Never Wave Goodbye

Never Wave Goodbye

3.3 12
by Doug Magee

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An innocent rite of passage turns into a nightmare for four couples, exposing their secrets and risking the lives of their children.

After passing the bittersweet parental milestone of putting her daughter, Sarah on the bus to sleep-away camp for the first time, Lena Trainor plans to spend the next two weeks fixing all the problems in her marriage. But


An innocent rite of passage turns into a nightmare for four couples, exposing their secrets and risking the lives of their children.

After passing the bittersweet parental milestone of putting her daughter, Sarah on the bus to sleep-away camp for the first time, Lena Trainor plans to spend the next two weeks fixing all the problems in her marriage. But when a second bus arrives to pick up Sarah for camp, no one seems to know anything about the first bus or its driver.

Sarah and three other children have been kidnapped, and within hours of the crime the parents receive an email demanding $1,000,000. When the specifics of the delivery terms throw suspicion on the parents of two of the abducted children, some of the parents begin to turn on each other, exposing fault lines in already strained marriages and forging new alliances. While the kidnapped children are living their parents' worst nightmare, the police are trying to sort the lies from the truth in conflicting stories and alibis that seem to be constantly changing.

Deftly weaving the emotional story that pits the parents of the missing campers against the police—and each other—with the fate of the kidnapped children hanging in the balance, Never Wave Goodbye will keep readers holding their breath until the last page.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 bus—unless you're looking for a terrifying read. Magee shifts the suspense into drive in chapter one—and then we're off on a chilling ride to scream land."
—R.L. Stine

"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

Kirkus Reviews
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.

Product Details

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8.54(w) x 5.66(h) x 0.85(d)

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Meet the Author

Doug Magee has been a photojournalist, screenplay writer, children’s book author, death penalty activist, film producer and director, war protestor, college football player, amateur musician, and the basis of the Aidan Quinn character in Meryl Streep’s “Music of the Heart.” This is his first novel. He lives in Spanish Harlem with his wife and two teenaged children.

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Never Wave Goodbye 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for summer reading!!! It takes place at the beginning of summer, as four families are preparing to send their kids off to sleep-away camp, and four kids are preparing for their first sleep-away adventure. Never could any of them imagine, however, the terrifying events which will follow! You'll find yourself going through a whole range of emotions as you read this wonderful first novel. You'll be terrified for the kids, and then you'll cheer them on as they solve one problem after another. You'll empathize with the agony of the parents as you try to figure out just exactly who is responsible for what. The one thing you won't be able to do is to put it down until you've finished it! A perfect summer read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really a must read for anyone who likes a thoughtful mystery. I would have giving it 5 star read but. The part about the kids getting home was sort of left out. But there again I am a dreamer.
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KenCady More than 1 year ago
Never Wave Goodbye is an excellent read although somewhat predictable. The pleasure is in the characters and their emotions- well drawn by the author. I kept to every page, resisting the urge to skip to the end to see whodunit. It may make some parents skittish to read of the trauma other parents go through, but I recommend making the effort. Just one question for the author-Why did the Walker father say that he should have thought of that before?
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Feeling sad but proud that her nine years old daughter Sarah is going to spend two weeks at sleep away camp with her best friend Linda, the distraught mom pays little attention to the vehicle or driver picking up her child. Lena waves goodbye to Sarah and goes inside their home pondering how to get her marriage to David back on track. Soon a second van arrives to pick up Sarah. By the time the confusion is cleared up, Sarah, Linda and two boys Tommy and Franklin are the victims of a kidnapping. The FBI leads the investigation, but has little to go on. The kidnappers demand one million. In the woods, one abductor Mr. Everett is with the four frightened kids until he has an accident after a chance encounter with a hiker. The kids are alone struggling to survive. Sarah becomes the de facto leaders of the quartet Never Wave Goodbye is a high octane suspense wrapped around several related (by the abductions) family dramas. Doug Magee gets inside the hearts and souls of the children and their parents; each sharing in common a fear they will not see one another ever again. Although the clues are obvious so that law enforcement seems inane and to a degree the parents (one can claim trepidation and grief for the latter), readers will relish this gut-wrenching human drama. Harriet Klausner