15 Seconds by Andrew Gross
Andrew Gross has definitely absorbed the lessons he learned at the knee of James Patterson, with whom he has written several books -- the chapters in 15 Seconds are short, punchy, and full of action. Henry, a doctor, is wrongly detained, then let go, by a police officer who appears to have the wrong man. As the doctor is getting back in his car after being released, the arresting officer is shot in a drive-by and Henry of course becomes the only suspect -- despite the evidence of surveillance cameras and other modern technology. Henry goes on the run to the home of a nearby friend ... only to find that friend murdered too. OMG, Henry's being FRAMED! There are two -- if not three -- sub-plots about parent-child relationships in the book, two of which really push the story along. IF, that is, you're willing to suspend disbelief long enough to get through this book. I found Henry's ability to hide from various law enforcement agencies, and to find a stealable car whenever he needed, a bit tough to swallow. There is also a confusing timeline issue can't spoil that eventually gets resolved, but it had me wondering for a good third of the book. This is a good beach read, but don’t bother if you’re looking for a really in-depth, character-driven thriller.
Rated of 5
by Judy G. (Carmel, IN)
Another reviewer summed this up well as a good beach read. As a lover of really good thrillers I found this book really lacking. It is quick and easy to read with short chapters that lead you on to the next; however, I found the language far to schmaltzy for my taste. The emotions behind the action and the characters felt contrived and I never felt connected to the characters.
Rated of 5
by William Y. (Lynchburg, VA)
Review: 15 Seconds, Andrew Gross
The thriller genre has a long history in popular fiction. The Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls of the 19th century thrived on action, cliffhanger situations, and minimal character development, eventually evolving into pulp novels and countless paperbacks. In that respect Andrew Gross’s 15 Seconds fits the criteria for a thriller. His erstwhile hero, a naïve doctor named Henry Steadman, finds himself in over his head as seemingly incriminating evidence accrues, linking him to murder and more. How can he establish his innocence before the police catch and imprison him?
Any self-respecting thriller should also be a page-turner, and the first half of the book will keep readers guessing right alongside Steadman. But author Gross, in an unusual turnaround, reveals the mystery—at least to his reading audience—and what remains devolves into a more conventional tale as Steadman also figures out who’s out to get him, and in a series of cat-and-mouse chases it all finally climaxes in a scene out of early movie serials (think The Perils of Pauline) with a deserted shack, whirling saw blades, and the menacing villain face-to-face with the good doctor.
Unfortunately, Gross has Steadman thinking in exclamatory sentences—“and I didn’t care!” “I’m pretty sure I can prove it!” “the only chance I have!” and so on throughout the novel. Set in Florida and Georgia, the frazzled Steadman races back and forth, racking up hundreds of miles in travel, but at the expense of much plot plausibility and characterization.
15 Seconds stands as an adequate thriller, but with better writers plowing the same ground and equipped with better plots, the discerning fan of the genre will probably find this effort disappointing.
Rated of 5
by Juli S. (Portland, OR)
I've enjoyed some of the books that Andrew Gross has co-written with James Patterson but this one was a disappointment. The fast paced and action filled story I expected was there the believability of the events which precipitate the story just isn't there. The main character, Dr. Henry Steadman tells the sections from his viewpoint in an odd way. The tension and stress is told with exclamation points rather than action that draws the reader into the story. The confusing timeline in the first half of the book finally made sense but by then I didn't care. The second half included a ridiculous romantic angle and some pretty amazing (as in completely unbelievable) deductions by Steadman. It's not awful, but it's not one I can recommend.
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