Here and Gone by Haylen Beck is one I couldn't put down!
Audra Kinney has finally found the courage to leave her abusive husband. She and her two kids - Sean and Louise - are driving to California to stay with a friend of Audra's. She's sticking to back roads - her vehicle isn't in great shape and she's sure her husband will have alerted the authorities. When a sheriff pulls her over in Arizona, she figures that's exactly what has happened. Arrested and taken to the local jail, she asks where her children are. And here's the showstopper .....the cops say there were no children with her when they arrested her. Uh-huh. Great premise eh?!
Here and Gone reads like a thriller action movie. (And apparently film rights have been optioned) Beck's crooked sheriff is a piece of work - he's so very easy to hate. His attitude, his posturing and his scheming will make your skin crawl. His sidekick is no better. Audra is a great, likeable protagonist - the reader is firmly in her camp, urging her on.
Audra has been pushed around for years by her husband, but after finally finding the courage to leave her husband, there's no way she's going to accept what's happening to her. For you see, no one believes her - including the FBI. They believe the sheriff. Except for one man - who has also lost his child in the same circumstances......
Here and Gone isn't a character driven book - rather it's the plot that propels this story forward - and it's going mighty fast. There was more than one turn in the story where I just had to put the book down as the tension, intensity and action never lets up. (Here and Gone is not for the faint at heart!) We're alongside Audra as she tries to escape this nightmare and find her kids. There are other points of view as well, from the sheriff, his cohort and the kids. Again, this just ratchets things up another notch.
There were a few plot points that were tied up by the end, but I would have liked more details. But, Here and Gone is getting five stars from me, because I simply couldn't put it down.
Haylen Beck is a pseudonym for a well known crime author, whose books I have enjoyed in the past.