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15 Seconds

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Henry Steadman is a successful Florida plastic surgeon on his way to deliver a keynote address at a conference when his world falls apart. Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed, and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but after it subsides, and Henry is about to move on, the officer is suddenly killed in his car and there is only one suspect: the very person he was about to arrest not ten minutes before. Henry! When a second friend turns up dead, Henry realizes he's being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name.

15 Seconds is a story of how even the best of lives can be destroyed in just an instant—and of an innocent man, framed for murder, who has to save the person he loves the most, and who cannot go the police to clear his name.

324 pages, Hardcover

First published July 10, 2012

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About the author

Andrew Gross

69 books1,654 followers
hubby, cook, dad, thriller writer (The Blue Zone, The Dark Tide, Don't Look Twice, and coming soon... Reckless). Love to hear from and meet my fans! Hope you enjoy the newest release RECKLESS, coming April 27, 2010.

Looking forward to sharing my bookshelf with you all, and hoping to get some new reading suggestions!

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Hope to see you on the tour...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 911 reviews
Profile Image for Tulay.
1,202 reviews2 followers
March 30, 2017
Good thriller.

You have to over look somethings, just read and enjoy it. Touching story, two dads and two daughters. One trying to blame everybody but himself about how his daughter turned out. Second dad is trying to save his daughter, but don't understand why his practice is in the pain clinic. Plastic surgeon, travels with doctors without borders. From do beginning you can guess the ending, hope won't be another blood killings. Perfect book for a long plane trip.
Profile Image for Alan.
10 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2013
Moderate Spoiler. I finished this book, as tough as it was to do. My opinion only; if you don't finish a book you should not review it. This book started with promise. The story outline was interesting, convoluted and clearly was going to continue to get complicated. Alas, I found the book to be filled with irritating errors. As an example; at one point, Dr. Steadman (the protagonist) has "only $60 in cash left" Previously, he had stopped using cards because he was being tracked by half the cops in the South. Somehow on the way to the prison to see Amanda "stops in a "haberdashery" and buys a sport coat and other clothes. Just clear that up? Another glaring example: Vance (villain) has a workshop in the woods behind his repossessed home. The home, and workshop abandoned for two years, and in a state of complete disrepair, somehow still has electricity hooked up?

These outline errors are not what ultimately turned me off this book. The story ends in such a predictable, warm, fuzzy way, with the hero (divorced) and heroine (husband dead) falling for each other, going off to make the world a better place and, I suppose atone for whatever guilt the Doctor feels for running a clinic that it appears dispensed Oxy, where someone on the inside was abusing their right to accept prescriptions. (Never cleared up)

It's unfortunate, because this story had a lot of promise. In the end, the execution was just poor. I can't recommend it.
Profile Image for Lewis Weinstein.
Author 9 books487 followers
October 16, 2017
This is a great read from start to finish. High tension. Surprises. Emotion. Action. I will not spoil your read by revealing anything about the plot.
Profile Image for Harvey Burgess.
89 reviews11 followers
February 17, 2013
Yes, Andrew Gross has a way of making you turn pages. The trouble with "15 Seconds," though, is that you're turning pages - at first - to see what stupid mistakes Dr. Henry Steadman is making. For a character who's supposed to be reasonably intelligent, Henry makes some ridiculously bad choices early on, beginning with smart-aleck responses to a cop who's just pulled him over in Jacksonville, Fla., and going downhill from there. It makes the first half of the book exceedingly frustrating, but you hang on to see if Henry ever gets anything right (even though you know he will or it's a really bad book) and how he brings a blatantly obvious setup to its conclusion. And Henry's not the only dummy in the book. There are plenty of unflattering profiles, several wearing badges, who fall into the mix. The biggest problem with "15 Seconds" is not the pacing, which is pretty good, but the fact that it makes too many people look dumb who shouldn't be.
Profile Image for W. Cameron.
Author 65 books4,058 followers
April 28, 2020
Andrew Gross is one of our best thriller writers and this one absolutely delivers. Is the plot less than 100% realistic, as some have complained? Maybe a little, but if you strap in and go with it, it's a great ride. I loved the characters and the plot was so fast-pasted I couldn't put the novel down for more than, say, 15 seconds. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Brenda.
3,977 reviews2,591 followers
July 14, 2012
When young Amanda, high on drugs, crashed her car and killed two innocent people, it was the start of a catastrophic chain of events that would ultimately affect many lives.

