10/16/2012 06:40 pm ET Updated Dec 16, 2012

Seconds Away Is a Young Adult Novel All Ages Will Enjoy

Seconds Away is the second book in the Mickey Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. The first book in the series was Shelter which was released in 2011. Mickey Bolitar is the nephew of Myron Bolitar, a man who has figured prominently in some of Coben's most intriguing novels. The "Mickey Bolitar" series is aimed at young adults and though I am way beyond that targeted age I thoroughly enjoyed this new story.

Mickey Bolitar is a sophomore in high school and has high hopes of making the basketball team. His Uncle Myron attended the same high school and was a local sports legend in basketball. Mickey is living with his Uncle Myron because his father is dead and his mother is in rehab. They have a spotty relationship that comes and goes.

Ema and Spoon are Mickey's two best friends from school. Mickey has learned that his father might possibly not be dead and his two friends are trying to help him get to the truth. Meanwhile Mickey learns that Rachel, a beautiful girl who has also befriended him, has been shot. Now Mickey and his friends have another mystery to investigate. They want to know who shot Rachel and why.

All of this is told from the perspective of a confused high school student. As a YA novel it is told without graphic violence or sex and a noticeable lack of profanity. In this age of Fifty Shades of Grey, it is a relief to read a story that is purely plot driven without all the modern adult story impediments in its way.

Coben is a superbly talented writer and gets into the mind and values of Mickey Bolitar in the most believable way. Every aspect of the story is seen through the prism of his life and his experiences. His relationship with his friends and his "crush" on the beautiful Rachel are all believably described. There is an innocence there but also a burgeoning maturity.

Seconds Away is an enjoyable reading experience for all ages. It tells a suspenseful story full of rich characters that will hold you enthralled until the very end. The book is a stand alone but it helps immensely if you have read the first novel in the series. Then you will have a greater understanding of how the relationships in the second book came to be.

Coben is to be commended for creating a YA novel that appeals to readers of all ages but fits into the YA criteria. I for one am looking forward to the next Mickey Bolitar adventure.

Seconds Away is published by Putnam. It contains 338 pages and sells for $18.99.

Jackie K Cooper