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No Second Chance Hardcover – April 28, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 441 customer reviews

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Hardcover, April 28, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Supercharged by a father's fierce drive to rescue his kidnapped daughter, Coben's third stand-alone thriller proves far more gripping than his second, Tell No One. Marc Seidman, a plastic surgeon near New York City, wakes up in a hospital to learn that he has been gravely wounded, his wife shot dead and his infant daughter, Tara, snatched. The ensuing narrative, which shuttles between third person and Marc's first person, covers more than a year in Marc's hunt for Tara and climaxes twice with his fumbling of payments in response to ransom demands, plunging him into despair. A smartly drawn supporting cast supports Marc in his quest, including an old girlfriend-an ex-FBI agent-who reappears in his life; Marc's lawyer, who's also his best friend; a cop/FBI duo who for a while suspect Marc of engineering the snatch and ransom demands; and a working-class hero who joins forces with Marc near the end of his hunt and steals every scene he's in. On the villain's side lurk several shady folk, including a psychopathic former child star and her hulking boyfriend. The plot is overly complicated, and there's a revelation at book's end that veteran thriller readers will have sussed out long before. Those flaws matter little, though, in the face of the emotional onslaught of Marc's gut-wrenching, self-questioning, relentless narration, which will carry readers like a tidal wave through the novel's twists and turns. What Coben's thriller lacks in originality, it makes up for in sheer vigor; few browsers or dippers will put this down.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Very few writers can 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. Although he has had a fairly short mystery-writing career (this is his fourth novel), Coben has already won a great deal of acclaim. He is the only writer to have won all three of the genre's most competitive awards: the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Shamus. His current thriller is as pleasantly painful to read as its predecessors. Coben starts with an excruciating premise: What would you do if your infant were kidnapped? His hero, a plastic surgeon specializing in pediatric reconstructions, has no known enemies. But he wakes up 12 days after having been shot in his own home to discover that his wife has died, his six-month-old daughter has been taken, and he himself is a suspect. When the kidnappers make contact, promising that there will be "no second chance" if the cops or feds are brought into the case, Coben's hero is thrown into an agony of hope and indecision. The novel, spanning 18 months and jumping between the father and the kidnappers, sets off depth charges of meets, double-crosses, near-misses, and vengeful acts. Coben holds it together with his hero's determination and smarts. This is the kind of book that will leave readers dazed--but only after they finally look up from the final page. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; 1st edition (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525947299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525947295
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (441 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Harlan Coben is the bestselling author of sixteen previous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers "Long Lost" and "Hold Tight." Winner of the Edgar Award, the Shamus Award, and the Anthony Award, Coben lives in New Jersey with his family.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This one grabs you with the first sentence and doesn't let go until the last page. Dr. Marc Seidman wakes up in the hospital after being shot and almost killed, to learn that his wife was killed and his six month old daughter is missing. Coben weaves a fine tale of death, destruction and double-dealing over a period of eighteen months. As Marc searches for his daughter, the reader is taken on a wild non-stop ride. If you like Coben's two recent novels, Tell No One and Gone For Good, you are going to love this one. The characters are very well drawn. I loved the character, Verne, dearly. The action never lets up and the ending was very satisfying. Just one thing. The title, No Second Chance, is misleading. There is a second chance. Actually there are more than two and Dr. Marc Seidman handles each one with sometimes bumbling and sometimes brilliant action. An Exceptional thriller.
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Format: Hardcover
I had heard alot about Harlan Coben, but No Second Chance was my first read, and now I feel foolish for waiting so long. I wish I could divulge some plot elements, for they are brilliant, but let me say simply that this book has a fantastically constructed serpentine plot. Reminds me of being on Space Mountain, a great roller coaster where you always think you know the next exciting twist and turn, never do, and then wonder of course why didnt I think of that.
Dr. Marc Seidman, Coben's lead character, is a good guy with just enough hint of darkness to make him interesting. And the characters surrounding him all seem to be hiding some deep dark secret, though discerning which do and what they are is part of what makes this novel a great read. And I also like Coben's eye for detail and description-it is at the same time vivid yet well researched and accurate. One can actually painlessly learn something from a Harlan Coben book.
This was the best money Ive spent in a long time, and now Im off to order the rest of Coben's book. Read it, you won't regret it. Yeah Harlan!!
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Format: Hardcover
As a huge Harlan Coben fan, I will dutifully buy and read each of his new releases as they come out. At this point I think I appreciate the familiarity provided by each new novel. Coben's like the Kevin Smith of the literary world, tying the same characters into multiple books, while never really spending too much time away from the main characters.
Not to say that each book can't be appreciated on its own merits, but it always feels like Coben wants to go back to writing about Myron Bolitar (and I hope he does someday).
No Second Chance was a great, quick read. It has its quirks and downsides, but like his other works its a brilliant way to pass the time. However, if you've never read Coben before ... try starting with Tell No One or Gone for Good.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
No Second Chance is a great thriller by Harlen Coben. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book on audio tape. It was one of the best audio book readings I've ever heard. Scott Brick was excellent. The story opens from Dr. Mark Siedman's point of view and Mark says among other things he wouldn't hesitate to give his life for his 6 month old daughter, nor would he not hesitate to give your life as well. Mark is the victim of a brutal shooting where it took him 11 days to regain conciousness. He has no memories of the shooting, and awakens to find a cop standing over him. The cop informs him that his wife died in the shooting and that his 6 month old daughter is nowhere to be found.

Siedman has little time to come to grips with his wife's death. He receives a ransom call while he is still in the hospital. Mark must pay $2 million dollars and follow exact directions, including not calling the police, in order to get his daughter back. The kidnappers tell Mark that if he doesn't follow their directions, he will get NO SECOND CHANCE to get his daughter back.

Mark decides to involve the police and the ransom exchange doesn't go right, and he doesn't get his daughter back. Now Mark assumes his daughter is dead. From here, the novel follows typical suspense novel twists and turns but Coben does it better than most. He also does great characters. At one point, a strange character is hovering outside Mark's house. Mark finds out it is a girl that used to live in that house. Mark talks with her and during the conversation, she says "you know who killed you, don't you Mark?" Coben does a great job of planting little twists, or questions that Mark has about things that don't seem right. Don't worry, Coben always comes back to answer every question he brought up.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Coben can really write but that makes the disappointment all the worse when he runs off the rails at the end. Many authors can paint themselves into a corner with a complex plot; all you really ask for is a half-way reasonable explanation as they bring it home. No Second Chance ends on a cheap note when Coben changes a character completely just to wrap up the plot.
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By A Customer on December 28, 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
Just listened to this one over the weekend during a long trip. Unlike a lot of the reviewers here I don't have any other Harlan Coben books to compare this one to, as I've never heard of him, so it's quite easy for me to give it five stars.
This book keeps you guessing until nearly the end. Every time you think you have it all worked out you turn out to be completely wrong...THAT, in my opinion, is the sign of a well written mystery.
The characters are so well developed that I'm not afraid to admit I had a tear forming in my eye on several occasions. I'm a softy when it comes to parents and their love for their children. This exploits those feelings to the nth degree...constantly.
You've read enough reviews with analysis of the plot, the characters, their motivations, etc., that I don't need to add anything about the story itself. Suffice it to say that if you like a well written mystery that keeps you guessing until the end, you'll like this book. If you're a parent, you'll like this book. If you're a fan of action and suspense, you'll like this book.
Read this book.
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