When Dr Henry Steadman stepped off the plane to head to his motel, then a round of golf with his good friend, Mike, before he was due to speak at a medical conference that evening, little did he know he was on a collision course with murder, revenge, tragedy and fear.

With Carrie's first day back at work as part of the police department's outreach centre, after a terrible personal tragedy had affected her and her family's lives, she had no idea her life was about to change yet again.

As all three of these people's lives move toward each other, and as Henry's life descends into a nightmare of unbelievable proportions, his family is targeted, and he finds he has nothing to lose. He heads into incredible danger, with the thought of survival far from his mind.


A brilliant thriller from Gross, one I had trouble putting down! I would highly recommend it to all thriller lovers out there!
Profile Image for Kimberly Hicks.
Author 1 book194 followers
January 9, 2013
What an adrenaline rush!!!! I haven't read a book with this much action since I read Dan Brown's The Davinci Code. OMG, this book was packed with edge-of-your-seat-nail-biting action!

When you think about 15 seconds, one wonders just how much can happen in that short amount of time span? Well I'm here to tell you, if you're Dr. Henry Steadman, 15 Seconds feels like a damn lifetime!

Poor Dr. Steadman, all he was trying to do was be the renowned plastic surgeon he had become--and be a loving father, which he managed to do both. So, why would the good doctor think anything would be out of the ordinary? Hmmm, well for starters, he was going to Jacksonville, Florida to speak at a Doctor's conference, and prior to that, meeting his best friend since college, Mike, for a round of golf.

But before Dr. Steadman could even get to the golf course, a rather nasty cop, Officer Martinez, stopped him for no apparent reason, right? Sure the doctor was in an area of Florida he wasn't familiar with, but to be given a ticket for (almost going down a one way street) was downright ridiculous.

After that dust settles, Dr. Steadman thought he was in the clear until he hears two POP! POPS! and Officer Martinez slumped on his steering wheel. Someone just executed the cop that pulled him over and quite naturally, it all points to him.

This story takes the reader on a roller coaster ride--sure to give the best thrill of your life! Andrew puts the reader in Dr. Steadman's shoes, and trust me, there are so many near-misses and things that are so unbelievable, you'll want to get back into your own life. This is a heart-racing good read!

OUTSTANDING!!! If I could have given this more than 5 stars, I most certainly would! This is a story that takes your breath away. Wowwwww! Bravo Andrew, no wonder James Patterson chose you to write alongside him. Great author!
4,687 reviews48 followers
November 12, 2019
A doctor gets pulled over by a policeman in Florida. After sitting in the back of a police car for a while, a car drives by and shoots the officer. Of course, Doc pursues the real killer, and finds himself on the wanted list.

He's got to find the real killer before the police find him.

Generates some pretty good tension. Very entertaining.

Profile Image for Toni Osborne.
1,357 reviews44 followers
November 20, 2019
This is definitely a chilling thriller and one that kept my attention from start to finish. The story is intensive and I devoured it in no time. What a thrill ride this book offers.

It opens with a bang and then on it never lets up. Mainly told in first person narration and by giving us third person perspective not only Mr. Gross shows us how he is a maestro in balancing different point of views and also how his writing can masterful orchestrates sequenced leaps in time and able to manage revelation and indirection beautifully. I was glued to each page as the suspense mounts and the stakes grow larger and larger.

Now that I piqued your curiosity time to meet the protagonist. Dr. Henry Streadman, a famous Boca Raton plastic surgeon and owner of several pain- management clinics is on his way to a medical conference in Jacksonville FLA. Soon after leaving the airport and on his drive to the hotel he is stopped by a sheriff’s deputy for a minor road infraction. Bullied by the officer who threaten him as a major criminal he flees for his life after gun shots are heard and Henry only sees a dead police officer hunched in his patrol car…….Suddenly he is a wanted man…

Now that you have an idea where this story is heading I will let you read and enjoy it without saying more.

