Review ~ 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (July 10, 2012)
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
ISBN-10: 006165597X
Buy: Ama, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository, Audible.com

15_Seconds

15 seconds can tear your life apart . . .

Henry Steadman didn't know what was about to hit him when he pulled up to a red light. A successful Florida plastic surgeon, he is in town to deliver a keynote address at a conference when suddenly his life becomes an unrelenting chase to stay alive.

Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but just as Henry is released and about to move on, a blue sedan pulls up and the officer is suddenly killed. As the car speeds away, there is only one suspect left behind–Henry. In that moment, his idyllic life becomes a free fall into hell as he becomes the target of a police manhunt, as well as being pursued by a cunning, unnamed perpetrator bent on some kind of vengeance.

When Henry turns to a close friend for help, and he, too, ends up dead, Henry realizes he's being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name, without bringing on dire and deadly consequences.

With breakneck pacing and nonstop action, 15 Seconds shows what can happen when even the best life is turned upside down in an instant. It is also the story of an innocent man, framed for murder, who has to save the person he loves the most, all while being drawn closer and closer to an inevitable face-to-face standoff with a man determined to destroy his life.

Two men, each fighting to save someone they love. Will they both find the justice they’re desperately looking for?

Amanda isn’t loving life all that much. Her home life sucks and she spends most of her time high on Oxy and Xanax. One day, on her way to a cosmetology class, and high as a kite, Amanda goes off the road, hits a tree and then crashes into a young woman holding her 8-week-old-son, killing them both. Amanda doesn’t get what all the fuss is about. Doesn’t anyone realize she’s hurt too?  She is later sentenced to 20 years for her crimes, still not understanding why this is happening to HER!
 
Dr. Henry Steadman, an accomplished plastic surgeon out of Miami, is divorced from Liz, has a college-aged daughter, Hallie, who he adores, and does amazing work with Doctors Without Borders. He’s just landed in Jacksonville to give a speech for Doctors Without Borders, to maybe hook-up with a female friend, and to play some golf with an old buddy. But in the span of about 15 seconds, his life will change forever. During what appears to be a routine traffic stop, Henry is pulled from his car, grilled about where he has been, where he going, then cuffed and stuffed into the back of a police car. Seriously? What the hell is going on here?  When other officers arrive on the scene, the hot-heated officer Martinez calms down and releases Henry with his apologies. They’re looking for someone else, Martinez tells him. As Martinez sits in his car writing Henry a warning for a minor traffic infraction, shots ring out and Martinez is shot dead. As a car speeds off, Henry rushes to the aid of the fallen policeman, only to find it’s late to help him. But then he realizes that to onlookers in the area, he might appear to be the one responsible for the shooting, and after the intense altercation he just had with Martinez, Henry decides to take off after the car he saw fleeing the scene. This split-second decision sets off a chain of events that will alter Henry’s life forever, shaking him to his core. Now deemed a cop-killer, Henry is running not only for his life, but for the life of someone he holds very dear.  Going to the police to clear his name is not an option, and in fact in could prove deadly.
 
Vance Hofer isn’t the most stable of people. Former cop, factory worker, and a widower, the only thing he has left is his daughter Amanda. That is of course, until the evil do-gooders who provided her with the Oxy and Xanax ruined her life. If it wasn’t for the drug dealers, she never would have become a drug addict. Therefore, it’s not possible that Amanda has any culpability in the accident that took the lives of two innocent people. He then sets out on a seek-and-destroy mission, to take out anyone he feels is responsible for the situation Amanda is now in. He starts with her boyfriend and works up the drug food chain. Only stopping when he reaches the one person he holds principally responsible. And he intends to bring upon him the same pain that he has experienced himself.
 
Carrie Holmes is just returning to her job as Community Outreach Director for the Jacksonville Police Department after dealing with some personal issues. Her young son, Raef, is recovering from sudden brain surgery, and her husband, Rick, has passed away. She’s glad to be back at work, although she’s feeling there is more in the field of law enforcement that she’d like to experience. While helping out on the tip lines, in the search for presumed cop-killer Henry Steadman, Carrie takes a call from the man himself. He insists that he’s innocent, says that he can prove it, and something in his tone of voice has Carrie believing him.  She then sets off, on her own, to see what she can find, to see if he’s really telling the truth and if she can help prove his innocence.
 
