I just finished reading a novel which ended with the main character struggling to keep his head above water after a giant wave washed him overboard in the middle of a terrible storm.
The best comparison I can think of would be if Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone had ended the moment Professor Quirrell unwrapped his turban to reveal Lord Voldermort's face on the back of his head.
I'm all in favor of an author forshadowing the next novel in a series, but this ending didn't work like that. It was a cliffhanger. The main character hadn't even achieved his story goal.
I suspect what happened was the publisher decided the original novel was too long and asked the author to split the ms into a series. To be honest, though, I felt cheated, as if the publisher had tried to trick me by withholding the last chapter of the book.
How about you?
What's your take on cliff-hanger endings?
How do feel about a novel which ends in a cliff-hanger?