Monday, July 26, 2010

Never Wave Goodbye - Doug Magee

As a parent, it was always hard when I let my children 'go away' to overnight sleepovers the first few times, let alone weekend tournaments and across the country meets. Doug Magee has come up with a chilling premise for his first novel Never Wave Goodbye.

What if you put your child on the van for camp, waved goodbye....and then the real van came.........

Four families put their nine and ten year olds on the van for a two week stay at Camp Arno. JD, the personable driver, seems great with the kids. No bells go off with any of the parents. JD delivers the kids not to camp but to his partner Mr. Everett and from there -  they disappear - JD is not even privy to where they're headed.

 A ransom email for one million dollars is delivered to all four sets of parents. Magee teases us, slowly revealing each parent's secrets, flaws and shortcomings through small hints and foreshadowing. Surely none of them could have anything to do with the crime - not their own child? Lena Trainor provides the most frequent point of view for the parents. Out of all the parents, we come to know and empathize with her the most. Her daughter Sarah becomes the 'leader' of the kidnapped children. I was intrigued by these chapters and would have almost liked to see a bit more focus on them. The kidnappers and their point of view was chilling.

Much of the focal point is on the interaction between the parents of each child and each other. Magee has captured and portrayed the pain, anguish and feelings of  parents put in a situation that seems inconceivable.

There were a few inconsistencies that I found a bit jarring. I liked Lena up until page 129 when she argues about one family offering to part of another family's part of the ransom. It seemed out of character with her earlier actions and feelings about getting the children back at any cost. And this one is just a little complaint - I doubt there are many 10 year olds who know how to use Facebook but not how to email.

Never Wave Goodbye is full of twists and turns that build tension and  will have you suspecting almost everyone, including one of the police, until the end.  A strong debut novel and a great page turning read -  I look forward to Magees's next novel.

Read an excerpt of Never Say Goodbye.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for a guest post and giveaway with Doug!!


Anonymous said...

I've seen some notice about this book in the last several weeks. It definitely sounds like one that I will be reading. Thanks for sharing!

Ladytink_534 said...

Oh I don't even have kids and that idea panicks me. I've seen many kidnapping-plot books but not one quite like this.

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I too really enjoyed this book! Silly me read it right before my son went away for camp for a week though! Luckily, the circumstances were VERY different and I had nothing to worry about!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds so good! I could read it now - not so sure I could have handled it when my son was young!

Cackleberry Homestead said...

This sounds like a great premise (interesting, not that kids are kidnapped - that is my one great fear, but I still seem able to read about it). I had an audible credit and found it on there and got it. Can't wait ot listen to it.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

wow that sounds really good. i taught 10 year olds computer's this last year, and honestly some of them have no clue about email, microsoft word, excel, typing or the basics of computers. they know computer games, facebook and myspace. very very sad.

gautami tripathy said...

Great review. I loved this novel.

Here is my review of Never Wave Goodbye.