When I first moved down to Florida, now almost a year ago in a few months, I had only one book in my entire household and it was a Harlan Coben book, [b:Promise Me|43924|Promise Me (Myron Bolitar, #8)|Harlan Coben|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1361152177s/43924.jpg|14596742]. I read it, and I don't remember much of the reading process, though I remember the end above every other part of it. I didn't feel like I got much of an impact from his previous book, but that might just be the cushion of time and grand old Life getting in the way again and erasing the past from my recollections. But I have a pile of books in a box that we brought down with us, and this was one of the ones stacked in there. So I picked it up and figured I'd give the books I owned a go since I had nothing else, once again. And I didn't remember particularly disliking his other book, even though I didn't remember loving it either.
Picking up Gone for Good, it started off keeping me pretty complacent. I wasn't thrilled, and although I was kept interested, it was a book I was reading merely to have something to read. I'm not sure how Harlan Coben does it, but he has a style where he starts off slow and builds you up to the point where you're ready to break. When his story climaxes, BOY does it CLIMAX. And the closer you are to the end, the better it's getting! This went from a book that I was feeling so-so about, to one I was interested in, to one that I was invested in and knew I was going to read to the end, to one where I didn't even THINK about putting it down, and then in the end it GUTTED ME RIGHT WHERE AND WHEN IT MATTERED!
That ending! That ENDING! It destroyed me and made me a life-long fan right there at the very end. I finished this book knowing that it was one that I would have bought if I hadn't owned it already, because I wanted it in my collection. And it's one that I'll recommend to my friends, even if they don't normally go for this genre, because the ending made me that much of a fan in the end!
But the praises of the storyline aside, I've noticed again that Coben has a steady and natural talent for writing odd characters into his books that are priceless, genuine, and engaging. From characters that range the gamut like Squares, the Ghost, and even the loveable informants on the streets of NYC or the victims of the darker side of life there-- his characters are refreshingly authentic, and I enjoy reading about every single one of them, no matter who they are, what they're involved in, how they act, or what they sound like. It's rare to find a talent like his that seamlessly interweaves what are classically called "normal" people and characters, and the "freaks," "oddities," and "strange" characters. There's no line drawn in the sand that separates one from another. He treats them all equally, like everyday human beings, and I love him for it. Normally, if a character is distinctive in any way, he gets inflated to fit that distinction. In Coben's case, he takes the characters with their dramatic distinctions from the "everyday men and women" and proves that they are the everyday men and women. Even if his stories need a little bit of patience for the first few chapters, his characters never cease to draw me in.
This is a great book. Reading it as a one-shot, since the first of his works I read was unfortunately the eight in a series, I've really come to terms with the talent he has for weaving stories. He keeps you surprised right up until the last page, and in this case, the last paragraph. This book in particular has stunned and impressed me to the point where I know it'll leave a lasting impression for years to come.
If you're at all interested in suspense, mystery, and thriller novels, definitely give Gone for Good by Harlan Coben a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, even shocked. It'll almost certainly entertain you, and it'll definitely move you, no matter who you are.