Today’s book review of a crime novel is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
15 Seconds by Andrew Gross
OUT OF TOWN
Dr Henry Steadman has it all: a booming business, a daughter he loves, and plenty of time to enjoy life. But while visiting upstate Florida, a police-stop ends in the shooting of a local cop – with Henry as the prime suspect.
OUT OF LUCK
Framed for a second murder, this time of a close friend, Henry goes on the run. His only lifeline is state-trooper Carrie Holmes, no stranger to tragedy herself, who can help prove his innocence. But they are in a dead-end – the police are closing in, the killer is getting away.
OUT OF TIME
This is not just a set-up, it’s far more personal. Henry’s nightmare is complete when his daughter is kidnapped. Suddenly, survival is not enough: he must save his daughter. Everything has been taken away from him – but now, Henry has nothing left to lose…
This novel is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/15-Seconds-Andrew-Gross/dp/0007384270 and http://www.amazon.com/15-Seconds-Andrew-Gross/dp/0007384270.
Review (unabridged audiobook version narrated by Christian Hoff)
Starting with a quote by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “Everyone is guilty of something, or has something to conceal. All one has to do is look hard enough to find what it is”, the novel then has a prologue featuring Amanda and the consequences of her lack of focus behind the wheel. Chapter 1 (part 1) starts in first-person point of view, the high life of a divorced cosmetic surgeon, Henry, and his equally successful daughter, Halle.
A business trip to North Florida, as a speaker at a medical conference, goes… pardon the pun, south before Henry gets to the venue. A lucky escape from a case of mistaken identity for a minor traffic violation until things escalate and goes from bad to worse as the dead bodies stack up and Henry has to prove his innocence.
We then briefly meet Carrie Holmes on her first day back from leave having lost her husband and son as she’s told of a colleague’s death.
Amanda returns as her father, former policeman gone bad Vance, meets her in prison and asks who had given her the drugs that affected her driving. She refuses and when he finds the person he thinks responsible, he seeks retribution and stops at nothing to get it.
Part 2 starts with chapter 19 and we return to Carrie and the tragedies that have happened to her before part 1. Events of how her husband and son ended up in hospital and already knowing the outcome spoiled this part for me. The next few chapters switch from Vance to Carrie who, supported by her ex-policeman father and FBI brother, does her own investigations to prove Henry innocent. We then learn how Vance and Henry are connected and the action speeds up further until the final confrontation.
The ending is fairly predictable but gripping then ahhhh… 🙂
In a style akin to James Patterson (Andrew was one of his co-authors) – but with longer chapters, about half the number James usually has – the novel weaves from scene to scene with great cliffhangers in between.
There were a few clichés (inc. heart skipped a beat), adverbs (said grudgingly), amateur phrases (‘shrugging his shoulders’ – where else would we shrug? – and ‘I felt my insides gnash together with alarm’) and repetition of events (a ‘tell’ after a ‘show’). There were some great phrases though including ‘A motel that looked sleepier than me’ but the novel loses a star for Henry talking to himself (which became annoying), his heart doing a variety of things throughout the novel, and a clichéd second escape.
A very enjoyable read that didn’t feel like ten CDs.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition), Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page). She also recently created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has six others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
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If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.