Mia Geiger

Kidnapping sets off a father’s frantic search
By Mia Geiger
Special for USA TODAY

New dad Marc Seidman has it all: a lovely wife, a perfect 6-month-old daughter and a globe-trotting practice as a pediatric reconstructive surgeon. Then one morning, he and his wife are shot. He awakens in a hospital bed to learn that his spouse is dead and his baby kidnapped. A ransom note demands $2 million and warns that if he contacts authorities, the deal is over. There will be no second chance.

Thus begins Harlan Coben’s newest stand-alone thriller, No Second
Chance , a harrowing story of a man’s desperate search for his
daughter, as well as for meaning in his life. The protagonist is a
workaholic haunted by his past:

“Sure, I loved my daughter. I cooed on command and marveled at the
wonder of her. I would die — and kill — to protect her, but in my
honest moments I knew that I had not accepted all the changes and
sacrifices she’d brought to my life. What kind of husband had I been?
What kind of father?”

While visiting his wife’s grave, he vows to bring their daughter home.
To pay the ransom, Seidman must resume contact with his wealthy, remote
father-in-law from whom his wife was estranged. To make matters worse,
detectives target Seidman as a suspect. After he botches an exchange
with the kidnappers, his ex-girlfriend, who left the FBI under
mysterious circumstances, suddenly reappears in his life. When a new
discovery hints that his daughter may still be alive, Seidman, fearful
of trusting the authorities, enlists his former love’s help. Together,
they must match wits and fists with a vicious, calculating former child
star and her psychotic boyfriend.

During his search, he uncovers another crime, one with unforeseen
consequences. Seidman’s remorse, fear and hope emanate throughout.

The author is best known for his seven-book series including Edgar
Award-winning Fade Away , starring sports agent/amateur sleuth Myron
Bolitar. The wisecracking quips and witty banter that punctuate the
series are largely absent in No Second Chance . But traces of Coben’s
penchant for sarcasm and fondness for pop culture, such as a mention of
encrusted fast food in a minivan, appear sporadically.

Like his first two stand-alones, the best sellers Tell No One and Gone
for Good , family bonds and suburban life provide the novel’s backdrop.

References from earlier books pop up occasionally, and Bolitar fans
will laugh at a jab he gives Yoo-hoo chocolate drink. After the mystery
is seemingly solved, Coben, as usual, slides in another zinger.

Coben has sold the film rights to Tell No One , and he is negotiating
to sell the movie rights to this book and Gone for Good. Coben says he
is unsure when he’ll write his next Myron Bolitar book, but, in the
meantime, fans can savor another taste of his satisfying and
suspenseful storytelling.

 

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