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Split Second (Maggie O'Dell Novels) Hardcover – August 1, 2001

98 customer reviews
Book 2 of 11 in the Maggie O'Dell Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell, star of Kava's first thriller, is back again in her second, but her return is not a happy one. From the very first scene, in which serial killer Albert Stucky escapes from two pitifully inadequate prison guards, through the inevitable and apparently endless escalation of brutality (usually against women), to the predictable ending, this is strictly a blender job: part Thomas Harris and part Patricia Cornwell, with odd bones and scraps tossed in from other similarly grisly and more successful sources. O'Dell, who plays Clarice Starling to Stucky's Hannibal Lecter, is still physically and mentally scarred by the two years she spent on his case and she's fighting to get back on it. She gets her wish. Before she can even unpack the boxes in her new home, one of her neighbors disappears, leaving behind a bloody mess, and another is found dead in a Dumpster. Soon, Stucky strikes even closer to home. The supporting cast is full of cardboard cutouts unsuccessfully masquerading as characters, and since O'Dell herself is so miserable from the start, it's hard to care whether or not she and Stucky ever do make it to their final showdown or, for that matter, which of them survives. Kava's hackneyed prose doesn't help matters: "Dear God! How much longer could she put up with the nightmares?" Probably longer than a lot of readers will put up with this book. (Aug.)Forecast: Kava's first O'Dell vehicle, A Perfect Evil, was widely praised, and Mira is looking to build on that success with a national ad campaign, a teaser chapter in the Perfect Evil paperback and a multicity author tour. Fans may go along for the ride, but Kava won't recruit many new readers with this one.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


". . . a roller coaster read. Although your heart is in your throat the entire time, you enjoy every scary minute." -- Woman's Own

". . . first novel is a formidable one, filled with characters comfortable with themselves and acting out their roles intelligently and believably." -- Dallas Morning News

"A suspense thriller with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the last page." -- Mystery Scene

"Alex Kava has crafted a suspenseful novel and created a winning character in Agent O'Dell." -- Washington Post Book World

"Engaging debut . . . a well-crafted page-turner . . ." -- Publisher's Weekly

"This debut thriller pumps the suspense out . . . Maggie is gutsy and appealing as an FBI agent facing constant danger." -- Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Series: Maggie O'Dell Novels
  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; First Edition edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1551668351
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551668352
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Alex Kava's "Split Second", in my opinion, is a much better book than her debut, "A Perfect Evil." Although "Evil" was entertaining and intriguing, Kava didn't seem to have her finger fully on the characters and spent a lot of time with romantic fluff scenes. However, in this book Alex brings much more depth and understanding into some of her characters. Even though Maggie O'Dell starts out being a little hard to like, a little paranoid, and belligerent, by the end of the book, Maggie has finally come to grips with her ghosts. Her reunion with Nick Morelli is especially well done. In "Evil," Nick came across as a woman chasing stud, with only one thing on his mind. This time around, Nick seems to really have matured, and with his new job in Boston, he has a new outlook on how to show a woman he loves her. It was nice after the Barbara Caitlin scenarios Kava gave us last time. The supporting characters in this one are far from cardboard cut-outs, as one reviewer surmised. Tess McGowan is a strong female character, and almost steals the book away from Maggie. Complete with a horrendous childhood and a life as a prostitute, Tess has bounced back and come into her own as a real estate salesperson. Her current boyfriend, Daniel, is a real jerk, but Kava gives her a one-night stand with a young stud lawyer named Will Finley, and establishes an entirely different relationship for such a one-night stand. When Tess finds herself kidnapped by Stucky, she shows fortitude and strength, and refuses to let him control her. Maggie's partner, Tully, is also a well-drawn character: disorganized; a recent divorcee trying to understand his 14 year old daughter, but actually a genuinely nice guy.Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brad Stonecipher on August 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Alex Kava is one of the best suspense authors that there is. She has only written two novels but both of them are on the same level of a Tami Hoag or Kay Hooper thriller. Make sure that you read Kava's first novel, "A Perfect Evil" before you read "Split Second." Both novels feature the hard-boiled and exciting FBI Agent Maggie O'Dell. She is a very enjoyable character to read about with a great attitude. Maggie put Albert Stuckey, a sociopath that loved to murder women and leave their entrails hanging out, away in prison about eight months ago after being forced to watch Stuckey perform one of his murders. Unfortunately, Stuckey has escaped from prison after overpowering two guards on the way from the jail to a psychiatric facility. He is now determined to make Agent O'Dell pay for putting him in prison. He is killing every woman who is an acquaintance of O'Dell, like the pizza delivery girl and a waitress. O'Dell is afraid of her own life and the lives of every woman she makes contact with. This is a pulse-pounding, non-stop action thriller, that keeps readers on the edge of their seat all the way until the shocking finale, that could easily be a major movie. Alex Kava will definitely make it "big" with this suspense masterpiece.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on April 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Maggie O'Dell returns in Alex Kava's second book and this time, the horrors that were only hinted at in the first book are realised in full when Albert Stucky escapes from prison. And the horror he inflicted in the past resumes, but this time he seems to be homing in on Maggie.
Kava has turned up the horror level and preys heavily on the reader's insecurities. It seems that no-one is safe from Stucky.
The portrayal of Maggie O'Dell has been fleshed out in this book and we really get a solid feel for what makes her tick. We are given a greater understanding of what she has gone through in the past, and so, can understand why she appears so belligerent and closed to other people. She is becoming a much more likable character through the baring of her soul and fears, giving us even more reason to be terrified of the evil Albert Stucky.
This is right up the alley of anyone who loves the honest to goodness psychological thriller-type books complete with totally deranged psychopathic killer. It is strongly recommended that you read A Perfect Evil first (it's a cracking good read, too) in order to get to know the characters and their backgrounds a little better.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nick G on July 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Many say that FBI agent Maggie O'Dell has lost it, but none of them know the mental torture she had endured while trying to capture killer Albert Stucky.
Since the capture of Stucky, Maggie has had to live with her fellow co-workers belittling her, as well as the images of the victims she could not save. But, as Maggie is getting a grip on her life, she learns the news that Stucky has escaped.
As the body count rises, and the trail seems to be leading directly to Maggie, The Bureau puts her back on the case, only this time the hunt will push her to the limits, as Stucky has his own twisted game he wants to play.
Under the supervision of Special Agent R.J. Tully, Maggie will follow the trail of victims, only to discover she is on the verge of crossing the that separates her from the madman she is hunting down. And, she is left wondering one thing, has her need to stop Stucky turned her into a monster?
`Split Second' is an awesome follow- up to the thriller `A Perfect Evil'. The pages turn as fast as the bodies fall, and even though Alex Kava keeps the suspense pumped, she manages to detail the troubles of her heroine, giving readers an understanding of what is going through Maggie's mind.
With this, her second novel, Alex Kava has become an author to reckon with in the thriller genre. As many people are trying to write good serial killer novels, Ms. Kava is doing it. And, as with the novel before it, `Split Second' is a page-turning tale of cat and mouse that will further catapult the author to the forefront of thriller writers.
Nick Gonnella
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