Review: Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Here and Gone
by Haylen Beck

Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.. It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them… Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

This was devastatingly heart breaking and heart pounding. The kind of thriller and mystery and suspense that would grip your heart, make you sweat out of fear and tremble during sleepless nights, be shocked how something as trivial as missing kids could wreak havoc to your way of thinking. That was everything I felt while reading Here and Gone. I thought I wouldn’t wake up from a nightmare.

One moment I was here with my Kindle, sipping coffee and tipping my eyeglasses up on my nose and before I knew it, my mind had gone astray and my heart stopped for this woman who only wanted nothing more than finding her kids who were stolen from her after a car arrest.

The characters, distraught mother Audra Kinney who escaped New York with her children, Sean and Louise, had captivated my heart. They’d been tangled up in a web of conspiracy and sick people who would do unimaginable evil. When she was arrested for possible drug possession, her kids were taken away from her and were deemed missing the moment she was “jailed” by Officer Whiteside. And so began her long insufferable journey to finding Sean and Louise and proving to everybody that she was perfectly sane and harmless. Something that only Danny the Knife Boy believed.

The story had been a roller-coaster one, gripping, terrifying, eye-popping. I couldn’t stop until it was finished. And when I got hold of my sane self, I almost choked out of breath and never wished to experience those moments again. My eyes cried out for Audra and my heart bled for her kids. That’s how emotional and intense this story had been.

All hail Haylen Beck for a remarkable first novel! A definite heart-stopping one from beginning to end!

NOTE: I received this ARC courtesy of Crown Publishing through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Throwback Thursday: A Time To Kill by John Grisham

Throwback Thursday is a new meme created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. I started joining last week and I loved the idea so I am participating again.

This week, I pay tribute to one of my favorite crime-novel authors, John Grisham with A Time To Kill.

 

ATimeToKill

A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance #1) by John Grisham

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young man. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle — and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life…and then his own.

Dateline: Clanton, Mississippi. Early 1980s.

One day, ten-year-old girl Tonya was found almost a breath away from death. Two vicious drunk drug addicts had earlier assaulted, raped and tied her and they thought she was already dead. Fortunately, she survived and the men who violated her were caught and arrested.

That’s where lawyer Jake Brigance came into the picture. Carl Lee Hailey asked for his help to bring the evil thugs to justice. But Brigance noted that Carl was a black man and he was barking on two white supremacists, thus there was a possibility that they could be freed. Pissed and mad about the discovery, Carl took matters into his own hands and killed her daughter’s perpetrators.

Brigance formally took Carl’s murder case, the townsfolk not entirely on their side because, in this quaint little town of Clayton, black people weren’t really welcomed. Thus began the grueling, life-threatening journey of Carl, Tonya, their family and the entire black race.

This was the very first John Grisham courtroom drama that I have read almost 20 years ago after watching the movie adaptation. (Okay, I admit, I had a huge girl crush on Sandra Bullock at that time and I found Matthew McConaughey quite dapper when he was still wearing clothes & Americana suit. Spare me the ridicules because he was totally different back then. LOL)

Anyway, earlier this year, I re-arranged my super disorganized book shelf (or should I say, book box) and found this classic treasure sandwiched in between Sidney Sheldon and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. I couldn’t help but read it again. John Grisham has been one of my early favorite authors, next to Nora Roberts and Sidney Sheldon. A Time To Kill was one of the first books he wrote and he wrote it with intensity, candor and audacity. Grisham clearly knew what he was writing and he took care of people’s race and dynamics in every situation. He made me believe that I was part of the jury and a questionable justice system.

Racism, justice, morality and thought-provoking questions grabbed me from the start. Twenty years ago, I was dazzled by the book and the movie. Twenty years later, Grisham still had the same effect on me. Impressive!

Review: BLOWN by Chuck Barrett


Title: BLOWN (Gregg Kaplan series- book 1)
Author: Chuck Barrett
Published May 19, 2015

Gregg Kaplan is not an ordinary man, but a man with special skills, courtesy of the United States Government.

His assignment is to stay off the grid when he innocently stumbles into a blown witness protection detail in Little Rock, Arkansas. He simply could not walk away from the impending mayhem.

After the dust settles, a mortally wounded Deputy U.S. Marshal makes him promise to personally deliver the witness to a U.S. Marshals Service safe site.

Not just a promise, an oath. A pledge between ex-Army Delta Force comrades.

A trust that could not be broken—Once in, never out.

Kaplan soon suspects the witness he vowed to protect has secrets of his own; secrets that go beyond his testimony for the U.S. government. When he discovers the witness is being tracked, Kaplan teams with a WitSec Deputy U.S. Marshal assigned to recover the witness, but soon realizes some merciless people are dead set on preventing the witness from reaching the safe site.

But the witness has a hidden agenda of his own—One that could cost Kaplan his life.

I was literally blown away!

After an unexpected gunfight, Gregg Kaplan gets involved with a witness from the Witness Security Program and from there, the action never stopped.

Greg Kaplan ain’t no ordinary guy. He’s a badass with a heart riding a Harley-Davidson Fat-Boy. The twist and turns will shock the readers in the most surprising way. Kaplan is the kind of man you would want to lead your security. Kaplan’s character is hardcore, powerful and a force to reckon with.

From one great plot to another this thrilling story doesn’t seem to end. Chuck Barrett never ceases to impress me with all the action-adventure-thriller facets of the book. It’s been a while since I’ve read an action thriller from Barrett and the flow of his stories continue to intensify on every page.  I’ve read one of his other series, the Jake Pendleton political mysteries, and that kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning. With Gregg Kaplan series, I felt the same rush and adrenaline I experienced when perusing Pendleton.  Chuck Barrett is indeed someone to watch out for! Barrett proves again that he’s one of the best thriller writers in this generation!