- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Kensington House Pub Ltd (April 29, 2014)
- ISBN-10: 0758293437
- Source: Kaye Publicity
Gage Dekker lost his first wife and young son in a car accident for which he blames himself. He and his second wife, Anna, were married in less than a year and are now struggling to have their own child. Anna, like Gage, understands grief, having lost her own son. After a failed miscarriage that devastates them both, they begin the long process of adoption. Anna doesn’t want to go the traditional route of going through an agency so instead the couple begin the arduous task of creating a web site in an attempt to find a prospective mother.
It is by coincidence that the meet Lily. Alone and homeless, Lily states she saw their web site and is more than willing to give them her baby in exchange for financial support. It seems like a perfect opportunity and Gage and Anna finally have something positive and hopeful to look forward to.
Soon after Lily moves into the other half of their split-level home, Gage begins to suspect something shady about Lily. He attempts to relay his feelings to Anna, but she’s already formed a bond with Lily and any accusations are quickly shunned. The already strained relationship they have is further tested and Gage begins to feel like he has lost control of every aspect of his life. Forced to do the unthinkable in order to safe his family and career, Gage can’t even begin to contemplate what is yet to come.
I’ve been a fan of Daniel Palmer’s books for some time. I devour them as soon as I can get my hands on them. One of the key themes in his novels are individuals who are pushed to their limit and must fight the unthinkable to maintain control of their lives. They involve everyday, run of the mill kind of individuals, forced to do extraordinary things in order to save everything that is dear to them. I’m not sure what this says about me that I enjoy this sort of thing (Palmer actually writes about this here). All that said,Desperate is a truly outstanding novel that really forces the reader to contemplate what they would do in Gage’s position. It is a novel that lives up to its title, for Gage is quite desperate to keep a handle on his life, despite the odds and risks. While there were times I wanted to knock some sense into him, Gage was a truly genuine and believable character still suffering from the loss of his first wife and child. Due to this, he may have been a big ignorant in what was happening around him, only discovering the truth once it is too late.
Without giving away too much, I must touch on the ending. Wow. Just when I thought I knew the path Palmer was planning to take, in comes a completely different path out of left field. I was stunned, actually rereading pages to make certain I got it right. I then went to the beginning of the novel and reread several chapters and finally, the light bulb above my head illuminated and it all came together so perfectly. I had to stop and clap at Palmer because that twist was absolutely brilliant. I was already a huge fan of the novel up to that point, but that move gave me a completely different level of appreciation for Palmer’s talent.
Bottom line: Desperate is a must-read for fans of intense, action filled thrillers. Fans of Star Trek in particular will geek out at a few scenes (like I did!). Highly recommended!
Other books by Daniel Palmer: