Such was the case with Ridgerunner, by Rusty Barnes. It's not my typical genre of fiction--Rusty's story takes place in the mountains of Appalachia, and is a gritty, fast-paced novel with a fair amount of violence. And yet, the characters were so nuanced and realistic, they drew me and made me care about them--I had to keep reading to see what happened to them. The protaganist, Matt Rider, is an imperfect man, but one that you can't help rooting for, and the plot keeps you guessing right up until the final page.
Overall, an outstanding effort by an excellent writer. Well done, Rusty!