Review: Never Wave Goodbye by Doug Magee

July 6, 2010 Mystery/Suspense, Touchstone Books 9

  • Hardcover: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (June 1, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1439153981
  • Source: Publisher

Lena Trainor is full of emotions as she puts her nine-year-old daughter, Sarah, on a bus to camp for the first time.  She’s nervous and anxious for her daughter, but her mind is also on her relationship with her husband.  She’s so unfocused that she really doesn’t pay much attention to the camp counselor who picks up Sarah.  Until a few minutes later when the real bus shows up.

She hurridly begins to call the parents of the other children to be picked up.  A total of four children were abducted, including Linda, Sarah’s good friend; Franklin, the son of a local minister; and Tommy, the son of a local contractor.  Within a few hours the parents all receive an email, demanding a $1,000,000 ransom.

When the FBI is called in, secrets are revealed, causing conflict within and between the families. No one knows who to trust, they simply want their child back. When the 24-hour mark passes, they begin to wonder if they will ever see their children again.

I simply cannot believe this is Magee’s first novel.  He reveals a story that is both captivating and chilling.  Losing one’s child is a parents worst nightmare, but the fact that these parents literally (although unwittingly) handed their children over to their abductors compounds it tremendously.  As a parent myself, I couldn’t help but feel the hurt, guilt, and anguish the parents were feeling.  It probably doesn’t help that my son’s away at camp now, right?  Never Wave Goodbye is not only a tale of suspense, but a study in the human condition, in how well one stands up to such a catastrophic event, seen from not only the parents’ eyes but the of the children as well.

My only complaints were very minor.  First, the vehicle used to abduct the children was described several times as being a camp van, but the cover clearly shows a school bus.  I know that oftentimes authors don’t have much say in what their cover looks like, so I don’t blame the author. The second is the maturity of the children.  They are all nine years old, some from pretty affluent families. They seemed be rather naive when it came to technology, such as using a computer, sending email, etc.  My oldest son was able to do these things at a fairly early age, well before the age of nine.  Again, a very minor complaint, but one I thought I should mention.

All issues aside, I do highly recommend this novel.  It’s the perfect thriller for a warm summer weekend…just don’t read it while your child is away at camp!

9 Responses to “Review: Never Wave Goodbye by Doug Magee”

  1. Lenore
    Twitter: lenoreva

    Oooh! Sounds like a great idea for a thriller and I’m glad you liked it. One for the wishlist.

  2. Luanne
    Twitter: LuanneO

    Ohh I’m on tour for this one at the end of the month – the whole premise is v.scary!

  3. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    Sounds like a scary premise for a thriller. My son could do those things on a computer by that age, too, but that wouldn’t spoil the book for me.

    • Jenn
      Twitter: jennbookshelves

      Oh, it didn’t spoil the book for me at all. Just one of those things that sort of bugged me as I read the book.

  4. Jen Forbus
    Twitter: jenforbus

    As soon as I started reading your review, I thought, “wait! Isn’t her son away at camp?” Then you mention it later. Hope it isn’t giving you nightmares now!

    I’d not heard of this one. Thanks Jenn!

  5. SuziQoregon

    Oh this is SO right up my alley. I’ve already checked the library and they’ve got it. YAY. Onto the wish list it goes. I know I can trust your judgement when it comes to this type of book and I’m always happy to discover a promising debut book.