This is a great read that hooks you right from the start and moves at a frenetic pace. The chase is a reminder of that other innocent but hunted doctor in “The Fugitive”. Henry also has help in proving his innocence, Carrie Holmes who works at the Sheriff’s office makes his life on the run easier. But first they have to find who is behind all this and by the end they eventually acknowledge they clearly are dealing with an insane person….

There are lots of players in this game of cat and mouse and lots of chilling twists to entertain us. This plot is not overly complex but is very captivating. Some may say we have a stereotypical nice guy as a protagonist who at time does hilariously stupid moves, but he is very likeable. Carrie is an innocent young woman eager to help an innocent man and get to the bottom of the mystery. The crazy murderer is adamant to dishing out his own justice and finally we have a few insignificant minor players added to the mix.

“15 Seconds” is a spine chilling thriller I enjoyed passing time with.
Profile Image for Melodie.
588 reviews64 followers
March 29, 2020
Henry Steadman is on his way to a conference to give a speech and play some golf. In seconds his life is turned on it's ear as he finds himself the target of a manhunt. How does this happen? He can't even remember the last time he had a traffic ticket! His life as he knows it is over, and a new abnormal takes over.
I was in the mood for a fast paced read. This one fit the bill. While it became clear early on what was going on, I was engaged and turning the virtual pages on my kindle with vigor. My heart rate raced more than a few times. While the story lagged a bit in spots, it found it's footing again and the pace picked back up. The ending was satisfying although a titch predictable.
October 3, 2017
3.5 from me. Wow it is an adrenaline rush. I started reading at 12 midnight and finished at 2am. I just couldn't stop, a page turner definitely. Although the protagonists frustrates me with his panicked dialogues and actions, I persevere and push through till the end.
Profile Image for Sarah.
144 reviews94 followers
June 10, 2021
I really enjoyed this book. I know there have been some reviews that speak about his sub-plots and other issues, and that "he's not James Patterson". That's just it, he's not!
But I was looking for a quick, exciting, read that I didn't want to put down and that's what I got.

Why is it that some books just keep you moving through them? This book has what it takes to keep me reading to the final page.

The story lines seemed totally separate at the beginning of the book. I forgot about one story line then the author brought you right back. Then they intertwined together and you think you have it figured out, but not sure how to get there.

The journey of Dr Steadman was like a winding twisty road. The devotion to his daughter kept him going. Implausible or not, the story draws you along with the feeling that this could happen to anyone.

I will continue to read more from this author

Profile Image for Jenny.
798 reviews31 followers
March 23, 2013
I bought this in the Dallas Airport, looking for something to pass the time on the plane ride home. Though I read it to the end, it drove me nuts and made me realize how well Harlen Coben actually does stand alones like this. So here's the set up. A successful plastic surgeon, Henry Steadman, has just flown down to Jacksonville. He's got his day all planned out--golf with a college buddy, an evening giving a talk at a Doctors Without Borders conference, and a nightcap with a certain lady who has caught his fancy. All goes to hell when the cop who has pulled Henry over for what seems a routine traffic stop is shot by a man in a blue car. Though Gross has set up a scenario to make Henry flee the scene, it all still feels really contrived. Nevertheless, Henry is on the run and each way he turns seems to plunge him deeper and deeper into what clearly is some sort of massive set up. That said, the decision to reveal to the audience early on WHO is pulling the strings makes the story much less interesting.

This was a perfectly fine way to spend time on the airplane but Andrew Gross, you are no Harlen Coben.
35 reviews
April 7, 2012
To Deborah Jean, her mother’s words of caution were unnecessary. After all, “What can happen in fifteen seconds?” 15 seconds. 15 fateful seconds is all it took to wreak havoc and utterly destroy lives.

To nineteen year old Amanda, life was anything but easy, and is quickly spiraling downhill out of control. Her wretched dad always yelling, threatening; her uptight boss, asinine instructor, and two-timing boyfriend. And now, to top it all, she was going to be late to class again. Thank goodness she had her pills to help her cope.

