Surprisingly, sometimes you open a book and find a friend. It's not anyone you've met before, but right away you recognize the connection. You like the guy. You want to know more about him. You wouldn't mind having a cup of coffee and just listening to him talk.
I just met Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr, (yeah, I know. I'm decades behind the rest of the world) and that is what happened. He's a crook, but I like him. I'm on page 16, so I've got lots of pages left to learn what makes him tick. The cup of coffee might be a stretch, though. I mean, I really can distinguish reality from fiction.
It's just that with characters like Bernie, you really wish that option was available.