Seconds Away: Harlan Coben: My review

Seconds Away: Harlan Coben


Magicians create illusions when they want people to see things that are not really there. Sometimes events in our lives happen and what we think is reality is not. As you think about an incident that caused tragic results you often remember the details the way you want them to have happened? But, what happens when someone jogs your memory in another direction? What would you do if an odd or strange lady told you that what you believed happened to your father really did not? What if a photograph of a Nazi war criminal held the key to your father’s past and present?


Mickey Bolitar might be 16 years old but he’s smart, astute and understands more than most think. Becoming a junior sleuth along with his two friends, he managed to solve one crime and becomes embroiled in another. After meeting with the strange Bat Lady he calls he sees his friend Ema and shares what happened with her. A photo of someone who looks like the paramedic who tried to save his father at the scene of an accident is really a war criminal that killed this lady’s husband. When she tells him they are one in the same he cannot believe her? How could some 90 have been a paramedic just a short time ago and the same man who tried to save his father? But, there is more as he texts his two other friends and then something happens. Two good friends Spoon and Rachel. Rachel and Mickey have a school project done the following day but something happens and the police for questioning for a shooting take in Mickey. Who shot Rachel? Mickey will do everything in his power to find out. As the police questioned him Myron became more agitated and the accusations against him in the past come out. But, why would someone shoot Rachel and kill her mother? So, Myron, Ema and Spoon decided to do their own form of a covert operation to find out what really happened to Rachel and why. But, when they attempt to get into the hospital they need they need to be resourceful, smart and definitely try to get something over on the nurses. What Spoon does is hilarious and how Myron finds Rachel quite clever. But, the mystery has yet to be solved as the Chief of Police enters her room and the conversation seems quite odd.


As more facts unfold we learn about a link to the Holocaust as one of Myron’s teachers puts it all together for him in an interesting way. What does a survivor of the Holocaust have to do with the Butcher of Lodz? The odd part that connects not only Rachel but also the Bat Lady is butterflies, which are seen in more places than one and linked to the story his history teacher tells him about children being led to safety by butterflies. So, why would the Chief of Police tell Rachel it was okay not to talk to the homicide detective until she speaks to him? What about Myron trying out for the basketball team and learning more about the Chief and the leading all time scorer who happened to be his Uncle Myron?


When Myron decides to explore on his own and visit the Bat Lady’s house what he learns about her will put him in danger, surprise the reader and reveal her true identity that will link back to the war. A tombstone in her garden whose inscription is familiar to Myron. A resistance fighter hiding in plain sight. Staring into a room what and whom he saw would give him more than the chills and calling for help would be his next step. Locked doors, a fire started and all of the photos caught in the flames. Portraits going up in smoke and Myron enveloped in flames. A strange reaction by the Chief of Police, an arrest, a rescue from an unusual source as a famous actress linked to his uncle and once friends with his mom comes to his aid and things are going to heat up even more. With the help of one teacher he just might learn the truth about this Nazi war criminal and bring him to justice. Author Harlan Coben brings to light many issues that kids face today. Bullying, hate crimes, distrust, lack of parental guidance, prejudice and isolation all issues that teens including Myron face. As he talks to Angelica Wyatt who tries to explain adults to him, Myron still feels alone and distrustful of everyone but is two friends Ema and Spoon. Just what is Ema’s story and why is she so secretive about her home life has been touched on but not totally revealed? Just why is Rachel texting Myron and hoping to enlist his help in whatever caused the shooting and who might have been behind it? Why didn’t she tell anyone her mother was visiting?


As the pieces of the puzzle come into place we learn a hidden truth about Ema and just what her roots are and where she lives. Added in we learn more about Rachel and her relationship with her mother and why she feels responsible for her death. Her father’s behavior odd, her mother claiming he caused her breakdown and a stepmother who left town. Implying that her father might have caused her mother’s death, then the truth about Rachel and the Abeona Shelter and the children that had to be saved the links are filling in but there are some spaces in the puzzle or the chain of events that have yet to be revealed. Added in are Myron’s feelings about his own mother in rehab and his lack of trust in adults. Added in the coach decided to take him off the team.


Closure comes when a situation is over and you find or learn all of the answers. But, after hearing the words that Bat Lady said Myron needs to learn more about his father’s death and makes a strange request of his uncle. What is drawing him to her house? What drew his father there too? Why did Rachel’s father associate with hoodlums? What about his friend Tyrell’s father whose an investigator? Why is he warning him to stay out of whatever is going on? What are the pieces that will link all of the events together? Could Rachel’s father have something to do with Tyrell’s father’s investigation into a drug ring in their town? What they find in the house will link it to the shelter and Myron learns where to find another piece of the puzzle.


