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Friday, August 3, 2012

BLOG TOUR: 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross

Hi there!
Welcome back to the Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  Usually we take it easy on Friday with a gentle, light, or fluffy post to carry you off into the weekend.  This week?  Not so much.  (What?  I TOLD you it was blog tour week peoples…you shouldn’t be THAT surprised….)
Today, we are playing host to our final blog tour guest of the week courtesy of TLC Book Tours.  (Hi Trish! ~waves~)  First of all, if you are a reader or a blogger, you should definitely check out their site not only for the latest titles circling the blogosphere but to sign up to host one yourself!  There’s always something cooking over there (though I don’t have the chance to partake as often as I would like at times) so make a new connection and join the fun.  Now back on to today’s tour…

If you’ve been following the site this week (hopefully you have…maybe…kinda….*makes BIG puppy dog eyes*), you know that my recent reading hit a little biddy smidge of a slump.  Yeah….it was bound to happen; I mean the chances of loving EVERY book that crosses your path, even those you select yourself, are slim.  This just happened to be my week.  So what does that say about today’s featured title?  Well, I’ll let you be the judge.  Put the kiddos to bed and glue your eyes to the screen because SO MUCH can happen in only….


Ha!  How’d you like THAT segway?  Pretty crafty, right?  I try; I try.  *smirk*  NO really, think about it though.  Fifteen seconds.  It’s short enough to pass by in the blink of an eye but not so short as to be unable to change your life forever.  Thus is the concept of this book.

Henry Steadman is an upstanding citizen.  A successful plastic surgeon and recently single father, he has the world at his feet; he even gives a month of his time each year to one of those Doctors Without Borders type groups.  To say that things were going swimmingly in his life would be an understatement…at least until a fated trip to upstate Florida where up would become down and instead of a bed of rose petals, he’d be rolling in the thorns.  (Sorry for the rose analogy…it sprung to mind with the red cover.) A “routine” traffic stop turns deadly and that’s just the beginning.  Everywhere he turns, death is one step ahead of him.  But who or what is behind these grizzly acts and just what does it have to do with him?  That’s anybody’s guess but he better figure it out soon or his reputation won’t be the only thing he loses…

Hmm.  *think think think*  Reading that, you can probably see where my interest was hooked when originally considering this book; if not, allow me to enlighten you.  I use to read A LOT of Crime Fiction novels.  Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, John Sanford….they were my ideal cups of tea, the books I cut my teeth on so to speak around 15 or 16 years old.  (Funny how I read more YA now….^_^)  Now, I haven’t indulged in their works as much in recent times but that’s not to say I’ve fallen out of bookish love with them; merely bid them ado for the time being.  I had seen this author’s works before in our local bookstore and heard his name in passing from customers seeking this or that title, but I had never actually read one and so this blog tour presented the perfect opportunity to indulge in the less-than-glittery, grimy crimey world once again, just from another vantage point.  The results?  Umm…I liken them to a Sunday drive in October through the (*cough* LIQUID *cough*) “Sunshine State”…and for anyone who lives here or has traveled here, you know that’s “love bug” season.  Picture black clouds of swirling buggy masses that are just trying to go about their business but bother you nonetheless.  Yeah…it was interesting.

Let’s see.  For me, there was both the good and the not-so-good; unfortunately my overall reading experience rated higher with the later.  In the category of “the good” would certainly be Mr. Steadman’s character, as in his actual character; what makes him who he is.  I dig the fact that although he could simply be riding the waves of money supplied by “elective” surgery, he chooses to give back to the community, to the world at large.  His dedication to his daughter though grown up for the most part (she’s in college) is touching and the lengths to which he goes to make certain she’s safe is heart warming….though dangerous (hey, you haven’t even met the “bad guy” yet…dangerous is an understatement of the year there).  The choices he makes on the fly when things turn sour are definitely questionable (okay, boneheaded) but he is under a lot of pressure and the unexpected change in direction would be disconcerting to say the least. 

