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Long Time Gone (Hardcover)

Long Time Gone By Charlie Donlea Cover Image
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When DNA results reveal a disturbing connection to the mysterious disappearance of a famous baby nearly three decades ago, a woman’s search for answers draws her to an ominous small town in Nevada and a dangerous web of corruption, power, and lies in this engrossing, propulsive new novel from the internationally bestselling author of Twenty Years Later.

For fans of Alice Feeney, Stacy Willingham, Riley Sager, and Megan Goldin.


“Zigzagging mercilessly between past and present, Donlea keeps up the tension…in a superior thriller.” — Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

On the first day of an elite two-year fellowship under the renowned Chief Medical Officer Dr. Livia Cutty, Sloan Hastings receives a research assignment in the emerging field of forensic genealogy. It’s the exciting, rapidly evolving science behind the recent breaks in high-profile cold cases from the Golden State Killer to the Cameron Young murder, and Sloan enthusiastically begins her research by submitting her own DNA to an online genealogy site. Her goal is to better understand the treasure trove of genetic information contained on ancestry websites, but the results she receives are shocking.

Raised by loving, supportive parents, Sloan has always known she was adopted. But her DNA profile suggests her true identity is that of Charlotte Margolis, aka “Baby Charlotte,” who captured the nation’s attention when she and her affluent parents mysteriously vanished in July 1995. Despite a large-scale investigation and months of broad media coverage, there were never any suspects in the family’s disappearance and the case has been cold for decades.

Racing to stay ahead of the media and true crime junkies ravenous to know what really happened to Baby Charlotte, Sloan’s search for answers leads her to Cedar Creek, Nevada, a small town north of Lake Tahoe. There, the Margolis family’s power and influence permeate every corner of the county, and while Sloan’s birth relatives are initially welcoming, they’re also mysterious and tight-lipped. Not everyone seems happy about Sloan’s return, or the questions she’s asking.

The more she learns, the more apparent it becomes that the answers Sloan seeks are buried in a graveyard of Margolis family secrets. And someone will do anything to keep them hidden . . . 

Do YOU hold the secrets in your blood?
To find out, text “CHARLOTTE” to 775-239-0320.

About the Author

Charlie Donlea is the critically acclaimed, USA Today, Indiebound and #1 internationally bestselling author of propulsive, female-driven thrillers including The Girl Who Was Taken, Some Choose Darkness, Twenty Years Later and Those Empty Eyes. Published in nearly 40 countries and translated into more than a dozen languages, his books have sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone. Donlea has been praised for his "soaring pace, teasing plot twists" (BookPage) and talent for writing an ending that "makes your jaw drop" (The New York Times Book Review). He was born and raised in Chicago, where he continues to live with his wife and two children. Visit him online at

Praise For…

Praise for Charlie Donlea
“Excellent… The ingredients — adultery, fake identities, ulterior motives, forgery, plagiarism, rough sex, unusual chapter breaks, a little murder thrown in here and there — are enticing, and Donlea tells a propulsive tale.” The New York Times on Twenty Years Later

“Zigzagging mercilessly between past and present, Donlea keeps up the tension…in a superior thriller.” Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW for Long Time Gone

“Excellent…Engrossing…This searing look at the legal system, entitlement, and exploitation is not to be missed.” Publishers Weekly, STARRED review for Those Empty Eyes
“Charlie Donlea weaves together seemingly separate mysteries in smart and completely unexpected ways, proving his finesse as a writer. Those Empty Eyes draws readers in from the first heart-stopping pages and doesn't let go.” —Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Local Woman Missing on Those Empty Eyes
“An exciting debut, with all the right touches, captivating from the first page to the last.” —Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author on Summit Lake
“[Plot lines] merge seamlessly into a surprise ending that I didn’t see coming. Author Charlie Donlea has an easy readable style and skillfully adds depth and intrigue to this enjoyable thriller.” Mystery Scene on Twenty Years Later
“Breathtaking pacing and clever plot twists.” Publishers Weekly on Twenty Years Later
“There are a lot of threads in this plot, but Donlea weaves it all together really well…Twenty Years Later is a fast-paced read with just enough depth to keep you invested in what’s going on. If you’re in a reading rut, this is a great rut buster!” —Jeremy Anderberg, Read More Books Substack on Twenty Years Later
“An entertaining thriller…surprises lurking around every corner.” Kirkus Reviews on Twenty Years Later
“Probably the most complex and morally satisfying novel that Donlea has written thus far. Here, he deftly utilizes 9/11 to pinpoint a moment in time that is necessary to the plot while not in any way using the tragedy to manipulate the feelings of readers…Donlea subtly moves away from the 9/11 tragedy and makes his story more about the present-day characters as they battle to find the truth through a sea of lies and false accusations.” —Bookreporter on Twenty Years Later
“Gripping...the book's real strength is the idiosyncratic Rory, who suffers from OCD and is on the autism spectrum, a deeply developed character readers can't help rooting for. Hopefully, she'll be back soon.” Publishers Weekly, Best Books of Summer on The Suicide House
"Charlie Donlea is a superb psychological suspense writer...the book has a fast-paced plot and main characters unlike any typically found in this genre." Seattle Book Review on The Suicide House
"Part 1970s serial-killer thriller and part contemporary Chicago crime novel, this deceptively quick read has something for everyone." Booklist on Some Choose Darkness
"In Donlea's skillful hands, this story of obsession, murder, and the search for truth is both a compassionate character study and a compelling thriller." Kirkus Reviews on Some Choose Darkness
"You can't blame Charlie Donlea if the ending of his novel makes your jaw drop. The title alone Don't Believe It is fair warning that his characters are no more to be trusted than are our initial impressions of them." The New York Times Book Review on Don't Believe It
"Don't Believe It displays excellent craftsmanship, from the way sentences are constructed to the serpentine plot. The prose sings. Sentences are short and punchy. Word choices are specific and impeccable. The story captivates. The central mystery unfurls in layer after layer of falsehoods and deception. It's easy to get hooked on the book's heady cocktail of highly rated television and high stakes subterfuge." ForeWord Reviews
"With a soaring pace and teasing plot twists, Charlie Donlea's debut mystery is like a cool drink of water with a twist of lemon. It's refreshing to find a book that has such a well-developed plot and excellent writing to back it up." BookPage on Summit Lake
“A complex novel of crime and sleuthing with plenty of suspense … a superb storyteller…likeable characters, a harrowing escape, and multiple mysteries. Great characterization, plenty of investigations, some suspenseful moments, and an action-packed ending make this a recommended book.” Mystery & Suspense Magazine on Those Empty Eyes

Product Details
ISBN: 9781496727183
ISBN-10: 1496727185
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: May 21st, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English