Seconds Away (Mickey Bolitar Series #2)

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When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it ...

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Seconds Away (Book Two): A Mickey Bolitar Novel

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When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.
Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But with danger just seconds away, how can he protect them when he’s not even sure who—or what—he’s protecting them from?

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Editorial Reviews


"Mickey’s fast-paced, first-person narration won’t disappoint his growing fan base."
Kirkus Reviews
High school sleuth Mickey Bolitar continues to find trouble...or maybe it finds him (Shelter, 2011). In a spooky house, Mickey squares off with a gnarled crone he knows only as the Bat Lady. She freaks him out by telling him that his father is not dead, and Mickey responds with a revelation of his own: that the paramedic who whisked his father away on the day of his death is a notorious Nazi war criminal. As implausible as this sounds, the Bat Lady's violent reaction seems a validation of his claim. This troubling issue is shoved onto a back burner with the news that Mickey's friend Rachel was shot by an intruder, who also killed her mother. The mutual attraction of Mickey and Rachel is a thorn in the side of her boyfriend, basketball star Troy Taylor, who also happens to be threatened by Mickey's mad court skills. Since Troy's dad is the police chief, Mickey finds himself treated like a suspect. He and outcast pals Ema and Spoon try to unravel both mysteries, too busy to even note the arrival of movie star Angelica Wyatt, who's managed by Mickey's Uncle Myron, with whom he lives (and around whom Coben has spun a successful series for adults). Coben deftly weaves these multiple plot threads into a compelling whole. An involving thriller that moves like lightning. (Mystery. 11-16)
VOYA - Rebecca Denham
Mickey Bolitar’s life has become rather complicated. After assisting in the rescue of a schoolmate, Mickey is shown a picture of the Butcher of Lodz, a Nazi SS officer responsible for the massacre of thousands during World War II--only the man in the picture looks shockingly like the paramedic who pronounced Mickey’s father dead after the car crash that changed everything. This information shatters the new reality Mickey has built for himself and leads him on a dangerous path where nothing is what it seems and everyone is a suspect. Coben’s newest young adult novel is all over the place in terms of plot, and moves at such a pace that readers need to sprint to keep up. There are so many mysteries to follow that the reader really must pay attention or risk substantial confusion. The initial mystery of the Butcher of Lodz is overshadowed by the investigation into who shot Rachel and Mickey’s preoccupation with trying out for the basketball team. The character development is solid, however, and readers will enjoy Mickey’s internal dialogue as well as his relationships with Ema and Spoon. Generally, it is a decent read, but it lacks the depth of some other young adult thrillers. Recommend this for readers who enjoy Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series or Charlie Higson’s Young James Bond novels. Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Danielle Williams
Mickey Bolitar's life has spiraled into a world of mystery and impossibilities. After his father's death and his mother's breakdown, Mickey is trying to figure out how to live with his uncle. But the mysteries and uncertainties that surrounded his parent's lives are following Mickey and putting everyone around him in danger. When Mickey's friend, Rachel, gets shot and he becomes a suspect, Mickey, along with his close friends Ema and Spoon, decide to discover who tried to kill their friend, and what Mickey's parents have to do with the danger that is following them. Real life issues and supernatural intrigue entwine throughout the story, creating unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader guessing what will happen next. The novel follows close on the heels of Shelter, Coben's first Mickey Bolitar novel. The text is engaging and interesting, but it is highly recommended that Shelter be read first. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—High school sophomore Mickey Bolitar is no stranger to mystery and danger and has a rap sheet to prove it. Flashing back to Shelter (Putnam, 2011), in which his father dies in a car crash and his mother is sent to a mental hospital, Mickey is now shown a photo of a Nazi named the Butcher of Lodz, who is a dead ringer for the creepy paramedic who whisked his father's body away the day of the accident. The owner of the photo is an Auschwitz survivor and eccentric neighbor known as the "Bat Lady," so when her house burns down and she turns up missing, Mickey is sure it all has something to do with his father. In a parallel plot, Mickey's classmate Rachel is wounded and her mother shot and killed at their home, by unknown assailants. Mickey's busy sports-agent guardian, Uncle Myron, is more focused on Mickey's chances of making the school basketball team than on answering questions about his brother's death, leaving the teen and friends Ema and Spoon the opportunity to investigate Rachel's shooting. Pulled in many directions by a plethora of red herrings, including the random appearance of Abeona butterfly symbols, a beautiful movie star neighbor, and a shady character named Shaved Head, it is clear that many contrivances will be needed to tie everything together. Action-loving readers, however, will enjoy the page-turning intrigue offered up by this otherwise typical teen hero spawned from the author's "Myron Bolitar" series for adults.Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142426357
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/17/2013
  • Series: A Mickey Bolitar Novel Series , #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 64,433
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.06 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben ( is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous adult novels, and winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award, and Anthony Award--the first author to receive all three. His books are published in forty-one languages--with over 50 million copies in print worldwide--and have been #1 bestsellers in over a dozen countries. He lives in New Jersey.


