A riveting family drama about the kidnapping of children en route to summer camp, Never Wave Goodbye is a fast-paced and thrilling debut.
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.
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.