2017 Top Reads: Here and Gone Haylen Beck.


Publication Date: 13th June (Kindle) July (Hardback)  from Harvill Secker

Source: Review Copy

Here and Gone begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them…

Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

Oh I LOVED this one. Well, you know, I use the word loved to mean it destroyed me and stole a few hours of my life then spat me out ragged the other side. One sitting, totally immersive, bang on the money thriller with heart. Just load up on the sugar and dive right in (the slight sugar rush might be running this review too)

So Here and Gone has a hugely emotional core, missing children, now in danger – of course its going to get you right by the throat. What helps that along and makes it so darned addictive is the near perfect pacing, the highly intriguing and resonant characters and that indefinable something that means you just CANNOT put it down.

I always think its clever when an author manages to make a book fairly rock along, but still keeps the heart and soul in it. Here and Gone is a book that you feel – from the opening pages when Audra is making her tentative but determined escape from an abusive marriage you just get enveloped right into it. Then the heart stopping moment when she loses sight of her kids stays with you from that moment and as events unfold you spend half the time wanting to clap your hands over your eyes, wondering what fresh hell Audra will face next. The plotting is tight, intense and utterly riveting, the final few chapters I barely drew breath for and in the end you let out a huge sigh of…well you’ll have to read it to find out but the whole thing was completely traumatic – reading trauma. Its what I live for.

Oh that Sheriff, I wanted to poke him with red hot pokers. Danny I adored. Audra was a particularly strong character because her flaws were on display for the world to see but she had that tough inner core that just resonates so you are with her all the way. And she wasn’t stupid. You know? Sometimes in thrillers like this the main protagonist is so stupid you want to throttle them, but Here and Gone has a healthy dose of reality that just feeds into the wider drama.

Things I wish would happen now.

Danny would get his own book series.

I could see what Audra does next.

Patrick’s mother falls down a well and Lassie never comes. (remember the whole sugar rush thing)

Seriously though, Here and Gone is a very clever, very emotive, highly charged read that will mess with your head and keep you up at night. The themes running underneath the thrill ride are hard hitting and distressing. None of it is impossible. All of it is compelling. Overall Here and Gone is a purely dazzling read.

I thought I would probably like it, this being the pseudonym of an author I’m already a fan of – but you can never be quite sure when these authors go rogue and write something different whether they really should be doing that or not. In this case the answer is a hugely resounding YES. So do it again please.

An edge of the seat full on emotional blast of a novel.

Highly Recommended.

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To purchase Here and Gone clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!


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