No Second Chance

No Second Chance Harlan Coben


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No Second Chance





Descrição do produto
A brilliant thriller from 'one of the most sheerly entertaining and accomplished writers in the genre' [DAILY EXPRESS].

Marc Seidman's idyllic world is brutally ripped apart when he is gunned down in his home. Twelve days later he wakes up in hospital to learn that his wife is dead and his baby daughter Tara is missing. A ransom demand is made and agreed to. But something goes terribly wrong. The kidnappers escape, and Marc remembers the ransom note's ominous warning: there will be no second chance.

An agonising eighteen months pass with no word. And then, as Marc has just about given up all hope of seeing his daughter again, a package arrives with a note attached: want a second chance?

The note is chilling, but Marc sees only one thing: the chance to save his daughter. And, haunted by deception and deadly secrets - about his wife, about an old love, and about his own past - he vows to bring Tara home ... at any cost.

Sobre o Autor
Harlan Coben is an international No.1 bestselling thriller author. He is the winner of the EDGAR, SHAMUS and ANTHONY AWARDs - the first to receive all three. His books are published in 40 languages, with over 47 million copies in print worldwide.

Both his standalone thrillers and series featuring the indomitable Myron Bolitar have been No.1 bestsellers in over a dozen countries, gracing the lists of the SUNDAY TIMES and the NEW YORK TIMES. His novel TELL NO ONE was turned into the smash hit French film of the same name, and received the highly coveted LUMIERE (French Golden Globe) for best picture as well as four CESARS (French Oscar). Harlan lives in New Jersey with his family.

Find out more at www.harlancoben.com or follow him on Twitter @HarlanCoben

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Chapter 2

"We're doing all we can," Regan said in a voice that sounded too rehearsed, as if he'd been standing over my bed while I was unconscious, working on his delivery. "As I told you, we were not sure we had a missing child at first. We lost valuable time there, but we've recovered now. Tara's photo has been sent out to every police station, airport, tollbooth plaza, bus and train station-anything like that within a hundred-mile radius. We've run background profiles on similar abduction cases, see if we can find a pattern or a suspect."

"Twelve days," I repeated.

"We have a trace on your various phones-home, business, cell-"

"Why?"

"In case someone calls in a ransom demand," he said.

"Have there been any calls?"

"Not yet, no." My head dropped back to the pillow. Twelve days. I'd been lying in this bed for twelve days while my baby girl was ... I pushed the thought away.

Regan scratched at his beard. "Do you remember what Tara was wearing that morning?"

I did. I had developed something of a morning routine-wake up early, tiptoe toward Tara's crib, stare down. A baby is not all joy. I know that. I know that there are moments of mind-numbing boredom. I know that there are nights when her screams work on my nerve endings like a cheese grater. I don't want to glorify life with an infant. But I liked my new morning routine. Looking down at Tara's tiny form fortified me somehow. More than that, this act was, I guess, a form of rapture. Some people find rapture in a house of worship. Me-and yeah, I know how corny this sounds-I found rapture in that crib.

"A pink one-piece with black penguins," I said. "Monica got it at Baby Gap."

He jotted it down. "And Monica?"

"What about her?"

His face was back in the pad. "What was she wearing?"

"Jeans," I said, remembering the way they slid over Monica's hips, "and a red blouse."

Regan jotted some more.

I said, "Are there-I mean, do you have any leads?"

"We're still investigating all avenues."

"That's not what I asked."

Regan just looked at me. There was too much weight in that stare.

My daughter. Out there. Alone. For twelve days. I thought of her eyes, the warm light only a parent sees, and I said something stupid. "She's alive." Regan tilted his head like a puppy hearing a new sound.

"Don't give up," I said.

"We won't." He continued with the curious look.

"It's just that ... are you a parent, Detective Regan?"

"Two girls," he said.

"It's stupid, but I'd know." The same way I knew the world would never be the same when Tara was born. "I'd know," I said again.

He did not reply. I realized that what I was saying-especially coming from a man who scoffs at notions of ESP or the supernatural-was ridiculous. I knew that this "sense" merely came from want. You want to believe so badly that your brain rearranges what it sees. But I clung to it anyway. Right or wrong, it felt like a lifeline.

"We'll need some more information from you," Regan said. "About you, your wife, friends, finances-"

"Later." It was Dr. Heller again. She moved forward as if to block me from his gaze. Her voice was firm. "He needs to rest."

"No, now," I said to her, upping the firm-o-meter a notch past hers. "We need to find my daughter."


Monica had been buried at the Portman family plot on her father's estate. I missed her funeral, of course. I don't know how I felt about that, but then again, my feelings for my wife, in those stark moments when I was honest with myself, have always been muddled.

Monica had that beauty of privilege, what with the too-fine cheekbones, straight silk-black hair, and that country-club lockjaw that both annoyed and aroused. Our marriage was an old-fashioned one-shotgun. Okay, that's an exaggeration. Monica was pregnant. I was fence-sitting. The upcoming arrival tilted me into the matrimonial pasture.

