No second chance /

by Coben, Harlan.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : Dutton, c2003Description: 338 p. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0525947299 (alk. paper) :.Title notes: $24.95 5-2003Subject(s): Victims of violent crimes -- Fiction | Murder victims' families -- Fiction | Single fathers -- Fiction | Kidnapping -- Fiction | Widowers -- Fiction | Mystery fiction
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Item type Home library Collection Shelving location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Books Books Altadena Main Library
Adult Collection Adult Mystery M COB Available 39270002267791

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Harlan Coben returns with a thriller of explosive tension and breathless psychological suspense. No Second Chanceis a breakneck ride where nothing is what it seems-and where hope and fear collide in the most surprising ways. When the first bullet hit my chest, I thought of my daughter... Marc Seidman awakens to find himself in an ICU, hooked up to an IV, his head swathed in bandages. Twelve days earlier, he had an enviable life as a successful surgeon, living in a peaceful suburban neighborhood with his beautiful wife and a baby he adored. Now he lies in a hospital bed, shot by an unseen assailant. His wife has been killed, and his six-month-old daughter, Tara, has vanished. But just when his world seems forever shattered, something arrives to give Marc new hope: a ransom note. If you contact the authorities, we disappear. We will be watching. We want two million dollars. There will be no second chance. The note is chilling, but Marc sees only one thing-he has the chance to save his daughter. He can't talk to the police or the FBI. He doesn't know who he can trust. And now the authorities are closing in on a new suspect: Marc himself. Mired in a deepening quicksand of violence and deadly secrets-about his wife, about an old love he's never forgotten, and about his own past-he clings to one, unwavering vow: to bring Tara home, at any cost.

"If you contact the authorities, we disappear. You will never know what happened to her. We will be watching. We want two million dollars. Get the money ready. Go home and wait. There will be no second chance"--Cover.

