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on 16 March 2014
Having read the DI Lyle Casebook Volume 1 I had gotten a taster of the characters that featured in this novel. DI Frank Lyle doesn't have the perfect home life, but he is a good detective and highly accomplished. Whilst working on a case his world is turned upside down and amongst other things it damages his career. It's some time before he gets a second chance to revisit the case that changed his life.

Set in the 80s there is no flashy CSI style forensics to wrap up cases quick and easily. It's all down to good old fashioned detective work.

I found the main character, DI Lyle engaging and the supporting characters were good too.

I have just started on Heir to Misfortune and I'll be reading Unholy Alliance soon after that.
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on 21 March 2014
A British police procedural starring DI Frank Lyle and a cast of thousands. No, really, just the usual cast: his partner, other officers in the police station, and some dead people. Dead teenage girls, to be exact.

There is a convention to crime stories, and that is a good thing. And Second Chances chugs along nicely following the tried and true conventions. What distinguishes one mystery from another is the manner of the murder, and the who. So as to manner, this book, the first in a series about DI Lyle, has what seems to be a straight forward rape-and-run murder, but turns convoluted rather quickly. And the reason it turns convoluted is because of how the private life of DI Lyle gets all involved in it. And as to the who? In your dreams. I'm not saying a word. Loose lips sink ships.

Don't want to say more, because when talking about crime detection novels, less is definitely more. Come for the murder, stay for the characters. You will love them! You will be left demanding more. And fortunately for you, there IS more. A couple more books and a Casebook volume, too.
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on 11 July 2013
The story in this crime thriller revolves around Frank Lyle. He is a Detective with a brilliant track record, but things are going wrong for him both professionally and in his personal life. His investigation of the rape and murder of a young women is marred by a tragic turn of events, for which he takes the blame and is demoted. Five years later, the crime is repeated, and Frank Lyle gets an unexpected opportunity to put things right - the `Second Chance' of the title.

But while this is going on, he must also cope with his ex-wife, and the bitterness of their relationship which is damaging their son. Solving these problems - and developing a new love - are also `Second Chances' for him.

These varied currents run through the entire story. Madison has set up a fascinating scenario here, and in Frank Lyle has a character with the strength and depth to deal with it. He is compassionate and sensitive to victims and their families, passionate both in love and in anger, totally dedicated to his job.

Madison also includes some good and authentic background detail, especially in regard to Hindu practices and to Diabetes - both the treatment and the effect of people with this condition.

Unfortunately, this strong plot is let down by some weaknesses in the writing (in my opinion, of course). The dialogue can seem rather formal, stilted, and at times inappropriate to the characters. The general flow of words is broken in places by some awkwardly constructed sentences and too much unnecessary detail - although to be fair there are also some nice, pithy phrases and descriptions in places. The plot, though well conceived overall, seemed to me to be a little thin in some of its detail, with too much reliance on evidence coming to light at just the right time.

For these reasons I can't give it more than three stars. However, none of the problems are insurmountable, and there is a lot of potential here for the future.

NB - I see that there is a revised edition out that might well deal with some of the problems I've mentioned.
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on 22 February 2014
A good story showing potential from the author
Would recommend reading this if you're interested in crime books in general.
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on 30 August 2013
Not to go too much into the story, the plot revolves around the life, family and friends of Detective Inspector Lyle, and his obsession with a crime he couldn't solve in the early 80's.
However, it goes deeper than that.
Personal tragedy and professional setbacks shadow the hero throughout the book and yet he soldiers on, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders whilst also performing his job. I liked that, it kept me in his corner throughout the book, and genuinely pleased when he scored small victories over his antagonists.
I also liked the Indian element in the book, which gave it a unique flavour.
Minus points?
Sometimes the dialogue seemed a bit too formal and stilted, but that's nitpicking and didn't take anything away from the story.
A very good read by this new author, I look forward to the next book.
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on 26 November 2013
Every cop has a case that haunts him. For Frank Lyle, the rape and murder of Rachael Lewis is such a case. It isn't just the brutality and senselessness of the crime. Frank not only doubts that they caught the right killer, but a tragedy that occurs as a direct result of the arrest sends the hardened detective on a downward spiral. Personally and professionally, Frank can't move on until he finds the truth. But will the truth be more than he can handle.

Second Chances is a crime/police procedural novel that takes place in the 1980s. When D.I. Lyle is first introduced, DNA analysis has not yet been introduced as a forensic tool, thus making it more difficult to solve the case. Though I'm not familiar with police procedures in England (and my only knowledge of U.S. procedure comes from television), I found this novel very thorough. Actually, it was quite fascinating. From initial visit to the crime scene to autopsies to inquests, the author was very precise in her descriptions of each step in the investigative process.

Frank Lyle was a well-drawn likable character I could easily sympathize with. Like many fathers, he struggles to juggle his obligations to his son and his obligations to solve a vicious crime. And like many divorced couples, Frank and his ex-wife bicker as she tries to make him feel guilty for not spending enough time with their son. Frank's relationship and interactions with his son are tender and it is clear Frank is an excellent father, even though by his own admission he doesn't spend as much time with him as he'd like. This element to the story adds depth and insight into Frank's character, as does an emerging romance as the book progresses.

Overall, I absolutely enjoyed this book and am anxious to move on to the next in the series. I'm impressed by Juliet B Madison's debut novel and hope she keeps writing Frank Lyle mysteries.
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on 29 September 2013
This book would benefit from some serious professional editing. At times there is is far too much detail, for example each time a new character is introduced there is a detailed physical description; minor characters require less detail altogether and physical profiles of major characters can be built up throughout the narrative rather than thrown at the reader in one paragraph.
I felt that the writer had done research on certain topics and wanted to make sure we knew it- again much unnecessary detail which added nothing and interrupted what flow there was.
At one point one of the main characters lost ten years from his age only to regain them a few pages later.
I felt that the writer has certain 'strong feelings' regarding certain groups in society and she let her own personal prejudices impact on her writing- these are not racial prejudices as different ethnicities are portrayed well.
The plot seemed to lack any real substance and conversation between characters is at times very stilted and too formal.
I don't think I will be reading any more DS Lyle mysteries.
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on 9 July 2013
I am sorry but I have read a lot of police thrillers and I think this was very poorly written.I did not like the narratives and the outcome was so very obvious.Not for me.
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on 8 July 2013
I literally wasn't able to put this book down, once I got a chance to start reading it. Juliet Madison has certainly found her niche. This is a story which moves and twists and continually grips, and the list of characters are all so interesting that there's no way anyone could stop reading on to find out not only what happens, but how the characters deal with it. Any police procedural benefits greatly by taking time to cover the main police characters' private lives. One of the earliest, for instance, Inspector French, was much less interesting because the writer told us next to nothing about his private life. The idea of a policeman detective was so new then that the books were popular enough without this - but how much better they would have been with that added touch. Coming up to modern days, Morse riveted millions of TV viewers because we knew so much about Morse the man, not just Morse the policeman. Madison certainly makes sure we know Frank Lyle as a person, and she does this very successfully.We know his history, his current relationships, his pain, his triumph. DI Frank Lyle has the makings of a great series detective. I think this book could be the basis for a really popular TV series, on the lines of Morse, with a really good actor in the lead role. Are you listening, TV producers?
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on 9 August 2013
As a fan of crime fiction, I would recommend Second chances by Juliet B Madison.
The action kicks in straight away and the suspense carries on throughout the whole plot. And just when you think you have it sussed, everything changes!
Another strength of this book' is the attention to the accuracy and detail surrounding the murder investigation.
If you, like me, enjoy crime novels, this is definately worth a read.
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