No Time to Wave Goodbye, by Jacquelyn Mitchard
It's been 22 years since the Cappadoras suffered one of the most devastating events that can befall a family, the abduction of a child. Three-year-old Ben was snatched from a mall while his mother stood nearby. Miraculously, nine years later, he was found and returned to the family, but he never accepted the Cappadoras as his real family, preferring to think of his abductor's husband as his father. For his parents, Beth and Pat Cappadora, Ben's return might have ended their years of searching and grieving, but his indifference to them and his siblings means that the family remains damaged and in distress. As the story begins, older brother Vincent, a fledgling filmmaker is debuting a documentary about child abduction called, "No Time to Wave Goodbye." His poignant story about Ben and five other families whose children were not returned wins him an Academy Award nomination but puts the Cappadoras back in the spotlight where they are once more the target of a kidnapper. From the opulent excess of Hollywood parties to the dangers of a frozen mountain wilderness, Ben and his family stretch their family survival skills to the limit, both physically and emotionally.
This is the sequel to Jacquelyn Mitchard's first book, The Deep End of the Ocean, which dealt with Ben's abduction and Beth's attempt to cope with his loss. As enlightening as knowledge of the earlier book's plot and characters might be, it is not necessary to have read the first book to appreciate this one. Mitchard is careful to explain relationships, events and family dynamics, so that the listener might not even realize there had been an earlier novel. She has a special ability to show how ordinary people react when faced with extraordinary circumstances. It is easy to relate to her characters because they behave like our neighbors, our relatives, ourselves. No Time to Wave Goodbye is more than a study of human behavior, though, it is an absorbing mystery, with exciting scenes set in the rugged outdoors. In addition to hearing an entertaining story, the listener is treated to a basic lesson in wilderness survival, complete with special gear and folk wisdom. Susan Denaker' narration is superbly effective for both the reflective and the explosive conversations of the characters, and she is able to amp up the suspense from the innocent anticipation associated with the Academy Awards to the mind-numbing terror of life or death situations. Mitchard's extraordinary writing combined with Denaker's outstanding narration make No Time to Wave Goodbye a thoroughly enjoyable audio book.