Judith D Collins
By Daniel Palmer
Publication date: 4/29/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars
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.
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. 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.
Wow, not sure where to start, as DESPERATE has so many twists and turns, you are not prepared for what comes next, and more importantly questioning each person (are they real, fake, an illusion)? What is true and what is a lie? A skillfully crafted mystery filled with suspense and intrigue! First, Daniel Palmer knows how to create a plot(s). For there to be a story, something has to move or change from point A to B. DESPERATE was A to B and back ten times. An intense page-turner you cannot put down-- utterly unpredictable! One obstacle after another. Readers may think this read another Hand That Rocks the Cradle; however, so much more-drug dealers, murder, and corporate espionage. Secondly, Peter Berkrot, the narrator of the audiobook was outstanding---his voice was the perfect match for this chilling thriller. Buy the audiobook-you will not be disappointed! DESPERATE: Feeling, showing, or involving a hopeless sense that a situation is so bad, as to be impossible to deal with. An act or attempt— tried in despair, or when everything else has failed; having little hope of success. Extremely bad, serious, or dangerous. (Adjectives describing this entire book). The main character Gage, blames himself for the car accident that claimed the lives of his first wife and his seven-year-old son, Max. He is on Adderall, and yes, addicted (a drug for ADD) — even though he does not have ADD – it helps him put his grief aside, in order to concentrate. (loved his sarcasm) Gage Dekker works at Lithio Systems, a maker of lithium-ion batteries in Waltham, Mass., doing quality assurance for a revolutionary new product. The loss of his seven-year-old son and first wife to a drunk driver still haunts him, but he’s tried to move on with a new spouse, Anna, a self employed management consultant. Gage meets Anna at the grief support group and shortly thereafter they marry, as they both bond over their grief. She yearns for a child as she lost her son, Kevin (from a rare blood disease), and they are not able to have a baby--so they begin a long adoption process. In walks Lily—young pregnant, and homeless (so convenient). She says her boyfriend does not want the baby, and kicked her out. Gage and Anna offer her an apartment in their home, and take her under their wing, offering financial support. She agrees to let them adopt the baby. The truth behind Lily’s offer is both complex and logical--hold on to your seat, as you get ready for the ride of your life! However, Lily does not care for Gage, and the set-up begins, making him look bad in front of Anna. He feels there is something wrong with this woman, and begins suspecting her and questioning every move as things go missing. He senses danger; however, his wife is so happy, as she feels fate has brought them their much wanted baby. Gage brings in his best friend, Brad (plumber)—loved this guy; to check out Lily’s aurora. His friend says he does not see anything. (Brady continues to connect Gage with his son, Max from the great beyond—he possesses powers, sensing someone’s energy, presence and the ability to see possible negative energy). For some reason Gage is being sabotaged – not only at home, but work. Things go missing, and he knows Lily is behind it. This girl is pure evil; however, Anna likes her. Anna continues to tell him to get a grip, as she does not want him to scare away their means for this baby. It is as though Lily wants to come between Gage and his wife. Even Anna’s crazy mom with dementia, says she knows this girl? Then her crazy ex-con boyfriend, Roy shows up as the evil plan heats up! Gage thinks he understands what they want – they need money, because Roy says no one will hire him since he is an ex-con (armed robbery). However, Brad does sense the darkness from Roy. Gage wants to get rid of them, baby or not, at any cost. As Anna and Lily get closer, the more Gage is outraged – the more pills he pops. He wants to protect Anna from this lurking evil. When Lily’s boyfriend Roy demands money for them to leave, Gage does not have this kind of money ---so the blackmail begins with all sorts of planted evidence—a total set up. (these two are soooo bad). Since he does not have the money, Roy wants Gage to assist with a drug bust. How far will Gage go, to hold on to his marriage and get rid of this nightmare? Murder? Trade secrets? In the meantime, many weird things start happening at work, as well as home--the battery testing. Adam, Matt, and the entire team note a demo turned bad and they cannot determine what causes the fire. Finally Gage realizes that someone sabotaged the demo, and when he learned who and why, he would use it to his advantage. What was the motive behind infiltrating into Gage’s life? Gage begins to think he is losing it. What will Anna say if he does manage to get rid of these two, and the baby she desires? With his company’s financial state on the line, while trying to please his wife, Gage puts his morals and ethics aside to do what he has to do, when he learns Anna has been kidnapped. However, this is only the beginning. When you think you have solved the mystery, Palmer pulls out another, and another twist, which makes you wonder how criminals seek their victims. How do they find a way into these lives and begin to destroy them piece by piece? How deep does this go and how far does it expand? Was this a chance meeting or a planned scheme? I have never seen so many turns, continuing to the dramatic conclusion, for an enthralling mystery novel. Readers will be caught up in this devious web of deceit--every character is desperate in one way or another, and this desperation leads to mistakes. Will Gage be able to let go of his grief and addictions? DESPERATE, told from Gage’s voice, offers readers an inside view into his fear, frustration, thoughts, and desperation. In a beguiling tale of deception and betrayal—where nothing is as straightforward as it appears to be—