HERE AND GONE - by Haylen Beck

HERE AND GONE - Haylen Beck.
Published: 2017 - Harvill Secker
Pages: 320.
Genres: Adult / contemporary fiction / thriller / mystery
Triggers/Content Advisory: Sexual references, infrequent bad language, and strong violence.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Audra has finally left her abusive husband. She's taken the family car and her young chidlren, 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...... 

This book. This amazing, incredible, brilliant book that literally had me hooked and in love from the very first page. And I am begging you to read it, because it is seriously one of the best thrillers I have ever, ever read.

You will not be able to put this book down. I started it late at night and by 1 o'clock I was on page 200, only then leaving the rest till morning because I was sobbing and in need of a breather. It is addictive in every sense of the word, and you are propulsed from page to page by sheer spikes of chilling anticipation and love for the characters who are being hurt. The tension is almost unbearable, the suspense breathless. This book brings a nightmare scenario to terrifying life and everything that can go wrong, does. It's an impossible situation. But Beck handles it perfectly, and the revelations and sprinklings of information and back story along the way are impeccably placed.

There's a ton of action. It isn't just chilling dialogue and threats, there's actual physical violence that is just as sharp and riveting as every other aspect. The ending, especially, is a complete knock-out and delivers superb action and energy. It's also realistic in the way that it doesn't tidy everything up and answer everything; it's definitely satisfying, but it isn't all hugs and kisses. It's realistically uncertain, while still giving satisfaction.
But I admit I did want to see Patrick and Margaret suffer for treating Audra the way they did. It's realistically open-ended, but still slightly disappointing.

This is also the kind of book that deals with subjects very close to my heart. I was sobbing, shaking, fury steaming off me as I read about the horrific abuse - physical and psychological - that Audra endures. I kid you not when I say I literally, literally, wanted to jump into the pages and pummel those wicked men bloody. It effected me deeply, and I was completely invested in the story.

"Listen to me," Audra said. "Listen good. You don't get to touch me anymore. Not ever. You don't own me, or my children. We are not your possessions. You never really loved our children, but I do. Now, I'm going to find Sean and Louise. You can either help me or get out of my way. Which is it?"

The setting is so strong. The town reminds me so much of one from those cowboy Western films: run by a cruel Sheriff, with a diner, with a cold, dank prison, significantly isolated from civilisation.....It's gorgeous in its Wild West atmosphere, and just as chilling.

The writing is absolutely excellent. It's razor-sharp, witty, chilling, and perfectly structured. The writing flawlessly executes the gripping story.
Not to mention the equally excellent dialogue, which is perfect in itself. It wastes no time, brings out characters' personalities, and sweeps you along its twisted tightrope from start to finish. You're kept lurching and reeling from the dialogue just as much as you are from the rest of the story.

Margaret took Patrick's hand in hers. "Now you two," she said, "isn't it time you gave me another grandchild? We can't have Sean growing up an only child, like Patrick."
Patrick blushed and smiled as Margaret squeezed his knee. And Audra caught a glimpse of her function in the marriage, then. She shivered and counted the minutes until she could go home and retreat to the haze.

The characters are brilliant. Everyone is vivid and three-dimensional, and that's easy to see from the moment they appear on the page.
I love Sean and Louise. It takes a lot for me to like young kids in books because often they're written badly and come across silly and annoying, but Sean and Louise are so lovable and inspiring. The way Sean looks after his little sister and takes drastic measures to save her absolutely consumes my heart. His bravery, intelligence, and her lovable innocence are impossible to resist.

Danny is also fantastic. I love the anti-hero vibes coming off him and how he's been shaped by his own dark past. I enjoyed his interactions with Louise, and I'm so glad the story ends with a hopeful future for him, too. It's also awesome that he's Asian.
Audra is exactly the kind of heroine I thrive to root for. She's damaged, broken, flawed, and tied catastrophically to the demons in her own past. But she's also a mother - a mother who will, and does, risk everything for her children, who puts their safety before her own, and braves an uncertain future to get out of the abusive relationship she's in. She's extremely admirable and she never stops fighting. More than that, she grows so much throughout the course of the story and discovers a strength she never knew she had.
I love her character so much.

Here and Gone is an emotional roller coaster that will leave you breathless and with adrenaline spiking throughout your body. Packed with rich, dynamic, realistic characters, riveting dialogue and consuming suspense, it is an unforgettable novel in every way.



  1. Great review, Amy! I can feel the story coming to life through your review. You know I love a good thriller, so definitely adding this one to my TBR!

    1. Thanks Angela! Haha yay, I'm so happy to hear that :)
      Yay! Hope you get to read it soon!

  2. This sounds like such a powerful book! Great review!

  3. Wow, this sounds like an excellent thriller! You bring up a lot of points that make me want to pick this one up. Great review, Amy!