The two Harlan Coben books that I have read, Tell No One and Gone For Good, are extremely hard to put down. The only problem is that the most recent, Gone For Good, is a little less hard to put down than the previous one.
Coben is an excellent crime novelist whose primary writing talent is the ability to keep the story moving at an extraordinary velocity. Most of the chapters in these two books end with unanswered questions that compel the reader forward. Both novels focus on missing persons who are presumed dead. Tell No One tells the story of Dr. David Beck and his search for his wife who has been missing for eight years. Gone For Good relates the tale of Will Klein and his brother, Ken, who disappeared eleven years prior after being the prime suspect in a murder case. Gone For Good adds an extra twist in that shortly after information surfaces that Ken may still be alive, Will's fiance Sheila also disappears.
Gone For Good is a little less hard to put down than Tell No One for two reasons. First, Coben injects more descriptive, sentimental passages into Gone For Good. For example, in this passage, Will Klein related a dream:
"I had a strange quasi-dream
"I say 'quasi' because I was not fully asleep. I floated in that groove between slumber and consciousness, that state where you sometimes stumble and plummet and need to grab the sides of the bed. I lay in the dark, my hands behind my head, my eyes closed.
"I mentioned earlier how Sheila had loved to dance. She even made me join a dance club at the Jewish Community Center in West Orange, New Jersey. The JCC was close to both my mother's hospital and the house in Livingston. We'd go out every Wednesday to visit my mother and then at six-thirty head for our meeting with our fellow dancers."
This passage continues for another six paragraphs, until Will's dream is interrupted by a phone call from a cop. Fortunately, Coben ends most of these passages just before the reader is likely to grow bored. Yet the story loses some of its page-turning speed each time he inserts them. I can't help but worry that Coben's next book will contain even more such passages, thereby slowing the pace of the story even more. If he does it enough, his books will no longer be as difficult to put down. Hopefully, his editor will insist that he remove more of them in his next book.