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When I was made aware of this book, I was instantly drawn to its cover and blurb. A police procedural with its lead character, a Special Agent from the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team, I was ready for this story to pull on the heartstrings.
Ed transports the reader back to Seattle Washington where you are reunited with Special Agent Max Carter for his next assignment, when wealthy couple Landon and Jennifer Bartlett’s six-week-old son Ky, is kidnapped right under the babysitter’s nose. As with the majority of these cases, they are never cut and dry and it’s not long before Max uncovers more than a few skeletons in the Bartlett’s closet which becomes more than he bargained for.
There are a number of characters in the mix that all have different motives, to throw you off the scent and the story is told from not only Max’s point of view, but from three of the other characters, which I enjoyed. Far from perfect and not without his own personal demons, I really liked Max’s character and he makes for a good strong lead to carry the weight of the series along on his shoulders.
Although you can read Gone In Seconds as a stand-alone, there is a storyline from the first in the series, Tell Me Lies, that is carried over into this second instalment. I haven’t read this first book, but Ed gives the reader enough background information so there is no disadvantage here and it is very easy to pick it up and follow along.
Gone in Seconds is a slow burn to start with, but does gain momentum along the way to a thrilling second half, as secrets and lies are exposed. There are also some thrilling twists and turns along the way to keep you on your toes and ones that you don’t see coming, which does make for an enjoyable and exciting read. It was a pleasure to read and review Gone in Seconds which I recommend.
Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Ed James for allowing me to read an advanced copy of Gone In Seconds which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
The kidnapping of a very young baby from a very wealthy couple goes horribly wrong when things get out of control. Everyone is looking for the kidnapper, who proves quite elusive, and the baby which becomes a pawn in a deadly game worth millions. The FBI is on the case but so is the Russian mob.
Where do I begin? We have murder, kidnapping, lies, betrayals, secrets, even bigger secrets, corruption, cat and mouse chases, money laundering, the Russian mob - this book has it all. And that was kind of the problem for me. I love a convoluted plot, a large cast of characters and a few twists as much as the next person but it was all a bit much and, well, messy. Don’t get me wrong, I turned the pages quickly enough and was keen to see how things ended. But towards the end it felt like twists were being thrown in willy-nilly for the sake of it without really adding much to the story. I thought it was a good story that could have been better with a bit more finesse..
this storyline took me to the edge so many times, it dangled me over only to pull me back right at the very last minute only to do it all over again and again! With a pace that is perfectly executed, this is one of the most taut and emotionally draining books I’ve read this year! Who was I rooting for? Any of them? All of them? None of them? You just need to read it and see what you think!
Gone in Seconds follows on from book one and there are some familiar faces along with some new. But each of them reach out the pages and pull you in as their story unfolds. Emotional in places, there were a few tears and snotters from me as the secrets and lies unfold revealing some hard truths. Money certainly doesn’t buy you happiness and the Bartlett family are testament to that! Talk about dysfunction and rifts, the air was thick with tension whenever they appeared!
It becomes clear, quite early on, who abducted the baby but this doesn’t make Max Carter’s job any easier and the identity will torment you as you try to decide just whose side you are on. The twists and turns are breath-taking and will give you reader whiplash as every time you think you have it all worked out, you are sent hurtling down another rollercoaster! Be warned!
Max Carter is a man not without his own demons, his past is the driving force for all that he does. But his past is never very far away and in Gone in Seconds it’s edging closer and closer all the time. He’s an engaging character, there is a very real strength and vulnerability about his and you get a real sense of his internal conflict as his professional and personal life collide on so many occasions. He’s one of those characters you most definitely would want in your corner when the chips were down that’s for sure! I cannot wait to find out what the latest revelations bring in the next in this series!
Gone in Seconds follows on from the first in the Max Carter series, Tell Me Lies. It can be read as a standalone but to get the full impact and understanding of Max Carter, his life and what drives him then I’d recommend reading in order.
Having interviewed Ed recently about his writing, I already had an understanding that he is a master of his craft and reading this just augments this. From characters to location to pacing and plots he really knows how to combine them all to provide the reader with a heart stopping intensity. And OMG that ending!
Special Agent Max Carter is a man on a mission! Having suffered the trauma of being abducted by his father as a child he now dedicates his working life to finding those children in a similar situation as lead agent with the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment unit at the FBI. Thrown into the kidnapping of a six week old baby boy, the son of one of Seattle's richer inhabitants nothing seems to make sense. The parents aren't telling him everything and there is an animosity between them and the little boy's uncle which threatens to erupt into violence at any moment causing Carter to doubt everything he's hearing.
As sightings of the kidnapper are reported from various locations across the city the team find familiar faces involved in a second of their cases but as they get closer to their quarry another player emerges with devastating consequences.
This is the second in the excellent series featuring SA Max Carter and his team and I would definitely suggest reading them in order. The first book Tell Me Lies is still one of my top two books of the year so far and this is a very worthy follow up. The family dynamic in the Carter household took a slightly less vital role this time; I have a feeling that won't be the case in the third book!
This time the story revolves around the team doing everything they can to find the missing child and being thwarted at every turn. Max's frustration was palpable! There was also the opportunity to see one of the previous book's main antagonists in a slightly different light which I really enjoyed. Although this didn't quite hit the heights of the first book, which to be fair would have been very hard, it is still a great read and I can't wait for the next instalment.
I was able to read an advanced copy of this thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it to anyone who has read the first book and wants to find out what happened next. It is clear Ed James has reached new levels with this series, and as he is already one of my favourites authors that is a very exciting prospect.
What starts out as a snatched baby case gradually evolves into so much more. The pasts of the abductor and the parents and their families are exposed and motives start to explain themselves. It isn't often I will say this, and especially not during lockdown because I have really struggled with reading, but this is truly a page-turner. Many is the evening I ended up reading just one more chapter etc etc etc. The pacing is superb, letting the story and character interactions and conflicts unfold organically. The reader is kept guessing almost throughout the whole book - some suspicions will be true, but so many will be surprises. Excellently written crime fiction which develops well beyond the abduction of a baby.
I have bought and read every Ed James book. The reason I've done that is I really enjoy them and would normally highly recommend them. However, I had to force myself to finish this one. Everything seemed contrived; the plot, the dialogue, the action and even the characters. Now, part of this may be my ignorance, but do the people of Seattle really put the word 'ass' at the end of so many words? The thought that this was dumbed down for an American audience kept crossing my mind. I will keep buying books by Mr James as he is an excellent author and has greatly entertained me over the years. No, I couldn't do better, but this book was a little disappointing.
This book has more twists than a coiled snake. Ed has a real skill for creating characters with back story and depth and that shines through in this book. His ability to reel you in and spit you back out within his characters and plots appears to know no limitations. It's always easier to engross yourself in a book with story lines that have touched your life in someway, and this one hit so many boxes. If you like a rollercoaster of a crime thriller then this is a must!
As per usual I loved Ed James Gone in A second, good story lines definitely keeps you gripped. I just don't want to stop reading, once I've started . I would definitely recommend that you read this book second in the series, can't wait to see what is in store for Max Carter in the next book. Hope it's not to long for book three I wait in anticipation.
I'm an avid fan of Ed James, having read all the Scott Cullen series and more. This is my first of the FBI series featuring Agent Carter and I loved it. The storyline is excellent and the characters are easily visualised. It had me captivated from the beginning. I'm looking forward to reading more of this series.