$24.95 5-2003

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

<opt> <anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">Chapter 2 "We're doing all we can," Regan said in a voice that sounded too rehearsed, as if he'd been standing over my bed while I was unconscious, working on his delivery. "As I told you, we were not sure we had a missing child at first. We lost valuable time there, but we've recovered now. Tara's photo has been sent out to every police station, airport, tollbooth plaza, bus and train station-anything like that within a hundred-mile radius. We've run background profiles on similar abduction cases, see if we can find a pattern or a suspect." "Twelve days," I repeated. "We have a trace on your various phones-home, business, cell-" "Why?" "In case someone calls in a ransom demand," he said. "Have there been any calls?" "Not yet, no." My head dropped back to the pillow. Twelve days. I'd been lying in this bed for twelve days while my baby girl was ... I pushed the thought away. Regan scratched at his beard. "Do you remember what Tara was wearing that morning?" I did. I had developed something of a morning routine-wake up early, tiptoe toward Tara's crib, stare down. A baby is not all joy. I know that. I know that there are moments of mind-numbing boredom. I know that there are nights when her screams work on my nerve endings like a cheese grater. I don't want to glorify life with an infant. But I liked my new morning routine. Looking down at Tara's tiny form fortified me somehow. More than that, this act was, I guess, a form of rapture. Some people find rapture in a house of worship. Me-and yeah, I know how corny this sounds-I found rapture in that crib. "A pink one-piece with black penguins," I said. "Monica got it at Baby Gap." He jotted it down. "And Monica?" "What about her?" His face was back in the pad. "What was she wearing?" "Jeans," I said, remembering the way they slid over Monica's hips, "and a red blouse." Regan jotted some more. I said, "Are there-I mean, do you have any leads?" "We're still investigating all avenues." "That's not what I asked." Regan just looked at me. There was too much weight in that stare. My daughter. Out there. Alone. For twelve days. I thought of her eyes, the warm light only a parent sees, and I said something stupid. "She's alive." Regan tilted his head like a puppy hearing a new sound. "Don't give up," I said. "We won't." He continued with the curious look. "It's just that ... are you a parent, Detective Regan?" "Two girls," he said. "It's stupid, but I'd know." The same way I knew the world would never be the same when Tara was born. "I'd know," I said again. He did not reply. I realized that what I was saying-especially coming from a man who scoffs at notions of ESP or the supernatural-was ridiculous. I knew that this "sense" merely came from want. You want to believe so badly that your brain rearranges what it sees. But I clung to it anyway. Right or wrong, it felt like a lifeline. "We'll need some more information from you," Regan said. "About you, your wife, friends, finances-" "Later." It was Dr. Heller again. She moved forward as if to block me from his gaze. Her voice was firm. "He needs to rest." "No, now," I said to her, upping the firm-o-meter a notch past hers. "We need to find my daughter." Monica had been buried at the Portman family plot on her father's estate. I missed her funeral, of course. I don't know how I felt about that, but then again, my feelings for my wife, in those stark moments when I was honest with myself, have always been muddled. Monica had that beauty of privilege, what with the too-fine cheekbones, straight silk-black hair, and that country-club lockjaw that both annoyed and aroused. Our marriage was an old-fashioned one-shotgun. Okay, that's an exaggeration. Monica was pregnant. I was fence-sitting. The upcoming arrival tilted me into the matrimonial pasture. I heard the funeral details from Carson Portman, Monica's uncle and the only member of her family who kept in touch with us. Monica had loved him dearly. Carson sat at my hospital bedside with his hands folded in his lap. He looked very much like your favorite college professor-the thick-lensed spectacles, the nearly shedding tweed coat, and the overgrown shock of Albert Einstein-meets-Don King hair. But his brown eyes glistened as he told me in his sad baritone that Edgar, Monica's father, had made sure that my wife's funeral was a "small, tasteful affair." Of that, I had no doubt. The small part, at least. Over the next few days I had my share of visitors at the hospital. My mother-everyone called her Honey-exploded into my room every morning as if fuel propelled. She wore Reebok sneakers of pure white. Her sweatsuit was blue with gold trim, as if she coached the St. Louis Rams. Her hair, though neatly coifed, had the brittle of too many colorings, and there was the whiff of a last cigarette about her. Mom's makeup did little to disguise the anguish of losing her only grandchild. She had amazing energy, staying by my bedside day after day and managing to exude a steady stream of hysteria. This was good. It was as though she was, in part, being hysterical for me, and thus, in a strange way, her eruptions kept me calm. Despite the room's nearly supernova heat-and my constant protestations-Mom would put an extra blanket over me when I was asleep. I woke up one time-my body drenched in sweat, naturally-to hear my mother telling the black nurse with the formal hat about my previous stay at St. Elizabeth's when I was only seven. "He had salmonella," Honey stated in a conspiratorial whisper that was only slightly louder than a bullhorn. "You never smelled diarrhea like that. It was just pouring out of him. His stench practically seeped into the wallpaper." "He ain't all roses now either," the nurse replied. The two women shared a laugh. On Day Two of my recovery, Mom was standing over my bed when I awoke. "Remember this?" she said. She was holding a stuffed Oscar the Grouch someone had given me during that salmonella stay. The green had faded to a light mint. She looked at the nurse. "This is Marc's Oscar," she explained. "Mom," I said. She turned her attention back to me. The mascara was a little too heavy today, crinkling into the wrinkle lines. "Oscar kept you company back then, remember? He helped you get better." I rolled and then closed my eyes. A memory came to me. I had gotten the salmonella from raw eggs. My father used to add them into milkshakes for the protein. I remember the way pure terror had gripped me when I'd first learned that I would have to stay in the hospital overnight. My father, who had recently ruptured his Achilles tendon playing tennis, was in a cast and constant pain. But he saw my fear and as always, he made the sacrifice. He worked all that day at the plant and spent all night in a chair by my hospital bed. I stayed at St. Elizabeth's for ten days. My father slept in that chair every night of them. Mom suddenly turned away, and I could see she was remembering the same thing. The nurse quickly excused