Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Guest Review: Desperate by Daniel Palmer

Cheryl returns to review Daniel Palmer's fourth book.

“Gage Dekker still blames himself for the car accident that claimed the lives of his first wife and young son. Then he meets Anna, who understands grief all too well. Within a year, Gage and Anna are married, his career is thriving, and both feel ready to become parents once more.

After a heartbreaking miscarriage, they begin the long adoption process, until fate brings Lily into their lives. Young, pregnant, and homeless, Lily agrees to give her baby to Gage and Anna in exchange for financial support. It’s the perfect arrangement for everyone. Seeing his wife’s happiness and optimism for their new life and child, Gage begins to feel a sense of hope he thought he’d lost forever.

But something isn’t right once Lily enters their lives. At work and at home, Gage is being sabotaged, first in subtle ways, then things take a more sinister turn. Every attempt he makes to uncover the truth only drives a wedge between him and Anna. Even as he’s propelled toward an unthinkable choice to save his marriage and his job, Gage discovers that the most chilling revelations are still to come…”

This is Palmer’s fourth book, and my fourth review of his books. He is cemented in my “I-really-look-forward-to-the-next-book” author list. And he doesn’t disappoint. I’ve mentioned his growth in writing in my previous reviews, and he continues to get better. When I started Desperate, I had no idea what it was about. I received an advanced copy which has quotes and blurbs but no description. As I read, I was continually stumped as to where the book was going, just the way I like a mystery.

What Palmer excels at is taking ordinary people and putting them in situations that push them to their limits, and then beyond. For happy newlyweds who want a baby, the coincidental meeting of a young, pregnant woman with no place to go is almost too good to be true. But as the planning begins, little things seem a little off to Gage. But his desire to start a family with his beautiful bride leads him to ignore his qualms. Until certain incidents force him to make a life-changing choice.

Like his other books, Palmer continually surprised me in this book. He is talented in leading you in a specific direction. As an avid mystery reader, I know that authors purposely divert you down a different path. Palmer does that very well, but always spins things into a different and unexpected direction and up until the very end, there were twists and turns. I like how he does this because even though there may be little hints, there’s often revelations that seemingly come out of nowhere but are very believable. Gage continually makes choices that dig him deeper, even though he knows he might never get out. As you experience Gage’s situation with him, you think about what you would do in the same situation.

Desperate is a fast-paced read, which I pretty much finished in a day. As always, the biggest disappointment is knowing that I have to wait a year until the next one. I put Daniel Palmer in the same group as authors like Harlan Coben, Linwood Barclay, Thomas Perry, and Rick Mofina. He’s an author that is addicting and rarely (if ever) writes a book that doesn’t leave me wanting more.
And check out my reviews of Stolen, Delirious, and Helpless.


Marce said...

And this is the reason why I love blogging, so many different opinions.

You and I usually have similar styles of reading so shockingly we are completely different on this one Michelle, lol

I found it all completely unbelievable, my review.

Marce said...

Oops, I just realised this is a guest review, not your review, sorry :-)

Now I wonder if you will read this and your thoughts.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Thanks Cheryl!