Traffic. A one-way street. 15 seconds. Lives forever altered.

Vance Hofer died a little inside as Amanda, his” little girl,” cried for him to rescue her from a twenty year prison sentence. “How you gonna help me, Daddy?” Wanting to help, yet accepting that justice must prevail, he could never have anticipated the crushing blow of her answer as he questioned who stole his daughter, his “little girl.” “You done it, Daddy…It was you.”

In contrast, Dr. Henry Steadman had it all. A thriving medical practice, a comfortable living, a daughter he was proud of, the great respect of his colleagues, some golf with his friend, Mike Dinofrio, and one former Miss Jacksonville waiting for him at the Marriott. This was shaping up to qualify as one of the ten days of greatness allotted to one’s life.

Traffic. A one-way street. Lives forever altered.

Henry’s wrong turn in an unfamiliar city brought Officer Martinez down on his case in a flash. It did little good to plead forgiveness with Martinez, who was obviously enamored with the power ascribed to his uniform. The charges piled up as Henry found himself squashed in the back seat of the police car, cuffed and under arrest, while numerous reinforcements arrived at the scene. But when the rest of the force had left, Martinez was suddenly struck dead by bullets from a blue sedan. Sure to be accused, Henry sought refuge at Mikes’ doorstep.

Carrie’s return to the department’s community outreach division four months after the devastating loss of her husband was not an easy one. No time for easing back into routine, though. Fellow officer Martinez had just been killed, as well as CEO Mike Dinofrio, and she was manning the phone. Little did she realize, she would become the suspect’s lifeline, and her life would again be forever altered.

Henry’s predicament worsens by the minute, but nothing could prepare him for the sudden announcement that his daughter, Hallie, had been kidnapped. It would be at her peril if he attempted to explain the events that had been carefully orchestrated to implicate him.

Andrew Gross skillfully builds suspense throughout the entire story, keeping the reader riveted on the edge of their seats. I found the web of events to be somewhat confusing at first, but so spellbinding that I had to follow Henry as he relentlessly sought to rescue his daughter.

15 Seconds is a fabulous suspense! You couldn’t have pried it from me until I had read the last word.

I received this advance copy as a GoodReads FirstReads giveaway, in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for David.
340 reviews5 followers
August 24, 2014
This is another outstanding thriller by Andrew Gross. I was interested to read that the catalyst for this story came from a true-life incident where Andrew Gross was wrongly detained and threatened by an over-officious law enforcement officer. Fortunately for Andrew Gross, his real-life incident had a significantly more benign result than the main character of this novel, Dr Henry Steadman, whose life spirals out of control after a similar roadside meeting with the law. Previously, a short drug-fuelled drive by Amanda Hofer had set off a catastrophic chain of events with far-reaching consequences. In the space of 15 seconds Amanda's actions had irrevocably altered a multitude of people's lives forever, including Henry's. In 15 seconds I was also completely hooked by the storyline.
A highly recommended, unputdownable thriller.
Profile Image for Roseanne.
142 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2013
Okay, the premise of this book sounded really exciting. Then I started reading it. It started out good enough. Then the writer insulted the average reader's intelligence by trying to get us to believe that a widely respected and semi famous plastic surgeon would leave the scene of a crime he didn't commit. The blunders this man makes is laughable. About 45 pages in, I had already figured out who the real culprit was (I won't spoil it, not that it's a book worth finishing but I digress...)

Glad I got this off the $1 shelf at the library. Read about as far as I did and then skip to the last 30 pages. It tells the entire story. Don't waste your time.
Profile Image for AZ Book Guy.
111 reviews12 followers
January 22, 2021
I read this book while on vacation and it’s definitely one you can burn through without thinking too deeply and it’s still entertaining so I’ll look in to more by the author.

