“Here and Gone” by Haylen Beck

Here and gone“Here and Gone” by Haylen Beck is a nail-biting thriller that grabs you from the start and never lets go.

Audra Kinney is a less than perfect mother to two children, Sean and Louise. She is fleeing her abusive husband, an overbearing mother-in-law, and child protective services. On a lonely highway in Arizona, she is pulled over by a small-town sheriff, and things will never be the same again. Everyone is scared, even the sheriff. Something isn’t right, even though the officers and their mother had said it would be. As they drive away in the back of the police car, even the children know.

Louise reached across the seat, her small hand taking his. “Don’t cry,” she said. “Everything’s going to be all right. They told us.” But Sean knew they lied.

As the police car pulls up to the station, Audra exclaims,“I’ve been cooperative. Please tell me where my children are.”“What children?” the sheriff asks.

And, so it begins.

The scenario is played out like a TV cop drama: the missing kids, the denying mom, the accusing cops, but this is different, very different. The truth is not forthcoming, and the results are not predictable. Everything is wrong. Whom do we believe?

“You’re a former addict running from Children’s Services.How much do you think your word means against theirs?”

The stress-level increases as the FBI, the media, and the family try to sort out the situation while Audra sits in jail. And then, a new participant arrives on the scene.

It is not an “easy” book to read, but it does have lighter moments.When all else fails …” She’s bringing up some coffee. And cake.” Danny shrugged and sat down. “Well, if there’s cake.’”

This is very different book.  It is a tale of captivity, suspense, and unspeakable cruelty that leads from the city to the desert and right to the dark web. Everyone is damaged, some more than others. The body count grows, and the tension in unbelievable.  It is incredibly compelling and frightening at the same time. And when it ends, it does not end well for everyone.

Crown Publishing, Haylen Beck, and NetGalley gave me the opportunity to read and review this book, and I enjoyed every nail-biting minute. Thank you.