Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Here and Gone

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck
Published by Vintage
June 2017

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. . .

Here and Gone is currently out in Kindle format, but will be published in the hardback edition in August.  Audra Kinney has decided to leave her controlling, abusive husband and his interfering mother at long last, and is driving with her two children from New York across the state to California where she hopes a friend will put them up until she gets herself sorted out.  Audra is understandably nervous, she is worried about her husband and the repercussions of her actions to remove both herself and her children from his life.  When she pulls into a gas station in Arizona for drinks for her two children and sees a police car waiting there, she begins to worry that he has been sent to find her.  However all is fine and Audra continues on her journey.  However it isn't long before she sees the police car behind her and this time his lights are flashing at her for her to pull off the road.  Officer Whiteside tells Audra that the rear end of her car is weighed down too much and that he believes it is not safe for her to continue driving in this manner.  He helpfully agrees to take some of the luggage out of her car, transfer it into his vehicle and follow her to a place to stop for the evening.  Audra agrees, for what else can she do, and when Officer Whiteside opens her boot, he pulls out a bag of drugs, too large for personal use.  He has no choice but to take Audra down to the station for questioning.    The sheriff radios for his partner Deputy Collins to come and fetch the children so he can take Audra into custody.  When Audra arrives at the station for her interview, she asks Whiteside where her children are - he replies "what children?"

As a parent that bit put chills down my spine.  Whiteside is adamant that when he arrested Audra her car was empty.  The question he has for her, is what has she done with her children?  Now it is Audra's word against the law and once her husband gets involved, everyone starts to doubt her story. As a former junkie and alcoholic, her previous history isn't doing her any favours amongst the media.  For Audra there is only one person who she can turn to now and that is a stranger known to many as Danny the Knife Boy.  His daughter also disappeared in similar circumstances and his wife ended up taking her own life as a result.  For Danny, the tale Audra tells sends alarm bells ringing in his head, and he realises he needs to reach out to a woman he has never met before to try to gain her trust.  For Audra, Danny could be her only hope.

This is a real page-turner of a book and I was gripped by the twists and turns it took, wondering and waiting to see if Audra would ever find her children again.  Haylen Beck is an author I will read more books by in the future.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

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