I'm a great believer in enjoying a good book, then rewinding at the end to discover how the author did that.
For our purposes right now, we are looking at the moment when you simply could not put a novel down.
This isn't that situation when you're stuck on a long 'plane flight, or lounging on a beach and can't be bothered to actually move. This is when your entire life has to go on hold - and you will not be disturbed (barring actual life and death scenarios) - because you HAVE to know what happens next.
Those authors definitely knew how to get you onto the next page and, indeed, all the way to the end without stopping.
It's happened to me twice this year. Nick Sagan's Idlewild series achieved it for about the sixth time running (and I even know exactly how that one ends). Connie Willis's Blackout wiped out a whole day. It then had me scrambling to order the sequel in from America, at a higher price, because it hadn't even been released in my country yet.
They patently got it right.
Glancing through, I notice the usual tricks - cliffhanger chapter endings, great first lines in the next one. But there is something else too. Both authors add pseudo-chapters in between each part.
Nick Sagan's writing style follows a formula. First we get a transcript from a transmission. It's short. It's all in capitals (thus looks urgent). It reveals an important clue for the rest of the story. Then we get a flashback. It's again short. It's in italics, which underscores the fact that it's going to be short. It provides a context for the rest of the story.
Only then do we get to the actual chapter. That sequence continues, in the same order, every time a chapter ends.
You might as well read the transmission. It'll take whole seconds and it's going to provide food for thought. Then you might as well read the flashback for all of the same reasons. (All of this with the paused action from the last proper chapter lodged in your head.) But both of those things are going to give you something eye-opening to contemplate.
How will this affect the characters?! You read on to find out, because those two pseudo-chapters have already delivered you into the next proper chapter anyway. It's an endless cycle, which takes you all of the way to the final page.
Connie Willis does something slightly less elaborate, but still enticing. All of her chapters, in both Blackout and the sequel All Clear, begin with a quotation. Each one is very short. It's perhaps a single line. It might even be a solitary word. But it sets the scene for the whole chapter to come.
Here's an example from page 301 of All Clear, after the previous chapter ended with everyone going to St Paul's:
That won't be there in the morning.
- FIREMAN, ON SEEING ST PAUL'S SURROUNDED BY FIRES, 29 December 1940.
So you finish the previous chapter on a cliffhanger. You might as well read the quotation, as it's both there and short. Oh my! That's going to happen to the characters?! And you read on.