I heard the funeral details from Carson Portman, Monica's uncle and the only member of her family who kept in touch with us. Monica had loved him dearly. Carson sat at my hospital bedside with his hands folded in his lap. He looked very much like your favorite college professor-the thick-lensed spectacles, the nearly shedding tweed coat, and the overgrown shock of Albert Einstein-meets-Don King hair. But his brown eyes glistened as he told me in his sad baritone that Edgar, Monica's father, had made sure that my wife's funeral was a "small, tasteful affair."

Of that, I had no doubt. The small part, at least.

Over the next few days I had my share of visitors at the hospital. My mother-everyone called her Honey-exploded into my room every morning as if fuel propelled. She wore Reebok sneakers of pure white. Her sweatsuit was blue with gold trim, as if she coached the St. Louis Rams. Her hair, though neatly coifed, had the brittle of too many colorings, and there was the whiff of a last cigarette about her. Mom's makeup did little to disguise the anguish of losing her only grandchild. She had amazing energy, staying by my bedside day after day and managing to exude a steady stream of hysteria. This was good. It was as though she was, in part, being hysterical for me, and thus, in a strange way, her eruptions kept me calm.

Despite the room's nearly supernova heat-and my constant protestations-Mom would put an extra blanket over me when I was asleep. I woke up one time-my body drenched in sweat, naturally-to hear my mother telling the black nurse with the formal hat about my previous stay at St. Elizabeth's when I was only seven.

"He had salmonella," Honey stated in a conspiratorial whisper that was only slightly louder than a bullhorn. "You never smelled diarrhea like that. It was just pouring out of him. His stench practically seeped into the wallpaper."

"He ain't all roses now either," the nurse replied.

The two women shared a laugh.

On Day Two of my recovery, Mom was standing over my bed when I awoke.

"Remember this?" she said.

She was holding a stuffed Oscar the Grouch someone had given me during that salmonella stay. The green had faded to a light mint. She looked at the nurse. "This is Marc's Oscar," she explained.

"Mom," I said.

She turned her attention back to me. The mascara was a little too heavy today, crinkling into the wrinkle lines. "Oscar kept you company back then, remember? He helped you get better."

I rolled and then closed my eyes. A memory came to me. I had gotten the salmonella from raw eggs. My father used to add them into milkshakes for the protein. I remember the way pure terror had gripped me when I'd first learned that I would have to stay in the hospital overnight. My father, who had recently ruptured his Achilles tendon playing tennis, was in a cast and constant pain. But he saw my fear and as always, he made the sacrifice. He worked all that day at the plant and spent all night in a chair by my hospital bed. I stayed at

St. Elizabeth's for ten days. My father slept in that chair every night of them. Mom suddenly turned away, and I could see she was remembering the same thing. The nurse quickly excused herself. I put a hand on my mother's back. She didn't move, but I could feel her shudder. She stared down at the faded Oscar in her hands. I slowly took it from her.

"Thank you," I said. Mom wiped her eyes. Dad, I knew, would not come to the hospital this time, and while I am sure my mother had told him what had happened, there was no way to know if he even understood. My father had had his first stroke when he was forty-one years old-one year after staying those nights with me at the hospital. I was eight at the time.

I also have a younger sister, Stacy, who is either a "substance abuser" (for the more politically correct) or "crack-head" (for the more accurate). I sometimes look at old pictures from before my dad's stroke, the ones with the young, confident family of four and the shaggy dog and the well-groomed lawn and the basketball hoop and the coal-overloaded, lighter fluid-saturated barbecue. I look for hints of the future in my sister's front-teeth-missing smile, her shadow self perhaps, a sense of foreboding. But I see none. We still have the house, but it's like a sagging movie prop. Dad is still alive, but when he fell, everything shattered Humpty-Dumpty style. Especially Stacy.

Stacy had not visited or even called, but nothing she does surprises me anymore.

My mother finally turned to face me. I gripped the faded Oscar a little tighter as a thought struck me anew: It was just us again. Dad was pretty much a vegetable. Stacy was hollowed out, gone. I reached out and took Mom's hand, feeling both the warmth and the more recent thickening of her skin. We stayed like that until the door opened. The same nurse leaned into the room.

Mom straightened up and said, "Marc also played with dolls,"

"Action figures," I said, quick on the correction. "They were action figures, not dolls."

My best friend, Lenny, and his wife, Cheryl, also stopped by the hospital every day. Lenny Marcus is a big-time trial lawyer, though he also handles my small-time stuff like the time I fought a speeding ticket and the closing on our house. When he graduated and began working for the county prosecutor, friends and opponents quickly dubbed Lenny "the Bulldog" because of his aggressive courtroom behavior. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that the name was too mild for Lenny, so now they called him "Cujo." I've known Lenny since elementary school.

I'm the godfather of his son Kevin. And Lenny is Tara's godfather.

I haven't slept much. I lie at night and stare at the ceiling and count the beeps and listen to the hospital night sounds and try very much not to let my mind wander to my little daughter and the endless array of possibilities. I am not always successful. The mind, I have learned, is indeed a dark, snake-infested pit.

Detective Regan visited later with a possible lead.

"Tell me about your sister," he began.

"Why?" I said too quickly. Before he could elaborate, I held up my hand to stop him. I understood. My sister was an addict. Where drugs roamed, so too did a ...

Romance policial / Suspense e Mistério

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20/04/2019 20:05:12