Another mark in “the good” column goes to Vance Hofer.  Who is he?  No one…well of consequence seemingly and yet he’s on a mission to “save his family” the best way he knows how.  … … … That part there…”the best way he knows how”….should scare you.  *-*  Trust me.  He’s not a man I’d want to meet in a crowded restaurant let alone a secluded ANYWHERE.  You’d be safer playing with a lit match in a stock room for gasoline.  Now, you may be wondering why his family needs saving…it’s not from him, though it ought to be.  (Sorry, “good intentions” only take you so far in my book.)  No, the one needing a white knight is his daughter who landed herself in prison for being the one behind the wheel in a gruesome accident.  In her father’s mind, if she wasn’t high out of her mind at the time, it wouldn’t have happened (true) and though responsibility for the events needs to be taken by her, it also falls on those that supplied her with the drugs to begin with…and so begins his decent into darkness (and should cue the chase music for those in his path).  *dun dun dunnnnn*  Now on to the not-so-good…

For me, the writing or at least the way the story unfolded was a miss.  Some scenes were overly drawn out or overtly dramatized while others moved at a steady pace…one would think this would balance things out, but sadly, it didn’t.  I’m one to suspend belief while reading (creative licensing and all that) but when you are working through something that takes place in the here and now and unthinkable circumstances occur, you sort of have to be able to believe the events as they are being told COULD in fact happen.  Without there being an elaborate set up (of which there kind of is) with some huge statement to be made (which there really isn’t), from start to finish the craziness Mr. Steadman endures is outside my ability to believe.  Going from a traffic stop to a case of mistaken identity to a shooting to fleeing the scene to car chases to fleeing again to more shootings and on and on and on….it left my head spinning and my mind in a constant state of really, what the heckers is going on. 

Side note….after finishing the book, I took a moment to read through the author notes and discovered that something similar to this (at least the wrongfully accused mistaken identity part) had actually happened to the author….go figure.  It certainly put a new light on that portion of the story and yet, still didn’t change my opinion overall.

Secondary mark in the not-so-good column comes from the story delivery as well but this time….its the timing.  A “thrill ride” as it’s been toted should keep me hooked page to page to page, never letting the adrenaline drain away for very long.  In this story, we start off with a BANG and then sorta pitter patter along….taking baby steps for the most part with a few giant leaps in between.  I will say the later part of the book speeds things back up to a great pace (and the ending is definitely a high point!) but getting there; you’re going to need patience.

All in all, though it was not what I expected it wasn’t a completely regrettable journey.  Since my reading adventure, I’ve heard mixed reviews on the title; bound to happen when no two experiences are exactly the same.  Regardless of my affinity for the book though, there’s one thing to remember…people ARE reading it, which certainly proves that it’s a big BIG reading world after all.  What may not work for me, may work perfectly for you….that’s the beauty of books and of the blogging world.  The reasons I list for likes or dislikes may be the exact thing that catches your reading interest.  So, I draw this blog tour visit to a close with a recommendation for you to check this one out if it suits your fancy…just keep it away from the kiddos; violence and bedtime don’t often make a pretty picture.

Review copy courtesy of Trish at TLC Book Tours.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as the other stops along the tour, feel free to check out the official tour page.  To discover more about the man behind the novel, author Andrew Gross can be found online, on Facebook and on Twitter.  Considering this for your next Reading Group pick?  Check out the guide from HarperCollins just for you filled with points to ponder and discuss.  This book was released last month and should be available now on a bookstore shelf near.

Until next time…happy reading!


Felicity Grace Terry said...

This certainly seems like a bit of a hit and miss read for you. Not too sure its my kind of read but then again never say never.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I can't imagine being in the doctor's shoes - I don't think I'd run away, but I'd certainly be pretty freaked out!

Thanks for being on the tour.

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