Book Review- Gone Till November
You’ve got imagine that a seemingly routine traffic stop has got to be a frightening thing for a police officer. Most of them are exactly that, routine, but you never know what could be waiting in the car that gets pulled over. It could be a mother of four awaiting you with tears in her eyes, or it could be a heavily armed and violent man ready to draw down on you. It’s that unpredictable nature that kicks off Wallace Stroby’s novel “Gone ‘Til November”
In the beginning of “Gone ‘Til November” Sarah Cross, a Sheriff’s Deputy in a small Florida town, is working the night shift and is called to the scene of a traffic stop that ended in violence. When she arrives she encounters another deputy, her ex-boyfriend Billy Flynn. Billy claims that 22 year old African American man he shot was fleeing the scene and drew a gun on him. Sarah’s instincts tell her something is awry, but when the shooting is investigated She testifies that what she saw matched up with Billy’s version of the story
Unbeknownst to Sarah though, the man Billy shot was on an errand for a New Jersey drug gang. Part of that errand involved delivering a large sum of money, which is now missing. So the gang’s head dispatches, Morgan, a veteran hit man to Flordia to find out what happened and get his money back.
The story follows both Sarah and Morgan’s investigations into what happened that night and the more they uncover, the more it seems like Billy did something horribly wrong. The final reckoning comes in an explosion of violence at an abandoned sugar refinery.
With Sarah, Stroby has a very human and compelling protagonist. She’s the only female Sheriff’s deputy in town so she constantly has to prove herself. Plus she had a son with leukemia that she’s utterly devoted to. So Sarah is a very noble character and you want to root for her. Stroby gives her two big flaws though and those flaws make the story ultimately unsatisfying.
The first flaw is her attraction to Billy. I could understand why Sarah might be initially attracted to him, but for pretty much the entire book Billy proves that he’s a repulsive, shallow, and self centered individual. Sarah is a shrewd, caring, and dedicated cop and mother and yet she falls for Billy’s manipulations through out much of the story. Even in the end when she knows Billy has done something horribly wrong she still cares. Which leaves me ultimately wondering why? We as the readers never get to see Billy’s good side; the side that Sarah might have fallen in love with. So rather than emphathising with Sarah. I end up questioning her poor judgement.
The other other flaw is when Sarah gets into trouble she’s usually not able to get out of it herself. This makes her human, but it makes her seem less capable and it’s a shame. Sarah is an interesting character but she would be a much more interesting character if she didn’t need a rescuer.
Morgan is one of the characters that rescues Sarah, and Morgan ends up being my favorite character in the book. He’s a veteran hitman who has become tired with his violent life style. He has designs on double crossing his boss and using the missing money to pay for cancer treatments and to set himself up with a new life.
When the story follows Morgan you can tell Storby is having a good time. The character is a loner, but he’s incredibly charismatic. If they ever make a movie of “Gone ‘Till November” I can see Smauel L. Jackso being offered the part. He would be the perfect Morgan: cool, deadly, charismatic, and sympathetic.
The plot, pacing, and tone of “Gone ‘Til November” are all handled well. The story moves quickly and cuts back and forth between Sarah and Morgan, which keeps things interesting. You get to see both characters in some haunting and human moments. So “Gone ‘Til November” is an entertaining, but ultimately unsatisfying read. It had an interesting story, some fun bits of action, but it’s too flawed protagonist kept the story from being great.