No Second Chance by Harlan Coben

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No Second Chance

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Dr. Marc Seidman wakes up in an intensive-care unit with no memory of what happened to him. He is appalled to learn that his wife was murdered when he was shot and that his six-month-old daughter Tara has disappeared. Marc had been a successful plastic surgeon performing reconstructive surgery for indigent children around the world. Now his own world is shattered, with no one to trust.

Marc’s wealthy father-in-law, Edgar Portman, receives a ransom note demanding two million dollars for the return of the baby. The note specifies that if anyone contacts the authorities, the deal is off and there will be no second chance.

Marc talks with his best friend, Lenny, who is also his lawyer, and contacts the police. Plans go awry at the money drop-off. The police and FBI suspect Marc was somehow behind the whole plot. His drug addicted sister Stacey must have been involved, since there is evidence at her house that the baby had been there, but Stacey is dead.

Eighteen months later Edgar Portman receives a demand for an additional two million dollars. Like the first note, it warns that there is an insider who will know if Marc tells the police. He does not tell them, but this delivery also fails. Rachel, a former lover, has suddenly reappeared. A mysterious woman stands outside his house. The novel continues at a fast pace, with numerous suspects.

Harlan Coben won Edgar, Anthony, and Shamus Awards for his excellent mystery series featuring wise-cracking sports agent Myron Bolitar, starting with Deal Breaker (1995) through the seventh, Darkest Fear (2001). No Second Chance follows non-series best sellers Tell No One (2001) and Gone for Good (2002).