Her recollection of what she'd been doing only twenty minutes before."
Dr. Henry Steadman is embarking on a day he believes will be wonderfully memorable: playing golf at an elite course with a college buddy during the day, speaking at a Doctors Without Borders conference in the evening. Steadman's day winds up memorable, but for all the wrong reasons - starting with his being pulled over by a cop. What starts out as a typical traffic stop escalates, and before Steadman can be on his way, an unknown driver pulls up to the police officer's car, shoots the officer and drives off. With no one around, it appears Steadman has killed the cop. He panics and takes off after the shooter. When that's unsuccessful, he returns to the scene of the crime to explain, only to be shot at by police officers who have already determined his guilt. Steadman resolves to prove his innocence. What he doesn't realize is that his memorable day has only just begun.
When starting a thriller by Andrew Gross, readers have to immediately feel sorry for the protagonist. Gross is about to put the poor soul through more hell in 300 pages than the average person would experience in a dozen lifetimes. This, of course, works to keep the momentum of the plot moving swiftly. The shorter, two-to-five-page chapters also work to keep the book's movement quick.
In 15 Seconds, Gross has parallel plots running through the first half of the book; plots that are seemingly unrelated, so suspense is building as the perspective bounces back and forth, and the reader attempts to discern just how the plots will intersect.
15 Seconds will require skeptical readers to loosen up their grips on reality and the dialogue has a tendency to be overly dramatic and repetitive during high action scenes, but fans of plot-focused thrillers will likely find this a satisfying summer read.
My review appears as part of the TLC blog tour for 15 Seconds. To see additional reviews of 15 Seconds, visit the TLC website.
15 Seconds is available from William Morrow in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0061655975) and on unabridged audio (ISBN: 9780062241481) from Harper Audio, narrated by Christian Hoff. Reading groups interested in 15 Seconds can find a guide here. You can follow Andrew on Facebook or Twitter and learn more at his website.