C. J. Box

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye

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Jack and Melissa McGuane have been through the mill when it comes to children. After years of trying for a baby, they find out it is impossible for the couple to produce their desired family. After a lot of soul searching, the couple adopt a beautiful baby girl. Now, nine months later the McGuane's get a phone call which turns their world upside-down. Although the mother signed over her parental rights, the father did not. And now he wants his daughter back.

With a federal judge as his father, the boy seems certain to win any court case – if the McGuane's decided to fight him for Angelina, even they know that their chances are non-existent. And so, they now find themselves under the power of Judge Moreland who has given them three weeks to say goodbye to their daughter. But why do they want the baby after all this time? Why so suddenly and so urgently? Jack isn't going to give up without a fight and decides to do some digging…

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This is the new novel by C. J. Box who seems to be fêted as the new Harlan Coben. This is all well and good but that is a tall order and how does this author compare? The beginning of the story starts well and I was instantly grabbed by the opening of the book. Box immediately grips the reader with suspense from the opening chapter and he conveys well the concern and despair of this innocent couple whose only crime is to want to start a family. The story runs smoothly along with several characters, like cop friend, Cody, who has a reputation of being a maverick cop determined to find a chink in the armour of Judge Moreland. Under intense intimidation, Jack and Melissa count down the days when they have to hand over their daughter. Although a promising start this story does appear to waiver mid-way. There are constant references to how much the couple love their new daughter and how desperate they are to lose her. This does sometimes get a bit repetitive. Also, despite Box being particularly good at racheting up the tension he is let down slightly by a plot twist which is handed to the reader very near the end which has not been alluded to before. In this instance I did feel slightly cheated. However, little niggle aside, the characters were strong and I would be happy to read another book if Cody was to appear (hint, hint!). Despite my comments, I feel Mr. Box does have a very promising writing career in Cobenland as he grows from strength to strength...

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