cover image Three Weeks to Say Goodbye

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye

C. J. Box, . . St. Martin?s Minotaur, $24.95 (340pp) ISBN 978-0-312-36572-1

Bestseller Box (Blue Heaven ) explores an adoptive parent’s worst nightmare in this compelling stand-alone thriller. Jack McGuane, an employee of Denver’s convention and visitors bureau, and his wife suddenly discover that demonic Garrett Morland, the birth father of their dearly loved nine-month-old daughter, Angelina, didn’t sign away his parental rights. Garrett and his powerful father, a sitting federal judge, give the McGuanes three weeks to return Angelina. In this bleak scenario, Box eschews facile sentimentality and meticulously builds pitch-perfect characterizations, notably that of McGuane, who grew up with uneducated but hard-working parents on a series of Montana ranches. Box’s equally convincing villains—gangsters, murderers, child pornographers—each provide a different face of evil, and each individual has to decide how best to get at the truth. As usual, Box blessedly reasserts that whatever the cost, such truth exists, and ordinary folk have the strength to find it. Author tour. (Jan.)