I can’t keep
up with Harlan Coben’s prodigious output but I try to read his books when they
come my way. No Second Chance (Dutton, 2003) ended up in my hands
recently and captured my attention. In classic Coben style I was plunged from
the first page into a crisis: Dr. Marc Seidman awakens from a days-long coma.
He was shot in his kitchen and left for dead. He recalls nothing at all of the
attack. His wife was fatally wounded, and his six-month-old daughter is
missing. Even worse, if it can be, the police first on the scene were unaware
that there was a baby in the house and thus the search for her was delayed.
find that Seidman was injured with one gun and his wife was killed with one
belonging to Seidman, which as far as he knew was in a locked box to which few
people had access. Not a trace of the infant is found. Seidman is beside
himself when he is well enough to understand what happened. He begins searching
for his daughter while the police look for suspects and, when they find none,
turn their attention to Seidman as the possible killer. Why he would have
gravely wounded himself in the process is a question that remains unanswered in
meantime Seidman’s wealthy father-in-law receives a ransom note for the return
of his granddaughter. Seidman is to deliver the money as directed. Any
deviation from the instructions will result in the loss of his child forever.
There would be no second chance for him.
as planned during the hand-off and the baby is not returned. Seidman, not quite
rational by this time, begins his own search extraneous to that of the police,
involving a range of friends current and past. He finds an unexpected ally in an
extremely kind stranger who is devoted to his own children and was devastated
to learn of Seidman’s lost daughter.
Coben delivers a solid read. Plenty of action with an engrossing plot, and primary
characters that I can believe in. I loved the ending, which is as unexpected as
it is deeply gratifying.
Publisher: Dutton Adult; 1st
edition (April 1, 2003)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2023
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on
Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.