Summary and book reviews of No Second Chance by Harlan Coben

No Second Chance

By Harlan Coben

No Second Chance
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2003,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: May 2004,
    448 pages.

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Book Summary

Harlan Coben "serves up everything you could ask for in a can't-put-it-down book...rocket-fast pace with solid emotional underpinning" (San Francisco Chronicle). Now, he returns with an explosive novel about the love of a father, in a story where nothing is what it seems-and where hope and fear collide in the most surprising ways.

When the first bullet hit my chest, I thought of my daughter…

Marc Seidman awakens to find himself in an ICU, hooked up to an IV, his head swathed in bandages. Twelve days earlier, he had an enviable life as a successful surgeon, living in a peaceful suburban neighborhood with his beautiful wife and a baby he adored. Now he lies in a hospital bed, shot by an unseen assailant. His wife has been killed, and his six-month-old daughter, Tara, has vanished. But just when his world seems forever shattered, something arrives to give Marc new hope: a ransom note.

We are watching. If you contact the authorities, you will never see your daughter again. There will be no second chance.

The note is chilling, but Marc sees only one thing—he has the chance to save his daughter. He can’t talk to the police or the FBI. He doesn’t know who he can trust. And now the authorities are closing in on a new suspect: Marc himself. Mired in a deepening quicksand of deception and deadly secrets-about his wife, about an old love he’s never forgotten, and about his own past—he clings to one, unwavering vow…to bring home Tara, at any cost.

Both a white-knuckle thriller and an emotionally powerful tale about the loyalty of old friends and the bond between parent and child, No Second Chance is another masterpiece from an author who writes “suspense at its finest” (Jeffrey Deaver).

Chapter I



When the first bullet hit my chest, I thought of my daughter. At least, that is what I want to believe. I lost consciousness pretty fast. And, if you want to get technical about it, I don't even remember being shot. I know that I lost a lot of blood. I know that a second bullet skimmed the top of my head, though I was probably already out by then. I know that my heart stopped. But I still like to think that as I lay dying, I thought of Tara.

FYI: I saw no bright light or tunnel. Or if I did, I don't remember that either.

Tara, my daughter, is only six months old. She was lying in her crib. I wonder if the gunfire frightened her. It must have. She probably began to cry. I wonder if the familiar albeit grating sound of her cries somehow sliced through my haze, if on some level I actually heard her. But again I have no memory of it.

What I do remember, however, was the moment Tara was born. I remember Monica - that's Tara's mother - bearing down...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

What Coben's thriller lacks in originality, it makes up for in sheer vigor; few browsers or dippers will put this down.

Kirkus Reviews

Once again, Coben expertly tugs at a suburban citizen's most ordinary fears until he finds a mind-boggling criminal conspiracy at the other end of the line... Irresistibly overstuffed.

Booklist

Starred Review. Very few writers 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.

People Magazine Page-Turner of the Week

Coben stands on the accelerator and never lets up…riveting.

The Houston Chronicle

This is a wild ride.

The Daily News

If you like smart thrillers ... go out and buy No Second Chance.

The New York Times - Janet Maslin

Coben's plotting skills are in vigorous form, and he has devised a cleverly intricate scheme surrounding Tara's disappearance ... No Second Chance has a life of its own.

Reader Reviews
Emily

No Second Chance review
Both exciting and wonderful. It was very hard to put this book down. I'm 18 and the only books I read are by Harlan Coben because they are thrilling and are perfect if you looking for something new to read.

Cree

Harlan does it again
Once again, Mr. Coben does an outstanding job writing a murder mystery... weaving in details and characters that all come together beautfully and seamlessly in the end. While you know he always includes details for a reason, it is still a ...   Read More

Kim Izor...age 15

The book is outstanding! I started reading it for a book report, but got in to it right away. It's never ending thrill and excitment and the ending is priceless!

Michael Reed

New to Harlen's work. GREAT! One of those that you don't put down....not even to sleep...

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