Constant Fear by Daniel Palmer
From the website: http://www.danielpalmerbooks.com/
When Jake Dent’s dreams of baseball glory fell apart in a drunk-driving incident, his marriage did too. In those dark days, a popular survivalist blog helped to restore Jake’s sense of control. He’s become an avid Doomsday Prepper, raising his diabetic son, Andy, to be ready for any sudden catastrophe.
Andy, now a student at the prestigious Pepperell Academy where Jake works as a custodian, has a secret—he’s part of a computer club that redistributes money from the obscenely wealthy to the needy. Usually, their targets don’t even realize they’ve been hacked. But this time, they’ve stolen from the wrong people: a vicious drug cartel that is coming to get its money back…
Staging a chemical truck spill as a distraction, the cartel infiltrates the Academy, taking Andy and his friends hostage one by one. Jake, hidden inside the school’s abandoned tunnels, knows that soon the killing will start. With his training, and a stockpile of weapons and supplies, he’s the last, best hope these students—including his son—have of getting out alive. But survival is no longer an abstract concept. It’s a violent, brutal struggle that will test Jake to the limit, where there are no rules and no second chances…
As you know, I’ve been reviewing Daniel Palmer’s books since the beginning. I was lucky to win a review copy from him by posting to Facebook (become a fan: https://www.facebook.com/danielpalmerbooks). I’ve enjoyed all his books and the more he writes, the better he gets. I found myself on the edge of my seat and tense while reading, signs of a great suspense novel.
Technology is the underlying center of all his books. In Constant Fear, it’s the fragile world of earning money online. He explains how it works, benefits, faults, and in this case it made me glad I have not entered that world. There is a mix of characters immersed in the world and those who avoid it, creating a conflict where both have to learn important lessons. Jake is a survivalist while his son has the technology talent.
One of Palmer’s talents is building the story. He starts with character development and backstory, so that you feel immersed in the people’s lives. Then you get sucked in and don’t want to stop until you know what happens. Many times as I read, I found myself tense and had to remind myself to relax. As the cartel took over the Academy and the computer club they suspected of stealing their money, it was nonstop action.
What Palmer also does very well is mixing the action with physical and psychological - it’s not just kidnapping and survival, but the reasons why they took action. This book was more violent than his others, but he painted a realistic portrait of why the characters acted the way they did. Often I wonder, what would I do if I were in their situation? (which I hope I never am) And, as always, there was an unexpected twist at the end.
Palmer truly is a great suspense novelist and I am a dedicated fan.