Daniel Palmer is a new to me author. I picked up his latest book - Desperate - on the strength of Harlan Coben's blurb - "If you've somehow missed reading Daniel Palmer, it's time to -- pardon the pun -- get Desperate."
Gage Dekker tragically lost his wife and son in an auto accident. It is at a grief group that he meets Anna, a woman also mourning the loss of a child. The two eventually marry and the thought of a child together is raised. With miscarriage and a lengthy adoption wait, their hopes for a new family together seem destined to not happen. But when they come across Lily, a pregnant young woman crying at a bus stop, it seems like fate has stepped into their lives. Lily does not want her baby and the Dekkers desperately do.
But can you want something so much that you become blind to those niggling feelings of misgivings? In the beginning it seems like Lily is an answer to their prayers. But then Gage does begin to listen to that little voice at the back of his head. But not Anna....
The 'everyday person put into extraordinary circumstances' premise is a favourite of mine. Palmer does a good job building on this style. The small things become larger until Gage himself is in a desperate position, with his life careening out of control.
Palmer's novel is built on plot and action, not on character development. The characters are somewhat one dimensional, despite the emotional baggage they are carrying. But is the plot that is the strength of Desperate. Palmer adds one twist after another, dizzying the reader with the direction the story takes. Palmer did definitely catch me unawares with many of the turns the book took. Some of them are a bit contrived, but add a grain of salt and you 've got a great thriller/suspense book for your beach bag this summer. Read an excerpt of Desperate. You can find Daniel Palmer on Twitter.