A mother’s worst nightmare comes true in this gripping tale by Haylen Beck, Here And Gone (Crown; in stores on Tuesday, June 20).
Audra Kinney is on the run with her son and daughter. She has left her abused husband Patrick in New York and is headed for California. Only problem is she didn’t tell him or the social workers that were checking on her and the kids. She’s been very careful driving across country. Obeying all the laws and being as inconspicuous as she could be. As she drives through a small Arizona town she stops for water and snacks for the kids. She notices a sheriffs car in the parking lot. She is in and out and the sheriff is gone (or so she thinks). On her way to find a place for the night she sees the sheriff’s car behind her and then the lights go on. She asks what she did wrong. The sheriff said her car was over packed. He knows the two kids are in the car as well. He says she needs to lighten the car and offers to take stuff out. When he goes through stuff he finds a bag of pot. She swears it’s not hers.
He then says he has to arrest her and question her. She protests to no avail. She asks what will happen to her kids? He calls her deputy and she comes and takes them to watch them. He has the car towed away as well. In jail Audra demands to know what’s going on and how her kids are. The sheriff says what kids? She demands again to know where her kids are. Soon the FBI is called in and it becomes a national news story. It turns out the sheriff and deputy are crooked and are going to see the kids to a group of millionaires (via a dark web site).
In California a man named Danny sees the story and it brings back memories of his late wife and daughter (who went missing the same way). He goes to Audra and tells her the story and agrees to help her. It turns into a race against time to try and find and save the kids.
The story gives all the flashbacks and backstory of Audra and Patrick and of Danny and his family. It also looks at just how bad the dark web can be and what people are willing to do for money. A story of family, love and survival of young children’s life.