15 seconds can tear your life apart . . .
Henry Steadman is a successful Florida plastic surgeon on his way to deliver a keynote address at a conference when his world falls apart. Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed, and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but after it subsides, and Henry is about to move on, the officer is suddenly killed in his car and there is only one suspect: the very person he was about to arrest not ten minutes before. Henry! When a second friend turns up dead, Henry realizes he’s being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name.
-synopsis from Goodreads.
Andrew Gross threw me on a roller coaster with 15 Seconds, Harlan Coben was not kidding when he said it was a “stay-up-all-night thrill ride.” Every time I glanced to the page number, I was another 100 pages in. The suspense glued me to the book (Which I finished in one sitting) until the last page was turned. Gross just knows how to keep his readers excitedly guessing. However, despite how much I was enthralled with the story, there are times when I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.
I was disappointed that I already guessed where the story was headed before the first hundred pages and how the characters were tied to each other (though I did expect a more complex plot.) It didn’t stop me from wanting to experience the story–but was a slight let-down when the plot wasn’t as brilliantly complex as I hoped. I really wanted a mind-blowing plot twist–but everything was resolved too easily before tension can be built.
Henry: The stereotypical nice guy, rich plastic surgeon, and handsome. I pitied him since he gets himself in a mess by seemingly being at the wrong place at the wrong time–but then it turns out he was at the very right place at the right time. He also does hilariously stupid things like attempting to chase a murderer by going crazy on a highway…which only makes him more human. I like him, but I was frustrated at his LUCK: how a nationally wanted serial killer can walk into a prison is beyond me (even if he has a poorly made fake id.) I also thought he got off way too easily; he isn’t completely innocent and owed a few apologies.
Vance: Former-police officer and crazy murderer. He is adamant on dishing out his own form of justice, justice that can only be served outside of the law. As a former cop, he loses faith in the justice system. He seems like a heartless, rash murderer, but he later proves to be very calculating (I suspect that he might be psychic) and not so heartless towards his daughter. I am surprised he made it that far without being caught by the police, he doesn’t seem to be a careful murderer. It’s ironic that he feels he ought to be in Heaven, and he wants to become his daughter’s Atticus. At times I can sympathize with him, but there’s also something very twisted about his logic. It’s a pity he never redeems himself. I wish he had a bit more depth, or doubt himself to show a figment of a conscience.
Carrie: Mom, phone-answerer (I know there most be a better word for this) for the police department, and one of the few people that trust Henry. Despite not being in the spotlight too often, she is the most “human” one; I find her even more developed than Henry. Her situation is just heart-breaking; I was rooting for her more than Henry. She is the perfect heroine, independent, strong, but still has her vulnerabilities.
Somehow Police Officers Are All Jerks
I’m starting to wonder one of the themes in 15 Seconds is police officers abusing their power. All of them are portrayed as rash, uncaring people who will “shoot first, ask questions later.” In the first half, I sided with Henry and disliked the police officers that were so adamant for his capture, and then they were just a joke in the second half which made the story hard to swallow. You have to wonder just how capable the police are when average Joe can out-run a dozen police officers.
I was curious how the police would save their reputation, or if they will continue denying evidence. You can’t just declare this innocent guy a wanted serial killer on national TV, slander him, open fire on him, and be like “oooooops, never mind! my bad.”
Overall, I enjoyed the novel. It’s a spine-chilling thriller that gripped me from page one, but I was left in disbelief, with unanswered questions. The novel was just leaking potential to become a thought-provoking masterpiece, and I’m just a tiny bit saddened that the opportunity wasn’t seized. Gripping thriller nonetheless!
Spoilery Thoughts I Need To Get Out of My System:
If Henry didn’t chase that blue car and ended up in jail, would he still be in such a big mess?
So…what happened to those shilling pain clinics with more ethics? Did Henry learn his lesson and close them down–fight for stricter laws? Those drug dealers are an embarrassment, if they were so easy to dig up, the police (at least the righteous ones) would’ve caught them all.
Whatever happened to the issue with his fraternity? He still watched the dude drown.
On a slightly separate note, this book currently has a waitlist of 136 people at my local library, and I am feeling hipster already having it in my hands before everyone else.
Want more of Andrew Gross’s 15 Seconds? Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TLC tour stops (and other chances to win!):
Tuesday, July 10th: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, July 11th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, July 12th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Friday, July 13th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Monday, July 16th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Tuesday, July 17th: M. Denise C.
Wednesday, July 18th: My Book Retreat
Thursday, July 19th: Me and Reading
Friday, July 20th: One Book at a Time
Monday, July 23rd: a novel toybox
Tuesday, July 24th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, July 25th: Book Him Danno!
Thursday, July 26th: Me, My Book and the Couch
Friday, July 27th: My Two Blessings
Monday, July 30th: Reviews from the Heart
Tuesday, July 31st: Book Addict Katie
Wednesday, August 1st: Musings of an All Purpose Monkey
Thursday, August 2nd: I Read. Do You?
Friday, August 3rd: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Want to win a hardback copy of 15 Seconds for your bookshelf? Leave a comment telling me why you want to read 15 Seconds, or tell me about an experience with a police officer. (mandatory entry)1 Winner, US ONLY, giveaway ends on August 1st, 2012 midnight EST, Good luck!
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WINNER CHOSEN: Random.org chose #6, Congratulations Sheila K.!