Gone for Good

Coben, HarlanGone for Good (2002)
Delacorte, 341 pages, $23.95 hardcover 
ISBN 0-385-33558-X

While looking over his mother’s belongings just after her death from cancer, Will Klein discovers a photograph that indicates his brother, Ken, may still be alive. Eleven years earlier Will’s former girlfriend and neighbor, Julie Miller, was murdered in their suburban New Jersey hometown. A lot of Ken’s blood was found at the murder scene, and Ken hasn’t been seen since. Was Ken another victim, taken somewhere else and murdered that night? Or was Ken himself the murderer who fled, injured, from the scene and has been in hiding ever since?

While Will is suffering from his mother’s death and the shock of realizing that Ken may be alive somewhere, his live-in girlfriend, Sheila Rogers, disappears. And just like that FBI agents appear at Will’s door demanding that he tell them the whereabouts of Sheila Rogers, whose fingerprints were found at a murder scene in Nebraska a few days earlier.

The description of Gone for Good sounds a lot like the story line of Tell No One (all of this material is given in the first few pages of each book, so I’m not giving anything away here):

Tell No One
Gone for Good
The main character’s wife, thought murdered 8 years earlier, may be alive. The main character’s brother, who either was killed or disappeared 11 years earlier, may be alive.
The first-person narrator, David Beck, is a physician in an inner-city children’s clinic in New York City. The first-person narrator, Will Klein, is director of a shelter for runaway children in New York City.
Beck’s beloved wife—his true love, his best friend since age 7—is murdered. Klein’s girlfriend—his true love, his soul mate—disappears.
The police have always suspected Beck in his wife’s murder. The police have always suspected Klein in the murder of his former girlfriend and probable murder of his brother.
One of the minor characters is a really bad guy who enjoys torturing people before killing them. One of the minor characters is a really bad guy who enjoys torturing people before killing them.

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Despite all these similarities, though, there’s one big difference between Gone for Good and Tell No One: Coben’s latest novel hangs together, without any gaping plot holes. Admirers of the Myron Bolitar novels will be pleased to know that Coben has once again regained his skill at writing take-your-breath-away thrillers.

Oh wait, there’s one more similarity between this novel and the previous one: don’t start reading Gone for Good in the evening unless you’re prepared to stay up all night.

© 2002 by Mary Daniels Brown

All material on these pages is © as indicated by Mary Daniels Brown