Second Chance tells the story of Alex Benedict, a devoted husband and hospital pharmacists who ends up getting dragged into a hunt for clues to find the most sought after drug in the world – the elixir of life. Alex has a personal reason to want to find it, as his wife is terminally ill in hospital.
It took me several months of trying to read Second Chance before getting past the first few chapters, as the story is not that gripping to begin with. It does soon pick up, and becomes very readable from around the 60% mark. I did enjoy reading it, although it’s not a book I’d read again given that I now know the plot.
I did feel that Second Chance was slightly let down by some plot weaknesses. For example, it’s never properly explained (as far as I remember) why the IV bag samples didn't yield the ingredients uses in the drug. The clues to find the hidden formula seem to be very easy to decode, and nothing seems to be too difficult, be that getting a plane or accessing documents after-hours. Due to that, there was a lack of real threat. The most believable moment is ‘the’ scene near the end of the book, where Benedict truly comes alive as a character.
The story also wasn't helped by a rather large cast of characters, some who are introduced near the start of the book, only to disappear till the end. This left me racking my brains trying to figure out who they were and what they had to do with everything.
Overall Second Chance is a decent mystery, but not one that I’d like to re-read. It is available from Amazon UK for £8.23, and from Amazon US for $13.57.
[Review copy provided by NetGalley]