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Going, Going, Gone
Gone for Good - Harlan Coben
Member Name: kirstymack80
Gone for Good - Harlan Coben
Date: 23/11/04, updated on 29/11/04 (103 review reads)
Advantages: gripping, page turner, surprises all the way through
Eleven years ago Will Klein’s brother, Ken, disappeared after apparently raping and murdering a neighbour, Julie Miller. Ken avoided capture and his family believed he’d gone forever.
Years later, Will returns to the family home after his mother dies. While looking through her personal effects, he finds an old photo of his parents on a cruise. As he absent mindedly toys with the frame, the photograph inside starts to slip, and underneath is a man he recognises, although he can scarcely believe his eyes. The date on the photo is from two years ago. The man is Ken.
Still trying to grapple with the thought that his brother may be coming back, Will turns to his girlfriend Sheila. They are madly in love yet all of a sudden she is gone too. Then the FBI turn up, wanting to question Will because Sheila’s fingerprints have been found at a murder scene …
With his best friend, Squares, Will tries to uncover what’s going on while slowly trying to come to terms that after all this time his brother is still alive. Where is Sheila – and does she have something to do with Ken’s disappearance? And who is the mysterious Ghost character and why does he want to find Ken so badly?
What’s going on?!
* What I liked *
There is a really clever slow build up of suspense in this book, which made me want to race through it and find out what was going to happen on the one hand, yet not wanting to finish it!
The characters are really likeable and the reader gets drawn into their lives fairly quickly. The friendship between Will and his friend, Squares, is especially strong. They work together in Covenant House, which is a centre for runaways. They try and help people – but sometimes these people don’t want helping. Squares and Will have frequent heated exchanges, each knowing how far to go with the other and when to stop.
Katy, Julie’s little sister, turns up wanting to speak with Will. She now thinks Ken is innocent. But where is he? And what secrets do Will and Squares uncover about Sheila and her past life?
The twists and turns in this book are plentiful. I read a lot of crime stories that are easy to second guess, but I have to say this wasn’t typical of the genre. The more you read, the more Coben lays another surprise on you, and the reader has to try and work out where it’s all going and how it’s all going to fit together. They keep coming throughout, right up until the final pages!
The book is told from Will’s point of view and his thoughts and feelings are well expressed. The reader senses his confusion as the investigation reveals secrets and lies about his family’s past – and betrayal by the women he’s loved.
* The stars of the show *
Squares was a particularly strong character. There was excellent rapport between him and Will, and also as a person that has seen the bad things in life yet turned himself around to help others.
John Asselta, The Ghost, is a particularly menacing character. His appearance in the book is fleeting, but when he turns up you know that he’s pure evil. His violent temper is always on the surface, ready to break through at the slightest provocation.
He blinked. “She’s dead, Will”.
My heart sank.
“I grew bored waiting and – “ He started laughing then. The sound echoed in the stillness, ripping through the air, clawing at the leaves. I stood there, unmoving. He pointed and shouted, “Gotcha! Oh, I’m only joshing, Willie boy. Having a little fun.”
Will does come across as a bit of a weakling. His cowardly behaviour is described as he tells in flashbacks of when he was younger and how Ken used to fight on his behalf – because he was too scared to. But now his bravery is about to be challenged – will(y) manage to overcome his fears?
* Quotes *
Their job of trying to find Sheila ensures Will and Squares deal with the seedier parts of life and they frequently need to question very dubious characters to get information. Raquel (aka Roscoe) is a cross dresser that ‘helps’ Will with his enquiries. Raquel does street work. He’s six foot six, 300 pounds and wears size 14 (ladies) shoes.
“You looking so good, Sweet Willy,” Raquel said.
“Gee thanks, Raquel” I said.
“Tasty enough to eat”.
“I’ve been working out,” I said. “Makes me extra yummy”.
* Final word *
I really enjoyed this book. It cost me £1.50 in a charity shop and it was money well spent. It’s well written, has amusing parts as well as extraordinary sadness when Will describes his mother’s death and his desperation over Sheila’s disappearance. The story grips you from the start and keeps you engrossed throughout. It’s very easy to read, with fairly short chapters and frequent breaks in between.
The full five stars and a hearty recommendation from me.
* Other info *
Other books by Harlan Coben:
One False Move
The Final Detail
Tell No One
Thanks for reading.