There’s more exclamation points in this book than you can shake a stick at 😆 It sounds petty but at least 90% weren’t necessary which makes it irritating. Reminiscent of Jerry critiquing Elaine’s writing on Seinfeld.
Profile Image for Terri Lynn.
997 reviews
April 4, 2012
I won this in a recent Goodreads giveaway and couldn't believe my luck! I have won a number of good books but all by authors I had never heard of before. I was familiar with Andrew Gross through the books he has written with James Patterson and was quite eager to read his upcoming solo novel 15 SECONDS.

This book was a wonderful read. The story begins with a young woman named Amanda, a cosmetology student, in her blue Mazda on her way to school. She is whacked out on Oxycodin and Xanax and driving on the wrong side of the road when she crashed through a fence and into a young mother holding her 8 week old baby, a little son her husband serving in Afghanistan has not yet seen. The young woman's mother sees her daughter and grandson hit and is screaming while a zonked out Amanda wonders what the fuss is about.

Weeks later when Amanda has to take a plea bargain to get off with only 20 years in prison, she is visited by her father Vance. Amanda is a loser and selfish as can be, her only thought is that she is going to spend 20 years in prison with no concern for what she has done. Vance is even more of a loser. He had been a long time member of the Florida state patrol until caught on video by some kids with camcorders beating and abusing a black man another cop, Martinez has mistakenly thought was a robbery suspect who had molested a 12 year old girl. He covered for Martinez (who didn't get caught on film) but lost his career and benefits. Later he lost his home, his wife (to cancer) and his job. Now his daughter is going to prison because someone gave her drugs. He tells her he will make everything right.

Dr. Henry Steadman, a cosmetic surgeon who also owns pain management clinics in a ritzy area of south Florida, is looking forward to giving a presentation at the Doctors Without Borders conference in Jacksonville, Florida and getting together with his lawyer friend Mike for some serious golf at a new and exclusive golf course Mike belongs to. Steadman frequently goes to South America to do free surgery on disfigured kids. He is divorced from Liz who he had cheated on and who cheated on him and left with the guy she had found. They are on amicable terms because of their teenaged daughter Hallie, a college student.

What happens in Jacksonville, unfortunately, does not stay in Jacksonville. Steadman gets stopped in his rental car by Officer Martinez who is oddly nasty to him for no reason. Other cops show up as Martinez proceeds to mistreat Steadman and subject him, along with another even nastier cop to verbal abuse and threats and odd questioning. Suddenly Martinez breaks it off and says he is writing out a warning and letting him go. As Steadman wonders what there is to warn him about, he sees a blue sedan with South Carolina plates drive up to Martinez' squad car and shoot him!

When Steadman finds the cop is dead (and with his driver's license and a ticket in hand), he decides to chase the car but loses it. He calls 9-11 to report that he is chasing the car and to tell the police that Martinez is dead. He returns to the scene only to have a cop open fire on him so he has to run away. He has a cab carry him to Mike's house and finds Mike has been murdered! Steadman must now go on the run (like on the old The Fugitive tv show) to prove his innocence which isn't easy when a crazy man is calling you on your cell to let you know you had better not turn yourself in or get caught or else he will kill your daughter and you have no idea who he is or why he'd want to do that and when it seems cops in three states are hunting you and everyone keeps recognizing you. It doesn't help if you have to keep stealing cars and have no money on you.

I'll let you read the rest of the book to see the story but it involves a wonderful sheriff's office employee named Carrie who lost her husband and almost lost her son a short time earlier, the FBI, and lot of running and near misses, crazy people, Steadman's daughter being kidnapped and a roller coaster ride of events. I could not put this book down! I loved the way Andrew Gross plotted this book so that all of the pieces fall together but you are not quite sure where they will fall. I cared about the characters- especially Carrie- and saw in the character of Vance a man who represents what can happen when everything gets taken away one by one, leaving nothing to hold on to.
Profile Image for Amy Lignor.
Author 10 books218 followers
July 27, 2012
At the very beginning of this ‘edge-of-your-seat’ thriller, Dr. Henry Steadman is stopped for a traffic violation. This particular moment in his life is nothing more than a routine ‘pain-in-the-neck,’ but before he is sent on his way the officer who stops him is killed and the murderer takes off. Fate and timing being what they are, Dr. Steadman is now not only the one witness to the crime but he’s also the main suspect.

