As a boy, Will Klein had a hero: his older brother, Ken. Then, on a warm suburban night in the Kleins' affluent New Jersey neighborhood, a young woman--a girl Will had once loved--was found brutally murdered in her family's basement. The prime suspect: Ken Klein. With the evidence against him overwhelming, Ken simply vanished. And when his shattered family never heard from Ken again, they were sure he was gone for good.
Now eleven years have passed. Will has found proof that Ken is alive. And this is just the first in a series of stunning revelations as Will is forced to confront startling truths about his brother, and even himself. As a violent mystery unwinds around him, Will knows he must press his search all the way to the end. Because the most powerful surprises are yet to come.
"We never forget our first love. Mine ended up being murdered." Newcomers and fans alike will know they're deep in Coben country with the author's ninth book, in which a counselor of runaways with his own history of broken hearts and death finds himself caught in a web of lost identities, forgotten nemeses and smoldering grudges. Will Klein was a nice Jewish boy from a nice Jersey suburb until his ex-girlfriend was found strangled next door and his brother became an international fugitive. Eleven years later, as his mother succumbs to cancer, Will gets the deathbed confession that his brother, Ken, is alive; around the same time, his girlfriend, Sheila (herself a runaway with a "murky past"), disappears and a neighborhood psycho called the Ghost resurfaces. Will is yanked into an FBI investigation via his friend Squares (a yogi whose forehead tattoo carries multiple meanings), which jumbles up the aforementioned cast of characters with another mystery occurring in the Midwest. True to form, Coben keeps the plot twists coming fast and furious, and readers will give up trying to guess the outcome quite early on; yet the book's entertainment value lies less in its plot than its characters. From the New York streetwalker Raquel ("Many transvestites are beautiful. Raquel was not. He was black, six-six, and comfortably on the north side of three hundred pounds") to Belmont, Neb.'s Sheriff Bertha Farrow ("Murder scenes were bad, but for overall vomit-inducing, bone-crunching, head-splitting, blood-splattering grossness, it was hard to beat the metal-against-flesh effect of an old-fashioned automobile accident"), this title delivers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Best read in a while
Posted October 31, 2011 by Chris , Atlanta GAI have read all of Coben's books up to this. I really enjoyed this one, it is one of his best so far and one of the best reads I have had this year.
Lots of logical twists that I never saw coming. Great characters and just a fun book to read. Highly recommend it!!!
March 03, 2003
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Excerpt from Gone for Good by Harlan Coben
Three days before her death, my mother told me-these weren't her last words, but they were pretty close-that my brother was still alive.
That was all she said. She didn't elaborate. She said it only once. And she wasn't doing very well. Morphine had already applied its endgame heart squeeze. Her skin was in that cusp between jaundice and fading summer tan. Her eyes had sunken deep into her skull. She slept most of the time. She would, in fact, have only one more lucid moment-if indeed this had been a lucid moment, which I very much doubted-and that would be a chance for me to tell her that she had been a wonderful mother, that I loved her very much, and good-bye. We never said anything about my brother. That didn't mean we weren't thinking about him as though he were sitting bedside too.
Those were her exact words. And if they were true, I didn't know if it would be a good thing or bad.
We buried my mother four days later.
When we returned to the house to sit shivah, my father stormed through the semi-shag in the living room. His face was red with rage. I was there, of course. My sister, Melisa, had flown in from Seattle with her husband, Ralph. Aunt Selma and Uncle Murray paced. Sheila, my soul mate, sat next to me and held my hand.
That was pretty much the sum total.
There was only one flower arrangement, a wonderful monster of a thing. Sheila smiled and squeezed my hand when she saw the card. No words, no message, just the drawing on it.
Dad kept glancing out the bay windows-the same windows that had been shot out with a BB gun twice in the past eleven years-and muttered under his breath, "Sons of bitches." He'd turn around and think of someone else who hadn't shown. "For God's sake, you'd think the Bergmans would have at least made a goddamn appearance." Then he'd close his eyes and look away. The anger would consume him anew, blending with the grief into something I didn't have the strength to face.
One more betrayal in a decade filled with them.
I needed air.
I got to my feet. Sheila looked up at me with concern. "I'm going to take a walk," I said softly.
"You want company?"
"I don't think so."
Sheila nodded. We had been together nearly a year. I've never had a partner so in sync with my rather odd vibes. She gave my hand another I-love-you squeeze, and the warmth spread through me.
Our front-door welcome mat was harsh faux grass, like something stolen from a driving range, with a plastic daisy in the upper left-hand cover. I stepped over it and strolled up Downing Place. The street was lined with numbingly ordinary aluminum-sided split-levels, circa 1962. I still wore my dark gray suit. It itched in the heat. The savage sun beat down like a drum, and a perverse part of me thought that it was a wonderful day to decay. An image of my mother's light-the-world smile-the one before it all happened-flashed in front of my eyes. I shoved it away.
I knew where I was headed, though I doubt if I would have admitted it to myself. I was drawn there, pulled by some unseen force. Some would call it masochistic. Others would note that maybe it had something to do with closure. I thought it was probably neither.
I just wanted to look at the spot where it all ended.
The sights and sounds of summer suburbia assaulted me. Kids squealed by on their bicycles. Mr. Cirino, who owned the Ford/
Mercury dealership on Route 10, mowed his lawn. The Steins-they'd built up a chain of appliance stores that were swallowed up by a bigger chain-were taking a stroll hand in hand. There was a touch football game going on at the Levines' house, though I didn't know any of the participants. Barbecue smoke took flight from the Kaufmans' backyard.
I passed by the Glassmans' old place. Mark "the Doof" Glassman had jumped through the sliding glass doors when he was six. He was playing Superman. I remembered the scream and the blood. He needed over forty stitches. The Doof grew up and became some kind of IPO-start-up zillionaire. I don't think they call him the Doof anymore, but you never know.
The Marianos' house, still that horrid shade of phlegm yellow with a plastic deer guarding the front walk, was on the bend. Angela Mariano, our local bad girl, was two years older than us and like some superior, awe-inducing species. Watching Angela sunning in her backyard in a gravity-defying ribbed halter top, I had felt the first painful thrusts of deep hormonal longing. My mouth would actually water. Angela used to fight with her parents and sneak smokes in the toolshed behind her house. Her boyfriend drove a motorcycle. I ran into her last year on Madison Avenue in midtown. I expected her to look awful-that was what you always hear happens to that first lust-crush-but Angela looked great and seemed happy.