Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Seconds Away - Harlan Coben

Seconds Away by Harlan Coben
Series: Mickey Bolitar #2
Genre: YA, mystery, suspence
Published on September 18, 2012
Published by Putnam
Pages: 338
Read From: 1.30.13 - 2.1.13

When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends - sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon - find themselves at the center of a murder mystery involving their friend Rachel. Now, now only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter and the Butcher of Lodz, he needs to figure out what happened to Rachel - no matter what it takes. 
Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But how can he protect them when he's not even sure who - or what - he's protecting them from?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Surprisingly yes! Despite the leering face, the cover is definitely exciting and promises a suspense-like story (which it is). That alone would make me pick it up, even if I knew nothing about the Mickey Bolitar books.

Characters: Mickey is the sort of “modern-guy” protagonist that I like. He’s sarcastic and smart, but he doesn’t have this flirtatious “I‘m cool“ attitude. Rather, he’s always making fun of himself, especially when he’s done something idiotic and realizes it. Spoon is an odd little dude, and normally I don’t really care for the “endearing nerd side-kick” characters, but he’s okay. Ema, though, I always take some time to warm up to. I spent the majority of the book a little tired of her company, and wishing she would stop beating up on poor Rachel simply because she was a cheerleader. But towards the end of the book, I liked Ema well enough, and I know it will be the same way with the third book.

The Romance: There isn’t any.

Plot: The plot of Shelter was perhaps a bit more exciting because there was more mystery. We Readers didn’t know anything about the Abeona Shelter or Bat Lady. In Seconds Away, we do. But at the same time, there still is plenty of mystery in this one: the mystery of who shot Rachel and why, which in the end turns out not to be nearly as exciting as one might hope. But the Author also has a second plot underlying the main one, as a hint toward what the third book will be about, and that one is definitely more interesting. Plenty of questions are asked in Seconds Away that will make you excited for the next installment.

Believability: The Author portrays realistic injuries very well.

Writing Style: The writing is nothing special. It’s very modern and kind of choppy at times; there’s no beauty in it. But for the sort of book Seconds Away is, the writing works well enough for it. Lots of suspense and the like. Some of the fight scenes are a little hard to follow, and the one in the school feels horribly slow, because the Author spends too much time relating every single movement each person makes.

Content: None.

Conclusion: Normally, I don’t like it when mysteries, especially ones that involve homicides, turn out to have an un-sinister explanation. I feel ripped off. Somehow, though, I was all right with it in this one. Maybe because I wasn’t able to anticipate the explanation at all, and if some of the characters that were involved turned out to be actual villains, it just wouldn’t have worked. There are some characters that the Reader can hate, but aren’t destined to be actual bad guys. While I enjoyed aspects of Shelter more, Seconds Away was an excellent sequel, and a very good way to set things up for the next installment. I don’t think fans will be disappointed.

Recommended Audience: Guy-read, sixteen-and-up. Fans of modern suspense will like it.

Others in the Mickey Bolitar Series:
2)Seconds Away

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