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15 SECONDS by Andrew Gross Kirkus Star

15 SECONDS

By Andrew Gross

Pub Date: July 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-165597-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

A taut thriller from Gross (Eyes Wide Open, 2011, etc.) about misplaced vengeance.

A stoned young woman accidentally kills a mother and child with her car and goes to prison. Elsewhere, plastic surgeon Henry Steadman is stopped for a traffic violation on his way to a medical conference. The traffic cop hassles him far out of proportion to the offense, and while they argue, a stranger drives up and shoots the cop. Soon, a friend of Steadman is also dead, and Steadman is the only suspect in both killings. Police may shoot him on sight if he tries to turn himself in, so he decides to track down the shooter’s car instead. Meanwhile, he becomes increasingly aware that someone has set him up. He is a nonviolent man who doesn’t even own a gun, and he has no known enemies. While he desperately tries to find an ally to help him prove his innocence, his unknown enemy ups the ante. Steadman is a flawed but resourceful hero who has more than his own life at stake, while his antagonist operates on a perverted logic that makes him both fearsome and believable. This story begins in high gear and never downshifts as it often swerves to show the world through the villain’s eyes. To him, merely killing Steadman won’t be enough. The doctor must suffer as much as possible first. It all works up to a frightening finale that Gross handles with masterful skill. 

Fans of the genre will love this one. It’s a fast, fun read with crisp dialogue and a tight plot. If you’re a bedtime reader, you might as well plan on staying up late, because you’ll be itching to learn how it ends.