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!!