Steadman has just arrived in Fort Lauderdale in order to speak at a medical conference, and was driving around trying to find his hotel when this horrific moment occurred. He ends his brutal day by escaping the long arm of the law while he tries to figure out who could possibly hate him enough to frame him for the cop killing. Thankfully, there is one person who seems to be halfway on his side: Carrie Holmes, a community outreach specialist working for the police department.

When Henry turns to a friend of his for help with the situation, the friend ends up dead and his daughter is abducted. Somebody up there just doesn’t like Henry, but he can’t figure out who.
This mystery/thriller offers nonstop action. (Sometimes even more than the reader can handle.) Dr. Steadman is certainly a character that completely sums up the old saying, ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ And although he seems to be right in the middle of everything for no apparent reason, the reader will have to wait until the very end to find out exactly what’s going on.

This is a terrific read that doesn’t slow down. From vigilante justice to frightening law enforcement to incidents that everyone meets up with in life—this novel is an exciting mixture of thrills. Yet again, Mr. Gross has done a fantastic job!

Reviewed by Amy Lignor, author of “Tallent & Lowery - 13” for Suspense Magazine

Profile Image for Robel Getaneh.
3 reviews
March 29, 2013
I tried to like this book. I really did. The book began like any typical thriller with the introduction of the main character and the protagonists. The author wasted no time diving into the action and here is where he lost me. The author did not give me enough time with the main character to grow a fondness for him therefore I was not able to encompass any empathy when bad things began to happen to the character. As things began to get worse for the main character I found myself not caring about the outcome nor about the well-being of the main character and the protagonists. Another thing that also got me about the book was the writing style. It was almost like a watered down thriller without any style. It seems to have been written for main stream consumption because the author did not attempt to put much edge to the story. The authors use of character names after every sentence really began to get annoying after a while. One reviewer pointed out that no one talks like that in real life and I must agree! I gave it 2 stars because the flow of the story was decent and the chapters are short so as to keep your attention from deviating.
Profile Image for Linda.
526 reviews9 followers
May 7, 2012
Read this book via Goodreads First Reads, via my daughter in law. Let me preface my remarks by saying that I NEVER read this genre nor have I read this author. The cover notes state that he has written with James Patterson, whose books are IMHO sophomoric and written at about a 4th grade level, so I was reluctant to attempt this read. While I did not find it as bad as I find Patterson, and it was probably written at a 7th grade level, it is just not my type of book. Errors drive me nuts, and the exact same conversation regarding the South Carolina Gamecocks between Henry and his wife occurs on both pages 57 and 75.
The positives-it does grab you and moves very quickly, it is an easy read (unless you have not finished 7th grade), and would make a good action TV show. If you like the crime/detective genre and need an airplane or vacation read, then by all means pick this up.
Profile Image for Sandi.
510 reviews274 followers
June 25, 2013
I wanted to like this book, I really did. However, it just didn't make any sense. Zero, zip, zilch. I kept hoping the cops would just shoot the protagonist and get it over with. Only one person in this book wasn't totally annoying. Plus, I think I've seen a half dozen movie versions.
Profile Image for Versel Rush.
106 reviews4 followers
Read
April 6, 2012
Won it on Goodreads and have started it. I'm about 60 pages into it and am hoping against hope that it gets better. So far, I'm disappointed.
Profile Image for Sean Peters.
642 reviews122 followers
January 28, 2013
Hi

First time reading Andrew Gross and I thoroughly enjoyed this book, tension. gripping and good twists, although it came together very well.
Profile Image for Jen Gould.
27 reviews2 followers
February 21, 2013
Wow, that was hilariously bad. I really shouldn't let my three-year-old pick out my library books based on the color of the cover.
Profile Image for Una Tiers.
Author 6 books369 followers
July 1, 2015
An interesting but but very familiar plot. Extreme repetition and unnecessary details took up about twenty five or thirty percent of the book in space.
Profile Image for Kelda .
202 reviews1 follower
February 11, 2022
This book was OK until it went on 150 pages too long 🙄 the final 100 pages were painful to read I have to admit
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