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Before I Go

A special Announcement

Just a quick note to let everyone know about a special publication. My latest novel, written under the pen name Brian Charles, will be released on September 27, 2022.

A while ago I mentioned that I was writing a novel "on the side." It was a story that had been bouncing around my mind for many years, and one I've always wanted to write––a love story with a twist. I worked on this pet project here and there, mostly after finishing one of my thrillers and when I was between manuscripts. A year or so ago, I dedicated some real time and effort to finishing it. When I showed it to my wife, she cried. When my sister read it, she asked if she could pass it around to her friends. When my agent read it, she fell in love with the story and sent it to John Scognamiglio, my editor at Kensington.

My agent and I warned John that the manuscript was very different than my other books––there are no dead bodies and no forensic science to be found in the pages. It's not a thriller. In fact, it's a love story more similar to Nicholas Sparks than Harlan Coben. It is twisty, however, with the same sort of surprise ending my thrillers have. The kind that should have you ripping back through the pages to see how you missed it.

My editor was intrigued and agreed to take a look. He ended up loving the story and Kensington purchased the manuscript. Because it's a departure from the gritty suspense novels I usually write, we decided to publish Before I Go under a pen name: Brian Charles. (Where did "Brian Charles" come from? That's a topic for another day).

Described as "The Notebook meets The Shack," Before I Go is a poignant tale about how the people we love stay with us forever, sometimes in surprising ways...

“If you’re a fan of Nicholas Sparks or Richard Paul Evans, this is a must read!"

–Ellen Marie Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Collector


In the spirit of The Notebook, Brian Charles’ Before I Go is at once a tender love story and a powerful, provocative exploration of life after loss and the numinous links that tie all our lives together.

A year after her husband’s plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, Abby Gamble knows she needs to start moving beyond her grief. She and Ben shared a deep love, made even stronger by the heartache they went through together. But Ben would want her to keep living. So Abby throws herself once more into her cosmetics company—only to find herself at a crossroads when she meets Joel, a physician whose past is as scarred as hers.

Joel has never forgiven himself for a fateful childhood decision that led to tragedy. That guilt has spurred him on to save other lives as a physician. When he meets Abby, they embark on a hesitant love affair and Joel begins to see a way forward. But Abby is holding back, struggling with the idea of finally leaving Ben behind. Yet Ben isn’t gone. Ever since his plane went down, he’s been trying to make his way back to Abby. That journey begins on an island thousands of miles away, as Ben discovers his journal among the wreckage debris that has washed up on shore—a series of letters that recounts Abby and Ben’s love story. Rereading his letters about the life they planned, and the joy and misfortune they encountered along the way, Ben knows what he must do. Somehow, he must set out to see Abby again—even if he doesn’t know what will be waiting for him in the extraordinary event that he makes it home . . .

Before I Go will be published in October 2022 under my editor's imprint as a John Scognamiglio Book, something I'm both honored and proud of. I hope you decide to check it out, and that you love this story as much as I do.

To learn more, visit my website:


Before I Go was chosen as the October selection for The Book Drop, a monthly book subscription from Bethany Beach Books in Delaware. Hundreds of copies will be shipped and I've been busy signing bookplates to be included in the package.

Finally, my favorite part of the process––opening my box of books when it arrives on my doorstep. It's the first time I get to see the book in its final form.

BEFORE I GO is set in Chicago at Christmastime, and it would make the perfect Holiday gift. Just saying...


Let's Connect

Charlie Donlea is the #1 internationally bestselling author of Summit Lake, The Girl Who Was Taken, Don't Believe It, Some Choose Darkness, The Suicide House and Twenty Years Later.

Praised for his "soaring pace, teasing plot twists" (BookPage) and talent for writing an ending that "makes your jaw drop" (The New York Times Book Review), Donlea has been called a "bold new writer...on his way to becoming a major figure in the world of suspense" (Publishers Weekly). A late bloomer, he was twenty years old when he read his first novel––THE FIRM by John Grisham––and knew he would someday write thrillers. His books have now been translated into nearly languages across forty countries.

He was born and raised in Chicago, where he continues to live with his wife and two children.

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