Top critical review
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A strong main character.
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.