Harlan Coben may be the only mystery writer to have inspired the dubious endorsement, "Raymond Chandler meets Bridget Jones" (as the Chicago Tribune wrote about Darkest Fear). But it's not hard to see what the critic means: Coben knows how to create a good chase, but he is also adept at generating laughs along the way. His books often start with a few pieces of bad news and end with the closet door flung open to reveal a few skeletons.

Debuting in 1995, the series that cemented Coben's reputation revolves around Myron Bolitar, a wisecracking sports agent who always finds himself getting into trouble, via his clients or his own past. What's endearing about these books is Coben's willingness to have fun as he spins a story. He might poke fun the yuppie wardrobe of Bolitar's partner, Win, or his gal Friday (and sometime female wrestler), Big Cyndi's, tendency to wear "more makeup than the cast of Cats." There's a slight boys' club air to the series, but it's more frat house than locker room -- or more appropriately, rec room, since Bolitar finds himself still living at his parents' in his early 30s.

Sports-averse readers should not avoid the Bolitar books; in the end, sports play only a peripheral role in the story, which is primarily about the mystery. Given this, it's not surprising that Coben has called William Goldman's Marathon Man one of his favorite thrillers and has cited Philip Roth and Alfred Hitchcock as influences.

And yes, there's certainly life beyond Bolitar! Coben has crafted a number of superb stand-alone thrillers filled with tortuous twists and turns and peopled with characters you can't help but root for. In a 2001 interview, the author stated, "I love a book that sneaks up behind you at the end and slaps you in the back of the head." Ultimately, that describes everything in Harlan Coben's oeuvre.

Good To Know

Coben has four children with wife Anne, his sweetheart since age 20.

Coben advises aspiring writers thusly: "Write. Don't take classes. Don't join workshops. Don't listen to me," he told the Charlotte Austin Review. "Just write. Oh, and cut. Cut a lot. You're probably not editing yourself enough. Then rewrite. Then rewrite again. Repeat. Like with shampooing."

Coben says his mother was his best literary inspiration in an interview with the Page One literary newsletter. "We'd go to the old Barnes & Noble in Manhattan (back then, if you can believe this, I think there was only one) and spend the entire day. We didn't have much money back then and we almost never bought toys -- but we were always allowed to get whatever books we wanted."

In our interview, Coben shared more fun facts:

"I once worked as a tour guide in the Costa del Sol of Spain."

"I pretty much only wear Lilly Pulitzer ties because my best friend owns the company."

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    1. Hometown:
      Ridgewood, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 4, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newark, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A. in political science, Amherst College, 1984
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

“Have you met Rachel Caldwell’s father?”
That question threw me. “No.”
“How about her mother?”
“Any family member?”
"No. Please. What’s going on? Is Rachel okay?”
“Tell us about your phone conversation with Rachel Caldwell.”
“I already did.”
“From the beginning. Word for word.”
“I don’t understand. Why do you need to know word for word?”
“Because,” Homicide Investigator Dunleavy said, “right after you finished talking to her, someone shot Rachel Caldwell in the head.”
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 30, 2014

    This author never disappoints!!  The follow up book to Shelter w

    This author never disappoints!!  The follow up book to Shelter will leave you hungering for more, more,  more.  He keeps you on edge
    the entire book and I feel this series should be read by all Mr. Cobens fans, I love the new character Mickey and his sidekicks are so 
    interesting and riveting.   You will not want to put it down and by the end you're in a MUST KNOW what happens state of mind.  This author
    proves that he is very hip with todays youth and sucks you in immediately.  All ages will be drawn into this series.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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