herself. I put a hand on my mother's back. She didn't move, but I could feel her shudder. She stared down at the faded Oscar in her hands. I slowly took it from her. "Thank you," I said. Mom wiped her eyes. Dad, I knew, would not come to the hospital this time, and while I am sure my mother had told him what had happened, there was no way to know if he even understood. My father had had his first stroke when he was forty-one years old-one year after staying those nights with me at the hospital. I was eight at the time. I also have a younger sister, Stacy, who is either a "substance abuser" (for the more politically correct) or "crack-head" (for the more accurate). I sometimes look at old pictures from before my dad's stroke, the ones with the young, confident family of four and the shaggy dog and the well-groomed lawn and the basketball hoop and the coal-overloaded, lighter fluid-saturated barbecue. I look for hints of the future in my sister's front-teeth-missing smile, her shadow self perhaps, a sense of foreboding. But I see none. We still have the house, but it's like a sagging movie prop. Dad is still alive, but when he fell, everything shattered Humpty-Dumpty style. Especially Stacy. Stacy had not visited or even called, but nothing she does surprises me anymore. My mother finally turned to face me. I gripped the faded Oscar a little tighter as a thought struck me anew: It was just us again. Dad was pretty much a vegetable. Stacy was hollowed out, gone. I reached out and took Mom's hand, feeling both the warmth and the more recent thickening of her skin. We stayed like that until the door opened. The same nurse leaned into the room. Mom straightened up and said, "Marc also played with dolls," "Action figures," I said, quick on the correction. "They were action figures, not dolls." My best friend, Lenny, and his wife, Cheryl, also stopped by the hospital every day. Lenny Marcus is a big-time trial lawyer, though he also handles my small-time stuff like the time I fought a speeding ticket and the closing on our house. When he graduated and began working for the county prosecutor, friends and opponents quickly dubbed Lenny "the Bulldog" because of his aggressive courtroom behavior. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that the name was too mild for Lenny, so now they called him "Cujo." I've known Lenny since elementary school. I'm the godfather of his son Kevin. And Lenny is Tara's godfather. I haven't slept much. I lie at night and stare at the ceiling and count the beeps and listen to the hospital night sounds and try very much not to let my mind wander to my little daughter and the endless array of possibilities. I am not always successful. The mind, I have learned, is indeed a dark, snake-infested pit. Detective Regan visited later with a possible lead. "Tell me about your sister," he began. "Why?" I said too quickly. Before he could elaborate, I held up my hand to stop him. I understood. My sister was an addict. Where drugs roamed, so too did a certain criminal element. "Were we robbed?" I asked. "We don't think so. Nothing seems to be missing, but the place was tossed." "Tossed?" "Someone made a mess. Any thoughts on why?" "No." "So tell me about your sister." "You have Stacy's record?" I asked. "We do." "I'm not sure what I can add." "You two are estranged, correct?" Estranged. Did that apply to Stacy and me? "I love her," I said slowly. "And when was the last time you saw her?" "Six months ago." "When Tara was born?" "Yes." "Where?" "Where did I see her?" "Yes." "Stacy came to the hospital," I said. "To see her niece?" "Yes." "What happened during that visit?" "Stacy was high. She wanted to hold the baby." "You refused?" "That's right." "Did she get angry?" "She barely reacted. My sister is pretty flat when she's stoned." "But you threw her out?" "I told her she couldn't be a part of Tara's life until she was clean." "I see," he said. "You were hoping that would force her back into rehab?" I might have chuckled. "No, not really." "I'm not sure I understand." I wondered how to put this. I thought of the smile in the family photo, the one without the front teeth. "We've threatened Stacy with worse," I said. "The truth is that my sister won't quit. The drugs are part of her." "So you hold out no hope for recovery?" There was no way I was about to voice that. "I didn't trust her with my daughter," I said. "Let's leave it at that." Regan headed over to the window and looked out. "When did you move into your current residence?" "Monica and I bought the house four months ago." "Not far from where you both grew up, no?" "That's right." "Had you two known each other long?" I was puzzled by the line of questioning. "No." "Even though you grew up in the same town?" "We traveled in different circles." "I see," he said. "And just so I have it straight, you bought your house four months ago and you hadn't seen your sister in six months, correct?" "Correct." "So your sister has never visited you at your current residence?" "That's right." Regan turned to me. "We found a set of Stacy's fingerprints at your house." I said nothing. "You don't seem surprised, Marc." "Stacy is an addict. I don't think she's capable of shooting me and kidnapping my daughter, but I've underestimated how low she could sink before. Did you check her apartment?" "No one has seen her since you were shot," he said. I closed my eyes. "We don't think your sister could pull off something like this by herself," he went on. "She might have had an accomplice-a boyfriend, a dealer, someone who knew your wife was from a wealthy family. Do you have any thoughts?" "No," I said. "So, what, you think this whole thing was a kidnapping plot?" Regan started clawing at his soul patch again. Then he gave a small shrug. "But they tried to kill us both," I went on. "How do you collect ransom from dead parents?" "They could have been so doped up that they made a mistake," he said. "Or maybe they thought they could extort money from Tara's grandfather." "So why haven't they yet?" Regan did not reply. But I knew the answer. The heat, especially after the shooting, would be too much for crack-heads. Crack-heads don't handle conflict well. It is one of the reasons they snort or shoot themselves up in the first place-to escape, to fade away, to avoid, to dive down into the white. The media would be all over this case. The police would be making inquiries. Crack-heads would freak under that kind of pressure. They would flee, abandon everything. And they would get rid of all the evidence. --from No Second Chance by Harlan Coben, Copyright © 2003 by Harlan Coben, published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher. Excerpted from No Second Chance by Harlan Coben All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon> </opt>

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A surgeon finds himself in intensive care after a brutal assault, with his wife dead and his baby daughter gone. Then the ransom note arrives. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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