NO SECOND CHANCE
Reissue May 2004
Reviewed by Joy
Dr. Marc Seidman
wakes up in a hospital to the news that he has been seriously wounded,
his wife is dead of gunshot wounds, and his daughter has been missing
for twelve days. The ransom note arrives as soon as he is released from
the hospital Ė sent not to him but to his rich father-in-law.
Marc arrives home
with the two million dollars from his wifeís father, to find police all
over the house. His instructions from the kidnappers are strict: he is
to wait for their call, follow their instructions for delivering the
money, and above all, donít tell the police. If he disobeys, there will
be no second chance.
A few bungles and
betrayals later, Marc is the favorite suspect of the police and FBI.
When he asks for the help of an ex-girlfriend, a former FBI agent, they
think they have their motive. Official investigations have gone so far
wrong that the only way Marc knows to save his daughter is to go on the
run with Rachel, hoping her FBI training will help him succeed where no
one else has. Trouble is, Rachelís mysterious past is getting in their
way. Marc has to break through her defenses as well as his own, to deal
with his daughterís abduction.
What NO SECOND
CHANCE has going for it is high speed and surprises. Against it is a
total lack of believability. I read its four hundred plus pages in one
day, fuming most of the way. I canít tell you about a lot of the flaws,
because I donít want to spoil the secrets, but Iíll touch on the ones I
First, and most
prominently, anyone as innocent as Marc should be pounding on the door
of the FBI demanding a lie detector test Ė if for some reason
investigators hadnít already asked for it. Then the whole vigilante
thing could have been avoided.
Then there is the
police prejudice, which causes them to ignore anything that doesnít fit
their preconceptions. Sure, thereís bound to be some of that, but how
extreme can it get? Enough to make them ignore the preponderance of the
Then thereís Lydia.
I can tell you about Lydia because we meet her near the beginning of the
book, shaking down a widow for her husbandís life insurance by
threatening to kill her children. Lydia is a former child TV star, so
disillusioned at the loss of her fame that she hates everyone. She looks
so sweet and beautiful she can get away with anything, and she does.
Come on, how many former child stars are so disillusioned they take up
careers as serial killers? Iíll give Lydia this, she is the most
interesting character in the book.
And this helper
Marc and Rachel acquire along the way. Yes, they need someone by this
point, someone who is related to the action, and this someone is a most
colorful and unusual person for a suspense novel. Likeable, too. But a
complete stranger, who abandons personal life to throw him/herself into
the fray on the sides of our heroes without question? All too obviously
this person would not have existed except as an answer to a plot
solution. Who in this world would have behaved as the kidnapper(s) did?
I can only shake my head.
If you do want to
read through the whole book, I can promise you at the end a very nice
solution to one problem. Again, unusual, but in a good way. So NO SECOND
CHANCE has some points that make it worth reading. Readers who only want
intense, high speed adventure can probably get everything they want from
it. NO SECOND CHANCE should really be an action movie, not a book.
April 2005 Review
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