Friday 26 July 2013



No Second Chance is yet another of Harlan Coben's terrifying explorations of the worst of fears--Marc Seidman wakes in hospital after narrowly surviving a shooting in which his wife died and their baby daughter went missing. The handover of a ransom from his rich in-laws goes wrong and Seidman realises that he is not only without wife and daughter--and the sister who may have been an accomplice--but he is also the principal suspect. The reader knows even more than Seidman just how much jeopardy he is in--Coben does a brilliantly disturbing job of introducing us to a pair of psychotics who are in charge of the ransom plot and who plan to take Seidman and his in-laws for another ride into insecurity and hell. Marc turns to the one person he thinks can help him--the ex-girlfriend who still has a place in his heart and used to be a senior Federal agent. The problem is that Rachel comes with baggage, and enemies, all of her own...

Coben is one of the crime writers I enjoy who is probably more mainstream than some of the authors I read. Chances are that after 24 or 25 books, you’ve happened on at least of couple of his titles when browsing the crime section of your local bookshop. He’s written a series of 10 books featuring  Myron Bolitar that has now digressed into a series of 2 so far, starring Myron’s nephew, Mickey. All of his other books are standalones, including this 2003 effort, No Second Chance.

Over the past year, I have maybe read 4 or 5 Coben’s as he is an author that my wife enjoys. This time around I grabbed this from her as she was struggling a bit to muddle through it. It’s been on the go for a couple of months, picked-up, put down, read a chapter, leave it for a week. When the reading is that spasmodic and interrupted, it’s easy to lose the thread and any interest you may have in the tale barely registers on the barometer.

Well having gained possession, I read about 200 pages on the first day, 100-odd on the second and the last 90 on the third, avoiding the pitfall that my wife had fallen into.   

Verdict....... fast, interesting, enjoyable, likeable characters – including one of the rogues of the piece, a story that whilst stretching the bounds of believability didn’t transgress too far into the realms of fantasy to make me hit the switch to the off button.  Not the best of his I have read, but not the worst either. It was a decent enough filler, that won’t probably remain long in the memory but served a purpose until hopefully the next great read, happens along. Everything was kind of wrapped up nice and neatly at the end, which ironically irritates me just a little bit. If only life turned out like a Harlan Coben book, we’d all probably sleep a lot better in our beds at night, most of the time at least.

3 from 5

My/our copy was second hand and I’m unsure where or when I acquired it, not too recently that’s for sure.



  1. Harlan Coben and I don't get along well. Too mainstream for me.

    1. I can fully understand that, though I have started to read a lot more mainstream than I ever used to. I would tire quickly if this type of thing was all I was reading. Sometimes it does make a change from being immersed in bleak, dark, edgy stuff.
      If I'm honest, I kind of like a lot of mid-list authors or below, the ones that don't figure on everyone's radar.
      My wife likes Coben, so it's nice to compare notes on books we have both read. She probably reads 10% the volume I do.
      She is more of a social animal than me insofar as she will make conversation and watch TV with the family, whereas I'm the cranky old git in the corner with his head in a book!

  2. Now this is why I am afraid to read Harlan Coben: "Harlan Coben's terrifying explorations of the worst of fears". But... Your review makes it sound like I may be able to handle this one.

    Have you read his book Tell No One? I saw the movie (French) and it is great. Rewatchable. So I may try that one. And he has a series about a sports agent that he started with... and I have one of those (the first one of course).

    1. Tracy, I think I have read Tell No One, but like Moira commented the titles seem interchangeable and it all becomes a bit of a blur after a while. I definitely haven't seen the film.

      I would give at least one of his a go, maybe the sports agent book, which I haven't yet tried.

  3. I have read a handful of Coben books - I thought they were fine, don't remember much about them, always happy to read another one but I never seek them out. I guess that makes them midlist in my own personal list! Not helped by the titles - I can never remember which is which, they seem interchangeable. I always think he has just another twist -and another twist - and then... and they are completely unbelievable, but they do add to the enjoyment.

    1. Moira, I'd be interested to know what fashion hints Coben gave you! You're right twist, twist and twist - unbelievable, but still kind of ok. They don't stay too long in the memory banks.