From Miami, to Jacksonsonville, to Georgia, the race is on. 15 Seconds is the story of one man’s unrelenting desire to mete out justice to those he feels destroyed his daughter, without being able to see the real root of her problems and being unable to lay the blame at the feet of those truly responsible.  It’s the story of another man’s desire to prove his innocence, to find those that are framing him, and to find out why they are doing so, and to do it all in time to stop a mad man from destroying his entire world. Once you start 15 Seconds, there is no way you’ll be able to put it down. You are sucked in from the very first page. The writing is intense, the story fast-paced, and the action is non-stop. 15 Seconds is a spine-chilling, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that will keep you reading well into the night. 
 
Instead of a bio (from Andrew's website)
 

 OKAY, SO I WASN'T ALWAYS A THRILLER WRITER

Who was? I actually did major in English at Middlebury, but after an MBA from Columbia, and a stint at the Leslie Fay Companies, a women's clothing firm started by my grandfather, I went into the sports apparel field. I ended up president of HEAD Ski and Tennis (to brag: we grew to #1 in America in both businesses while I was there) and later, le coq sportif, a French sports fashion line. It was one-too-many turnaround situations or more precisely–one that didn't turn around, that hastened my writing career.

 

SO HOW'D YOU MEET JAMES PATTERSON?

Truth is, he called. Out of nowhere. An editor had given him the manuscript of a novel I was hoping to publish, HYDRA. At that point, I would have been elated if my gate guard (we live in a gated community) dialed in with a little praise. Jim said he had read the book and asked if we could meet for breakfast. He said he had several projects he wanted to write and not enough time to do them. I had the incredible foresight to say yes.

SO WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WORK WITH PATTERSON?

It was like a combination MFA and MBA rolled into one. He knows what kind of stories he wants to tell, has a keen sense of what will appeal to his readers, especially women, what's vital in a scene for it to succeed, knows exactly when the scene needs more–or generally, less! And he's an even better editor than he is a writer. Hopefully, I've learned a few things from him along the way.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

I figured we'd do one book. It led to six in seven years. The Women's Murder Club Series became one of the leading crime series of all time! My personal favorite was The Jester set in the thirteenth century in France. If you missed it, I really recommend you go back and take a read. Lifeguard had a great, likeable hero with the odds all stacked against him. Judge & Jury, our last together, is coming out July 31, 2006.

HOW DOES A WRITING PARTNERSHIP LIKE THAT WORK?

We alternate every word.

(Jim's line, actually.) To be honest, we always began with a concept and an outline that came from him, which we fleshed out into a detailed chapter- by-chapter outline. (Some chapters longer than in the actual book!) No writer's block here, the roadmap was always there. Every day, I knew exactly where I was going. That call from Jim changed my writing life!

WHAT'S THE SINGLE, MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN A CAREER CHANGE LIKE THIS?

A supportive wife!

And I have one, in Lynn. Never once did she tell me I was out of my mind. (At least, not to my face!)

We live in Westchester County, New York. We have three terrific kids. Kristen's out of college, in the apparel biz, a natural. Matt's in college in D.C. And Nick, a squash player, goes to school in Connecticut. We share our house with a couple of Westies too.

By the way, having a Mom who believes in you all the way is good too!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS?

If I had to start with a couple of writerly things… Dog Soldiers, by Robert Stone, All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren, (Read it as a search for one's father, not as politics.) Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy & Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.

WHAT ABOUT IN YOUR OWN GENRE?

Sorry, Jim anything by Alan Furst or Robert Wilson. They both deserve much wider acclaim. When it comes to classic thrillers, The Wind-Chill Factor by Thomas Gifford and Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry are my favorites.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE?

"Some people think they can and some think they can't and they're probably both right!" Henry Ford

"You can do anything you want in life, anything, if you want to badly enough."
Fred P. Pomerantz. My grandfather.

WHAT IS THE BEST SIDE BENEFIT FROM SEEING YOUR NAME AT THE TOP OF THE BESTSELLER LIST?

A hell of a lot easier commute.

Visit Andrew's website
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Email Andrew ~ andrew AT andrewgrossbooks DOT com

Ty Hauck series

Novels

written with James Patterson

 

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Comments

  1. Carol Wong says:

    Wow! This is hair raising to know that the start of the book is like what happened to the author. This will be a must read for me!!!

  2. I have this on my TBR list. May need to do another thriller reading week.

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