Then, a trip to the high school turns tragic and the end result puts one of his friends life’s on jeopardy. What really happened to Rachel’s mother and who shot Rachel? When will the deceits and cover-ups end and will the truth come out? What will happen when he pushes to learn the truth about his father’s death? What is the connection to the shelter and who really killed Rachel’s mother and who shot Rachel? An ending that will change things for Mickey and his friends filled with many surprises and unusual twists. One 16-year-old boy has to make a decision that will change the life of a friend forever. Do you keep a lie or do you reveal the truth? Author Harlan Coben brings this and many other issues to light in Seconds Away and outstanding YA novel. What is the truth behind the Abeona Shelter and what really happened to the Butcher of Lodz? Who is the mysterious Bat Lady? Find out when you read this book that both YA’s and Adults will love.

Seconds Away: You never know when your life will change in a flick of a match or just a simple second.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer : Let’s give this book: FIVE GOLDEN SECONDS









Red Rain: R.L.Stine: My review

Title: Red Rain

Author: R.L. Stine

ISBN: 9781451636123

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Hurricanes create their own form of devastation, carnage, death and destruction. Each one defined by name and having its own distinctive personality and persona. As the forecasters predict the locations where they’ll hit, the paths taken no one can foresee the end result of the wrath of a hurricane. In 1935 one such hurricane flattened and destroyed a small island off the coast of South Carolina. But, within that wreckage something lived. Two young boys age 12 died in that hurricane but somehow managed to be reborn. Flashing to the present, as the hurricane is seconds away from making landfall and his distinctive mark on the world, Hurricane Ernesto, will leave an impact not only on this small island but one on the reader too. Lea Sutter is hoping to create an interesting travel blog based on her trip to this small island. But, what she sees, experiences and relates to the reader comes from the creative and imaginative mind of author R.L. Stine. Red Rain: Take Shelter before it’s too late.


As Lea walks the beach after the Hurricane dies down what she sees will haunt her dreams and create nightmares that will haunt her forever. Bodies strewn all over the beach, body parts and then something remarkable or starling that intrigues yet frightens her. Imagine hundreds of dead starfish floating on the sands of the beach and then something evil happens that alerts the reader that the worst has yet to come and the wrath of Ernesto has taken on another form. Warm droplets of rain begin falling on her face and the sky begins to turn dark. The world begins to crumble around her as the sky darkens even more, the droplets change color and the scene turns deadly or blood red. What would happen if the sky shed its own tears for the dead: Red Rain covered Lea: the Blood Bath horrific and the end result remains to be seen. But, there’s more to tell because out of the maze of blood and into the light comes two young boys. Angels or demons you will have to decide that for yourself? As Lea meets and tries to greet them she learns something about these two mysterious children and then makes a rash decision that will impact many lives. Homeless, alone or is there a hidden truth behind their sudden appearance she decides to take them back to Sag Harbor and make them part of her family. Her husband is leery, her two friends on the island warn her to be more careful and do some research to find out about these two children, but the pleas go on deaf ears. As the story continues we meet her two children Ira and Elena who will suffer as others do at the hands of these two boys. Samuel and Daniel slowly enlighten the reader into their real motive for wanting a new mum and dad. Hiding behind their fake personas they take in most people but not all. When Mark, their new Dad begins to questions some of their actions, they take revenge on him in a sadistic manner. Several gruesome murders occur leading back to these boys but the police are stymied, helps and so is the town when the full wrath and power of these children literally take hold on the town and take it captive. Just what they are up against will send more than just a shiver down your spine. School will never be the same for anyone after meeting these two. Bullies will pay the ultimate price and many lives will be lost before all is said and done. As the author takes us inside the minds of these two children we learn that each one possesses a power of his own but one is more dominant than the other. Lea is convinced that they are innocent of all wrongdoing but Mark is not clouded by her feelings and when she finally learns the harsh truth about them will it be too late? Just how far will she go to save the lives of her children and the town? What do they do to take over the minds of the children and create a town of puppets doing as they say? Cape Le Chat Noir is where it all begins and Sag Harbor is where the end will come. As the author describes in graphic detail the murders, the fires, the carnage created you fear the worst for the town, the children and wonder how one woman could be so naïve and fooled. Red Rain will leave you wondering just how far someone will go to bring normalcy back into her life. Red Rain will leave you with many unanswered questions when you read the ending that will make you wonder if the author is not done with this town. Red Rain: Gets FIVE RED UMBRELLAS: Protective Yourself: Before it starts to rain.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer