Three Weeks to Say Goodbye

Author: C.J. Box

Jack and Melissa McGuane have spent years trying to have a baby. Finally their dream has come true with the adoption of their daughter, Angelina. But nine months after bringing her home, they receive a devastating phone call from the adoption agency: Angelina’s birth father, a teenager, never signed away his parental rights, and he wants her back. Worse, his father, a powerful Denver judge, wants him to own up to this responsibility and will use every advantage his position of power affords him to make sure it happens. When Jack and Melissa attempt to handle the situation rationally by meeting face-to-face with the father and son, it is immediately apparent that there’s something sinister about both of them and that love for Angelina is not the motivation for their actions.

As Angelina's safety hangs in the balance, Jack and Melissa will stop at nothing to protect their child. A horrifying game of intimidation and double crosses begins that quickly becomes a death spiral where absolutely no one is safe.

How far would you go to save someone you love?

C.J. Box has once again written a bone-chilling thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Three Weeks To Say Goodbye

Publishers Weekly (starred review):

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.


Library Journal:

This moving and chilling thriller is hard to put down. Recommended for all libraries.


The Providence Journal:

There are no evil regimes or terrorists in C.J. Box's Three Weeks to Say Goodbye. But it still packs the kind of punch few thrillers, or novels of any kind, ever do, thanks to its gut-wrenching premise.

The great thing about the emotionally shattering Three Weeks to Say Goodbye is that Jack and Melissa, and everyone else, for that matter, are ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. This is a book that poses the question How far would you go?, and answers it masterfully with sensitivity and aplomb.



If you thinking the following sounds more like a Lifetime movie than a thriller -- childless couple adopts a baby only to discover that her birth father wants her back -- C.J. Box would like five hours of your time. Because Three Weeks is not a 10-hankie melodrama. It is a vigilante revenge story out to prove that when families are threatened, human fathers act just like mother bears. That is, blood and blind justice flow abundantly... [Y]ou'll find skilled pacing and well-developed suspense in what might best be described as "Juno with a body count."


Christian Science Monitor:

I read "Three Weeks to Say Goodbye" during what could have been a miserable flying experience, complete with many delays and cancellations. Thanks to C.J. Box, I didn't mind the flights -- not even the guy behind me who used his tray table as a drum set and my head as a cymbal.

When I hit the last page, I wanted more.

Bravo, Mr. Box. You did it again.


The Bookseller (UK):

An American in Harlan Coben mould and much praised by his peers, [Box's book is] a non-stop read right to the end. A tale of corruption, paedophilia, blackmail and worse as at the centre of it is a nine-month-old baby girl. It's quite a tale.


Globe and Mail:

Box doesn't miss a trick in this suspense-filled thriller. As we move on the emotional roller coaster with the McGuanes, it's impossible to stop reading. Save this for a weekend when you don't plan to leave the house.

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.

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.


San Diego Union Tribune:

C.J. Box has put together a crackerjack thriller, relentless in its suspense, peopled with an intriguing cast of characters and loaded with unpredictable surprises. Label it a winner.


Dallas Morning News:

They're the words that send horror into the heart of every parent of an adopted child: "We want her back."

In C.J. Box's heart-shredding new thriller, Three Weeks to Say Goodbye, the dreaded phrase comes when Jack and Melissa McGuane's daughter, Angelina, is 9 months old. The biological father, a teen whose demeanor ranges from subtly nasty to downright threatening, contends he wasn't properly notified of the adoption.

It's all a ruse, of course, and it'd be a fairly simple legal proceeding to declare the McGuanes the legal parents -- if not for Angelina's biological grandfather, a federal judge whose influence throws the McGuanes into serious peril of losing their daughter. But when Melissa runs into his wife and learns that she doesn't even know about the baby, much less of Moreland's plans to bring her home, Jack and Melissa go into offense-as-defense mode.

When the suspense lets up enough to allow emotion to sneak in, Box gets it just right. At a crucial moment involving a member of Garrett's gang, narrator Jack muses, "I didn't really mind if he died. But could I sit there and watch him die? Yes."

The real mystery all along is why a middle-aged judge would be so desperate to bring an infant girl home to a wife who clearly doesn't want her. The resolution of that mystery, and of Three Weeks in general, will have many a reader shuddering, and keeping a much closer eye on their own children. Oh, and it's not what you're probably thinking. Close, but even worse than that.


Billings Gazette:

As in other works, Box creates vivid settings and realistic human interactions. He is adept at making us care about his characters and creates unusual supporters for the couple under siege.

He jacks up the tension and level of fear as Jack sheds layer after layer of civility in a desperate attempt to protect his family.

The tight writing, dead-on characterizations and fierce action that he brought to other novels come together in the wrenching Three Weeks To Say Goodbye.


Madison County Herald:

C.J. Box hits another high mark in suspense with Three Weeks To Say Goodbye. His writing is pure, homespun and high-speed, weaving good citizens against monsters disguised as good guys.


Literary Review (UK):

In this desperate situation Jack realizes that he must do anything, however illegal, dangerous, violent and frightening, to keep his daughter away from these people. The hero's predicament evokes instant sympathy and the writing is taut and evocative.


The List (UK):

He's a rising star of crime writing in the States, but it’s only a matter of time before CJ Box explodes onto the UK’s radar, thanks in no small part to this storming British debut. Three Weeks to Say Goodbye is a smart place to start for any newcomer to the award-winning author’s work, as it tells of a plucky young couple's attempt to take on the power and might of the corrupt US justice system in a bitter fight to keep their recently adopted daughter.

These splendidly rendered characters are irrevocably changed by a series of traumatic events; trouble brews and ultimately unfolds through tense, punchily written paragraphs to reveal an even more sinister undercurrent. It’s family and friends versus power and money here, as the lines between right and wrong are blurred in the most clever and intoxicating of ways, time running out with each frantic turn of the page.