No Second Chance ) highlights the author's customary strengths (swift pacing, strong lead char"/>


Harlan Coben, Author . Dutton $25.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-525-94791-2

Just one look at Coben's latest stand-alone thriller (after No Second Chance ) highlights the author's customary strengths (swift pacing, strong lead characters) but also his weaknesses, including limited originality and, in this case, a plot so complicated that many final pages are devoted to sorting it out. The premise is simple enough: suburban housewife Grace Lawson collects some pictures at the local Photomat; inexplicably, one is an old print depicting her husband, Jack, with other college students; when Grace shows the photo to Jack, he drives away—and disappears. Grace's hunt for her missing husband, whom we learn has been kidnapped (but why? and Coben fans will note that the author's last novel also hinged on a kidnapped family member), sweeps her back into a nightmare she thought she'd escaped: the evening years ago when she survived a rock concert rampage, occasioned by a shooting that left many dead. Meanwhile, Eric Wu, a—dare we say?—inscrutable martial-arts killer who has snatched Jack for reasons unknown, menaces assorted folk. Eventually Grace, aided by a Gotti-like mobster whose child was killed in the rampage, gloms on to Wu, as well as on to Jack's sister, a high-powered attorney who, it turns out, is representing the guy who started the rampage by firing his gun. Only he didn't start the rampage after all, and then there's the rock star who vanished after the shooting and resultant mayhem—what's he now doing on Grace's doorstep? This is all as complicated as a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle and about as hard to figure out, although in the midst of the murk there are some wonderful character touches. Coben can write thrillers that lift readers off their seats; this one, alas, will have them slumping. Agent, Lisa Erbach Vance at the Aaron Priest Agency . (May)

Forecast: This will hit lists hard, pushed by a Today author appearance and major ad/promo, but readers looking for the kind of thrills found in No Second Chance won't be happy.

Reviewed on: 03/29/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Show other formats
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-19346-4
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-14664-4
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7528-5259-1
Hardcover - 370 pages - 978-1-873567-65-4
Hardcover - 387 pages - 978-1-4091-5048-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4915-7584-0
Book - 978-0-14-280055-3
Book - 978-0-14-280054-6
Hardcover - 655 pages - 978-0-7862-6628-9
Open Ebook - 978-0-7865-4806-4
Hardcover - 589 pages - 978-1-59413-069-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4805-9843-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 390 pages
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-14-305777-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-14-305779-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7865-4807-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-305778-9
Paperback - 793 pages - 978-1-4091-0027-0
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.