Published: 13th June 2017 (Vintage)
Audra has finally left her abusive husband. She’s taken the family car and her young children, Sean and Louise, are buckled up in the back. This is their chance for a fresh start.
Audra keeps to the country roads to avoid attention. She’s looking for a safe place to stay for the night when she spots something in her rear-view mirror. A police car is following her and the lights are flickering. Blue and red.
As Audra pulls over she is intensely aware of how isolated they are. Her perfect escape is about to turn into a nightmare beyond her imagining. . .
Dark secrets and a heart-pounding race to reveal the truth lie at the heart of this page-turning thriller.
Full of dark secrets and heart-pounding twists, Here and Gone is the ultimate page-turner.
I’m going to start my review with a bit of a warning – this is not an easy book to read as it deals with child abduction and alludes to child abuse/paedophilia. The latter is not at all graphic because it is only alluded to it, which is enough!
This book grabs its by the throat right from the start as it is both emotionally distressing and disturbing. So much so that after the first few chapters I wasn’t sure whether the book was for me but I decided to carry on as the writing was fantastic. Despite the horrific subject, Beck’s writing just drew me in, I was wanting to know more and what the mother will do to get her children back. From the outset it was clear that the author is proficient at building tension without going into detail (which I was extremely grateful for considering some of the elements of this book!).
Here and Gone opens with Audra travelling across the US, trying to keep under the radar with her 2 young children as she has finally left her abusive husband. However, her fresh start is stalled when she is pulled over by the local sheriff who finds illegal drugs in her vehicle. As such, Audra is arrested and her children are taken away by the deputy Sheriff. Understandably Audra is concerned as to where they are going but this concern turns into absolute terror when the Sheriff later denies any knowledge of the children and instead Audra is made out to be the reason for the disappearance of her children. Absolutely chilling!!
What is interesting with Here and Gone is the fact the reader is privy to all the events during the book, there isn’t tension from what is unknown – the thriller comes from Audra’s hunt for her children, the pressure she is put under to admit to something she hasn’t done, the conversations occurring on the dark web as well as the plight of the children themselves. So many elements brilliantly woven together.
This is a cleverly crafted novel which builds the tension fantastically and turns it into quite the page turner as Audra’s history is revealed alongside the current search for her children. This book bravely tackles extremely difficult subjects head on!
Haylen Beck is the pen name of internationally prize-winning crime writer Stuart Neville. Writing under his own name, Stuart won the LA Times Book Prize for his debut novel and received critical acclaim for his Belfast-set detective series starring Serena Flanagan. His Haylen Beck novels are set in the US and are inspired by his love of American crime writing.