Harlan Coben (January 4, 1962)
There aren’t many novels that can grab me from the first paragraph and keep me riveted to the final page. Harlan Coben‘s “Gone for Good” did that, over the weekend.
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.Gone for Good (opening paragraph)
Blurb from the Back Cover
“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.”
As in All Great Novels, There’s a Protagonist and There’s an Antagonist
“Gone for Good” is written in a first person narrative. That makes all of the author’s words personal. Unfortunately, it also makes everyone else’s actions suspect, because we have no access to their internal dialogs. One of the main villains of the book, a man they called the Ghost, seems to be the author’s stand-in. Everything he does seems to be with pure evil intent, and yet, he is the one that drives the narrative to its unpredictable outcome. (And looking at Mr. Coben’s photograph, I think the Ghost may be styled on his own personality and appearance.)
Harlan Coben’s Birth Chart
Warning: the timing is completely randomized. And yet it is quite revealing. Like Emily Brontë, Harlan Coben has a conjunction between Venus and Mars, this time @ 8° Capricorn. Love and Hate, again. It also represents the Light and the Shadow. That is probably why the story has so much violence. I’m not even going to delineate the inconjunct aspects, as they are descriptions of the usual suspects.
Disparu à jamais
Imagine my surprise when I realized that this novel is a limited series on Netflix. The New Jersey setting has been moved to Nice, France. Originally filmed in French, it has been dubbed into English, almost seamlessly. But the storytelling has taken on a totally different flavour, and has lost its earthiness.
The names have changed, the focus, too. (Admittedly, I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but the mystery has taken on the personal relationship ethos, as is the French way, of course.) Reading the novel, I got a sense of confusion in Will’s mind, but no doubts about his feelings for Sheila. And the fact that she might have been connected to Ken and Julie, in some hidden past relationship, added to the mystery. But now it seems that she is dead, too.
Long you alwaysS
The actor (Tomas Lemarquis) who played the French version of The Ghost (Ostertag “Easter Day”) looks very much like the author.