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No Second Chances A British police dog-handler mystery by Lyndon Stacey
Severn House Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date: 1 July 2016
No Second Chances is not your usual mystery that starts with a body and goes from there. Rather, it is a complex drama hinging on two elements, a missing husband being sought by thugs and a teenage girl needing to find her boyfriend, a Traveler, so she can recover pawned jewelry before her mother discovers it is missing. Daniel Whelan and his canine partner Taz left the police service, but his experience comes into play when he encounters a pair of thugs threatening a neighbor. Lorna asks for Daniel's help as her husband Harvey is missing and she doesn't know what these men want. Her teenage daughter, who is as maddeningly self centered as only a 15 year old can be, manages to convince Daniel to help her as well. The only reason he has for doing so is that Lorna is much too troubled to deal with her daughter's issues at that moment.
The teen's wheedling, lies, manipulation, and outright disobedience annoyed me immensely. She definitely matches the stereotype of the wealthy, entitled brat. Her grating personality and lack of redeeming qualities prevented me from becoming too involved in the story. It made the lengths Daniel went to help her seem ridiculous. There was no reason for either Daniel or the reader to empathize with her. This is one example of the central weakness of No Second Chances. The majority of characters are drawn with such broad brush strokes that it is difficult for the reader to form an emotional connection with the characters. Only Daniel and Taz stand out. Taz in particular is wonderfully defined, which wins points with me as I am a dog lover. The plot is original, and nicely developed. I liked how the story was revealed piece by piece. I only wish that I was able to form a deeper connection with the characters.
No Second Chances is a fitting title, as there are no second chances in the world of gambling and greyhound racing - or at least very few. The number of greyhounds who go on to retire to loving homes is but a small percentage of the vast number of dogs bred for the industry. As two retired greyhounds are part of our family, I can testify to the importance of understanding this complex issue. As greyhounds are considered part of the agricultural venue, they are not given the same protections as pets, even in the more enlightened environment of the U.K. I applaud Lyndon Stacey for tackling this topic.
On the whole No Second Chances is a well constructed mystery. I will definitely give Lyndon Stacey, Daniel Whelan, and Taz a second chance.
I received a copy of No Second Chances from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review
Ex-police dog handler Daniel Whelan finds himself drawn into the complex affairs of a neighbouring family – with potentially fatal consequences
Lorna Myers thinks she knows where her businessman husband is – until two men come looking for him one October evening. By lucky chance, ex-police officer Daniel Whelan happens to be on hand to take control of the situation, but for Lorna it’s the start of a nightmare. If Harvey isn’t abroad working, then where is he?
When Lorna’s daughter asks Daniel for help with a problem of her own, he finds himself reluctantly drawn into the complex affairs of the Myers family – with what could be potentially deadly consequences for both him and his faithful canine partner Taz