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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Review: Seconds Away by Harlan Coben

Gripping YA crime thriller from a master writer 

This is the second in Coben's YA series focused on Mickey Bolitar, nephew of his main adult character, Myron Bolitar. The first in the series was the fabulous Shelter, and this follow-up is just as good. As always, since this is a review for a sequel, there may be spoilers for the first book in the series here - please look away if you haven't read it yet!

The novel's action picks up from where Shelter leaves off, and takes us deeper into the mystery and conspiracies that were beginning to be unpicked in the first novel. At the end of Shelter, Mickey received some startling news, which naturally he investigates in this instalment, along with other new mysteries that crop up. The shadowy figure of The Bat Lady still hovers and the truth about the Abeona Shelter is clearly going to be a long-running plot thread, which the teens do unravel a bit further here. At the centre of the plot is another death: this time Rachel, who helped to save Ashley in Shelter, is shot along with her mother.

A key strength of both books is the characterisation. I challenge you to read this and not be sucked in and rooting for Mickey, Ema and Spoon! Their determination to do the right thing, and their schemes to sneak around and investigate are endearing and brilliantly drawn. Ema remains delightfully intractable and yet both brave and dependable, while Spoon's dorkiness knows no bounds. Mickey's inability to ignore injustice continues to drive the plot and inspire them all to plunge further and further into the murk that surrounds them.

Overall, this is a great read, which completes a new mystery and takes us further in the overarching mystery of the Abeona Shelter. I can't wait to see what Mickey and co will uncover next!

The blurb says:

This action-packed second book in international bestseller Harlan Coben’s Mickey Bolitar young adult series follows Mickey as he continues to hunt for clues about the Abeona Shelter and the mysterious death of his father—all while trying to navigate the challenges of a new high school.

When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their classmate Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey need to keep himself and his friends safe from the Butcher of Lodz, but he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.

Mickey Bolitar is as quick-witted and clever as his uncle Myron, but with danger just seconds away, it is going to take all of his determination and help from his friends to protect the people he loves, even if he does not know who—or what—he is protecting them from.

Published Nov 2012 by Indigo
Find out more at the publisher's website
My grateful thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review

1 comment:

  1. Pretty much the only book my 8th grade son has said he enjoyed. Said it "related to him". Anything that can get him away from video games gets 5 stars from me. I read it as well and it was actually well written, not condescending as some young adult books tend to be, and kept my attention the whole way through. Great second YA book by this author.

    Cath Brookes
    Must see Deliverance from Lesbianism


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