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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

"Gone for Good" by Harlan Coben

Eleven years ago Will's girlfriend was murdered. The prime suspect was his brother who went missing. Now Will believes his brother is back. And then his new girlfriend goes missing.

A classic thriller full of levels of duplicity, exotic characters including an assassin nicknamed The Ghost and a yoga teacher cum homeless charity van driver with a tattoo on his forehead, and twists all the way to the end. I thought it was a bit too twisty, to be honest. It kept up the excitement to the end but I'm not sure that I was concerned for the fate of any character.

 Technically Coben has to be the master of the pause. His dialogues are full of moments of business for the characters to think, to accentuate what they have just said, for the reader to think: what the heck, this is exciting and the writer has just pressed the pause button. Moments like: “The shower stopped. I picked up a poppy-seed bagel. The seeds stuck to my hand.” (p 206)

He has some wonderfully dry asides as well:

  • The TV stories gave it lip service that was so tongue-in-cheek you'd expect your television to smirk at you.” (p 24)
  • We took off from LaGuardia, which could be a lousier airport, but not without a serious act of God.” (p 303)

He also has some utterly unforgettable descriptions:

  • Her skin was in that cusp between jaundice and fading summer tan.” (p 1)
  • Raquel was the size of a small principality and dressed like an explosion at the Liberace museum." (p 173) [Raquel is a huge muscled black transvestite.]
  • Hospital rooms normally smell of antiseptic, but this one reeked of male-flight-attendant cologne.” (p 240)
  • The cell reeked of urine and vomit and that sour-vodka smell when a drunk sweats.” (p 244)
  • There were shades of skin colour that could inspire the people at Crayola.” (p 245)

And more great lines:

  • the thing about cliches is that they're often dead-on.” (p 10)
  • I collapsed into the chair and stared at the phone as if it'd tell me what to do. It didn't.” (p 61)
  • Taking the newbies out of circulation eliminates competition. If you live out in the streets, you get ugly in a hurry.” (p 73)
  • Gone before good-bye.” (p260)
The thing about thrillers is when they are so well written as this one they have to be good. October 2017; 383 pages

Another Coben book reviewed in this blog: Hold Tight

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