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.
She keeps to the country roads to avoid attention and finds herself on an empty road in the Arizona desert, far from home. Looking for a safe place to stay for the night 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…
This book has everything you need for a satisfying, dig-in, tension-fuelled read. Audra is escaping an oppressive and abusive marriage. Recovering from the aftermath of too many pills for too long, Audra has plucked up the courage to take her 2 young children and flee New York. She is heading for California, a long drive across country, knowing that with her history of drink and drugs and her husband’s substantial money and influence she would stand no chance of keeping her children were she to stay and sue for custody.
Driving through Arizona, she is pulled over by the local Sherriff for a minor traffic infraction. Suddenly her whole world is turned upside down. For the Sherriff finds a bag of marijuana in her boot and calls his deputy to tow her car with the children into town, while he takes her in.
But when they get to the police cell and Audra asks for her children, she is met with stony faces and a denial that she ever had children with her.
Alone in a state she does not know and under caution, Audra can find no-one who will listen to her story and soon she finds herself the subject of national press attention – accused of the murder of her own children.
Here and Gone is the story of how a mother’s determination knows no boundaries. It deals with one of the most heinous of crimes – against children – and it is a novel of grit and revenge with a breath defying opening and a stunning finale.
The characters are very well drawn, the plot is tight, tense and thrilling and the setting authentic and chilling. I found myself holding my breath for large parts of this book.
Very readable, I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller and look forward to more from this author.
Here and Gone is published by Vintage Digital on e-book now and in hardback by Harvill Secker on 13 July 2017
About the author
Haylen Beck is the pseudonym of Stuart Neville, an acclaimed, Edgar-nominated author.
Stuart Neville’s debut novel, THE TWELVE (published in the USA as THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST), won the Mystery/Thriller category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was picked as one of the top crime novels of 2009 by both the New York Times and the LA Times. He has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Barry, Macavity, Dilys awards, as well as the Irish Book Awards Crime Novel of the Year. He has since published six more critically acclaimed books.
His first five novels have each been longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and RATLINES was shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. Juror 8, from the OxCrimes charity anthology, was shortlisted for the CWA Short Story Dagger. THE FINAL SILENCE was shortlisted for the Edgar award.
Stuart’s novels have been translated into various languages, including German, Japanese, Polish, Swedish, Greek and more. The French edition of The Ghosts of Belfast, Les Fantômes de Belfast, won Le Prix Mystère de la Critique du Meilleur Roman Étranger and Grand Prix du Roman Noir Étranger.
Despite this, he is best known for his composition of the theme music for the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast.