Review

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye

by C. J. Box

An adoptive couple, Jack and Melissa McGuane, are the subjects
of THREE WEEKS TO SAY GOODBYE. C.J. Box’s latest stand-alone
thriller is as chilling and riveting as anything he has ever
written.

The McGuanes have had their daughter, Angelina, in their home
for several months when some unexpected news rocks their world.
Garrett Moreland, Angelina’s birth father, never signed off
on the adoption papers and has decided that he wants to raise
Angelina. Garrett, a surly teenager who would be classified as a
dirtbag under the most charitable of definitions, seems ill-suited
to assume the responsibilities of a father and even less interested
in doing so. He is being prodded into adulthood by his dad, a
powerful U.S. District Court judge in Colorado who is insisting
that Garrett live up to his responsibilities, notwithstanding the
disruption it will bring into the lives of all involved. Judge
Moreland gives the McGuanes three weeks to say goodbye to their
daughter but is firm in his position that Garrett will assume
parenting duties after that time.

Jack and Melissa are understandably devastated, but they are
also puzzled. Garrett has no desire to see his daughter and seems
more intent on harassing them with his street gang friends than
taking on any responsibilities of fatherhood. Jack is not
interested in letting events unfold in their due course. He advises
the reader within the first few paragraphs of the book that he is
not blessed with a genius-level intelligence or a first-rate
education. He does, however, work harder than everyone around him,
even when he doesn’t have to. He puts that work ethic to the
test when he begins investigating the reasons why the Morelands
suddenly want Angelina back.

Jack may not be smartest guy in the world, but he is not without
resources. Among them are his lifelong friends Cody and Brian, two
very different people. Cody is a local cop who is a loose cannon, a
borderline alcoholic whose botched investigation of a notorious
pedophile resulted in the fiend being set free. Brian is a
successful real estate developer with enormous financial resources
and networking abilities. Between the three of them, they uncover a
puzzling trail leading back into the past that reveals not only a
shocking secret but also a plot that, if carried out, will put
Angelina in terrible danger.

Box gets better and better with each novel, whether it be a part
of his Joe Pickett mythos or one of his stand-alone works. THREE
WEEKS TO SAY GOODBYE, from its opening sentences to its concluding
paragraphs, is impossible to put down. The clock that Box sets to
ticking at the beginning gets louder and louder with each page,
leaving his readers well out beyond the edge of their chairs by the
book’s midpoint. Don’t start this one without leaving
yourself time to finish in one sitting.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye
by C. J. Box

  • Publication Date: January 6, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312365721
  • ISBN-13: 9780312365721