Magee fails to deliver on the promising setup of his debut, a contemporary thriller. Soon after oncologist Lena Trainor packs her nine-year-old daughter, Sarah, off to summer camp, loading her into a van with the camp logo and signing release forms with official letterhead, a second camp van pulls up at Lena's Pelham, N.Y., home, and she realizes her child has been abducted. The kidnappers make off with three other children in Westchester County through the same ruse. Wracked with guilt and concerned about her husband's suspicious absence, Lena joins with the other victimized families to figure out their best strategy for a happy outcome. Magee shifts among the perspectives of the parents, the missing children, and the kidnappers, but doesn't manage to make any of the characters particularly engaging. A twist involving the fate of one of the kidnappers reduces the suspense, while the revelation of the person behind the sophisticated plot is a letdown. (June)
From the Publisher
"NEVER WAVE GOODBYE opens with one of the strongest dramatic twists I've read in a long time, but Doug Magee is truly just getting started. In this suburban nightmare scenario that brings to mind the best of Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay, Magee proves himself to be a powerful new voice who separates from the pack by paying as much attention to human relationships as he does plot twists."
—Michael Koryta, author of So Cold the River
"Don't get on the busunless you're looking for a terrifying read. Magee shifts the suspense into drive in chapter oneand then we're off on a chilling ride to scream land."
"NEVER SAY GOODBYE blasts right out of the chute with a terrifying premise and doesn't ease up until the final pages. It's a wrenching first novel that grips the reader personally and emotionally and makes one ask, 'What would I do in similar circumstances?'"
—C.J. Box, Edgar-winning author of Nowhere to Run
“Never Say Goodbye is a moving love story, a searing family drama, a stomach-churning thriller and one hell of a tale well-told. Go ahead and try to put it down.”
—Bryan Gruley, Edgar nominated author of Starvation Lake
"Giving nothing away, this thriller leaves you hanging on till the very end to learn who kidnapped four children on their way to camp and why. The interweaving of the stories of the children, their parents, and the kidnappers creates a delicious knot of mystery and culpability that isn't fully untangled until the redemptive finale."
—Paul Doiron, author of The Poacher’s Son
“A page turner of the first order. Scary and believable.”
—Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of Bodily Harm
Magee, a multimedia professional (photojournalist, screenwriter, producer), pens a debut novel that combines literary and suspense writing in a mostly successful story concerning marriage, doubt and a high-profile kidnapping. When nine-year-old Sarah, the only child of Swedish-raised Lena, a physician, and her husband, David, climbs on board the van that is supposed to take her and three other children to summer camp, Lena already has misgivings: She's not too sure that Sarah will like camp, even though her best friend, Linda, is also going. But Lena and David need some time to repair their marriage, so she reluctantly helps Sarah pack and sends her off when the camp van and driver show up to collect her. Problem is, once Sarah leaves, a second van appears, also ready to collect Sarah. Lena discovers that not only have her daughter and Linda apparently been kidnapped, but so have two boys, the son of a local construction contractor and the child of a minister married to a banking official. Together, the four kids travel deep into the wilderness with a man they know only as Mr. Everett, who blindfolds the quartet and marches them to a remote and primitive cabin in the woods. There, a chance meeting with a hiker changes the equation and, suddenly, what looked like a straightforward kidnapping forces the children to make a decision that could cost them their lives. Magee's characters are well drawn, but his law-enforcement officers often behave implausibly and obvious clues are steadfastly ignored both by cops and other characters. These bothersome lapses distract readers who would prefer to stay caught up in the action-and there is enough action to keep the plot moving forward-but who must reluctantly stop and wonder why no one connected the dots. Magee's got the writing chops, and he knows how to weave a good story, but this premiere effort could have benefited from a little less improvisation and a little more research into police procedure.