My Rating: 4/5 – I was on the edge of my seat, and finished this book the day I started it. I could not put it down! This book was full of suspense and pulled at my most vulnerable heartstrings as a mother. I’d recommend reading it, just consider yourself warned – once you start you may find yourself cancelling the rest of your plans until you’ve finished it!
Title: Here And Gone
Author: Haylen Beck
Synopsis, via HaylenBeck.com: Audra just wants to reach California. She’s finally found the strength to flee her abusive husband and make a fresh start for her two children. With little Sean and Louise in tow, she has carefully made her way across the country, taking back roads and avoiding attention.
So when an unsettling local sheriff pulls her over in the middle of the Arizona desert, Audra works to hide her nerves and keep calm. She has to. But then he pulls a bag of drugs she’s never seen before out of her trunk, and nervousness turns into panic. She thinks the worst has happened.
Unfortunately, she’s wrong. The worst is yet to come.
Couldn’t put it down! Gripping, suspenseful, realistic, terrifying; a rollercoaster of a read.
I should probably tell you before I go any further that I am a mother with 2 children who lives in Arizona and likes to take road trips and explore. I could easily, any weekend, find myself travelling on an empty highway in the middle of the Arizona desert. For those reasons this book probably spoke directly to me more than the average reader and I immediately related to Audra on a very personal level and put myself in her shoes. However, I still think this book was incredibly well written and perfectly paced. This is every parent’s worst nightmare and Haylen Beck walks us through that nightmare in a way that manages to make us wish it won’t end.
What I liked:
- The pace. I read this book in 1 day which is usually not an option for me, but I just couldn’t stop once I started.
- Audra, the protagonist. Her story was relatable and heart breaking and something I found myself wrapped up in and emotionally invested in, as a married mother myself.
- The setting. I am familiar with the Arizona desert; the tiny boarded up towns and forgotten highways. It was not exaggerated, most of Arizona is exactly as described.
- The story, overall. I kept me guessing, I had no idea how it was going to end or who I could trust.
- That I will never, ever forget this book and exact scenario. It will replay in my mind every time I drive through the desert or see a police car behind me.
What I didn’t like:
- That this book wasn’t longer and that it had to end. Although, I also said it was perfectly paced, so I guess this is for the best.
- Some of the twists were predictable. I appreciated the relatable and believable story though, and I read and watch a decent amount of thrillers like this, so this kinda comes with the territory.
- I didn’t love the ending. That’s all I’ll say…
- That there aren’t any more Haylen Beck novels to put on my TBR .
- The fact that this book gave me one more reason to Trust No One.
I give this book 4/5 stars. I’ve said it already – I couldn’t put it down. I recommend picking it up if suspenseful thrillers that will keep you up at night and replay in your mind long after you’ve turned the last page are your thing. Is it a horror? No, I wouldn’t say that – it is more of a psychological thriller that makes you question the world you live in and what will happen next. It is also a story that makes you question how you would react and what you would do in the same situation and whether you would come through and rise under pressure. Here and Gone will stick with me as my children grow up, and long after
If this book were a movie (a little game I play with myself):
I would watch it right away. I didn’t cast the movie in my mind, but Audra was a badass, driven female in my imagination – someone similar to a Jodie Foster (think Panic Room) or Jennifer Lopez (a la Enough) type. I think the key would be capturing and depicting the remoteness of the desert setting that severely limits the character’s options in this story.
- Haylen Beck is the pseudonym of Stuart Neville, an acclaimed, Edgar-nominated author whose crime fiction has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and made best-of-year lists with numerous publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. As stated on HaylenBeck.com. This is the first of the author’s books set in the US. The change of setting and slight style shift is the reason for the pseudonym, according to the author.
- Haylen Beck, the author, says a large part of his research came from a road trip through Arizona. I’ve already mentioned that the setting it captured very well, so this is not a surprise to me.
- The setting of the book, Silver Water, AZ, is a fictional place.
Related Books to consider:
- Final Girls, by Riley Sager. This is another book I read recently and couldn’t put down. Read my review
- The Ghosts of Belfast and the rest of The Belfast Novels by Stuart Neville, which is actually by the same author! Neville says that all of his books are thrillers, but the books published under his own name “are mostly set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and lean toward the noir end of the genre.”
- I’m gonna go ahead and plug one of my favorite mystery series and crime fiction authors, Tana French and her Dublin Murder Squad series starting with In the Woods. (The Likeness is my favorite, so far) French’s mysteries are all a very deep dive in to her characters, the protagonists of each book.
- Another great in psychological thrillers: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Have you read Here and Gone? What did you think? Do you have any similar or other recommendations for me and others reading this?
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest feedback and review.