing. When she had the baby, he almost resented Tara for making him make the sacrifices that you must make as a parent. He even questioned himself about being a good husband and father. But, a baby was a baby and the more he got to know her and fell into their "routine", he came to love his daughter.

Marc, having recovered from his injuries, gets out of the hospital and goes to see Edgar. But first, he stops and sees his wife's grave. He makes a promise that he will find Tara. When he finally gets to the house, Edgar tells him that he has gotten a ransom demand from the kidnappers. No police, two million dollar payoff and then he gets his daughter back. The good doctor informs the police, who incidently suspects him as being the killer of his wife and mastermind behind the whole plot. The police go with him and as a result he gives up the money, and the chance at finding his daughter.

The kidnapper's tell him that there is no second chance. But, after eighteen months of wondering and waiting, they get another ransom demand. This time, like the last, the demand comes to Edgar. They give him a hair sample to convince them that the girl is still alive and waiting to come home. The police get involved with investigating him deeper as he finds his old lover, Rachel at the grocery store. It was an awkward moment, but he eventually enlists her help to recover his daughter. As the police then turn their attention to her, we find out that Rachel Mills is a retired FBI agent and has a mysterious past of her own.

I was truly expecting "No Second Chance" to be just as satisfying and heart wrenching as his book "Tell No One." I really cared about the characters in "Tell No One" and I wanted everything to turn out well. I still wanted everything to turn out well, but the characters in "No Second Chance" were just not that interesting and really, I didn't care about them. The characters felt very rushed. The characters could have been given more depth and sincerity. The main character's concern throughout the book over his daughter was not very believable. It seemed like Mr. Coben's main character was more interested in his ex-girlfriend Rachel, when he found her again, then in finding out what happened to his daughter. He and Rachel's relationship almost seemed to be the main story and finding Tara seemed to be pushed into the subplot. He also seemed to give up on his daughter too quickly. As he said "he and Rachel could just drive off in the other direction"; Essentially leave his daughter and the trouble that they were in far behind and start a whole new life together. Dr. Seidman did not seem to be a very strong character to be the main one.

The story builds up to a climatic conclusion which will satisfy his readers. The chase scenes and the mystery of who killed his wife, shot him, and took his daughter was very entertaining and keeps the reader questioning the character's motives. Also, the confrontations with the police are also very interesting and keeps readers at the edge of their seats.

Although not his best work, it was a very entertaining book, and fans of Mr. Coben will definitely appreciate this fast paced mystery.