Seconds Away by Harlan Coben

I had no idea this was a sequel.  I also had no idea that it was a spinoff of Harlan Coben's adult series.  I picked it up and started reading, and was tossed into the middle of a story I didn't know anything about. Seconds Away picks up immediately after the events of the first book, Shelter.  Mickey Bolitar finds himself in the home of an apparently crazy old lady who informs him that his dead father is not in fact dead, and that the paramedic that supposedly helped them is in fact a Nazi from 80 years ago, unaged.

I didn't immediately understand any of this, but the story is well recapped so I got the gist of the previous book.  Mickey and his outcast friends saved another classmate from a terrible situation, but it left the town and his new school under the impression that he was a troublemaking bad kid. 

Now an even sorrier situation comes up: the most popular, prettiest girl in the school (who incidentally helped Mickey out in the previous installment) is now in hospital, having been shot.  Her mother was murdered in the same incident.  Mickey is determined to get to the bottom of this. 

Also, he's trying to make the school basketball team.  Priorities, you know?

Seconds Away feels forced, almost as if the author was holding back in the name of writing for teens.  That said, it's still pretty page-turney.  You can pick it up without having read the first book or the adult series and still get a good idea of what's going on. This is probably best suited to kids who are reasonably advanced readers but are still maybe a little too young for more mature sex and violence.  Make no mistake, there is murder here, but nothing graphic.

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