Review: Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Here and Gone.jpgWriting under the pseudonym Haylen Beck, Stuart Neville has produced a top-notch thriller, deliberately paced and wound tight. Here and Gone is a powerhouse of a story that will keep you awake until the last page.

Audra Kinney is faced with every parent’s worst nightmare when she and her children become the victims of corrupt cops. After years of abuse, courtesy of her husband, Audra has finally worked up the courage to escape his clutches with her two children. She doesn’t have much of a plan, just knows she needs to get away, and when a friend halfheartedly invites her out to San Diego, Audra packs up her few possessions and makes the journey from the East Coast. But along the way she is arrested by a small-time sheriff, separated from her kids, and quickly presented to the media as a kidnapper / murderer. When Danny Lee hears about her situation, he immediately leaves San Francisco and becomes Audra’s only ally. Years ago, Danny’s wife had a similar experience; their children were never found, and his wife never recovered. The resemblance between both situations is too much to be pure coincidence. Danny is certain the same people responsible for the tragedy in his life are afflicting the same damage on Audra’s.

Here and Gone is a thriller in the true sense of the word. It’s breathtaking, relentless and action-packed, but it also lacks some of the nuance of Stuart Neville’s work. Writing as Haylen Beck, it’s clear the author has attempted to emulate the style of the American grand-master of crime himself, Elmore Leonard; and though it works, for the most part, I can’t help but wonder a Stuart Neville novel would’ve had more to say about the horrors of human trafficking or the victimisation of women by the media. Here and Gone lacks some of the moral complexity of say, So Say the Fallen, but in the moment, as you’re turning the pages, you will absolutely be invested and enthralled; this is as white-knuckle as a thriller can get. It’s got punch, that’s for sure.

As far as unputdownable thrillers of 2017 rank, Here and Gone is right up there. If you need to make spare hours fly, this is the book for you.

ISBN: 9781911215592
Format: Paperback (234mm x 153mm x mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Harvill Secker
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 13-Jul-2017
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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