Huffpost Books
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jackie K. Cooper Headshot

Stolen Is a Gruesome But Intriguing Story

Posted: Updated:

Daniel Palmer is quickly making his name known in the world of suspense thrillers. His first two novels, Delirious and Helpless, helped bring in fans and his newest book, Stolen, should solidify that base. This latest story is even more suspenseful and chilling than the first two and will have you turning the pages as quickly as possible even though you don't want to know what terrible event is going to happen next.

John and Ruby are a couple who have their future mapped out. He has a growing online gaming company while she is learning about acupuncture and other health remedies of that sort. They are not wealthy by any means but they are getting by, and they know their future is going to be bright. But then the bottom drops out of their lives.

Ruby discovers she has cancer. It is treatable and perhaps curable but she needs a certain type of medication. The generic brand is on the market but is not available due to a shortage. Their insurance company will not pay for the non-generic treatment because there is a generic on the books. It is a malevolent catch-22 but it is the quandary they are in.

In order to get the medicine John steals the identity of one of his gamers. This leads him into a perilous situation as the man whose name he took now engages John and Ruby in a deadly game of how far they will go. This involves making them participate in a series of criminal acts. If they refuse then someone innocent dies.

Palmer lets his creative juices flow freely as he takes us into this insane world. It is a violent place and he does not spare us from the gruesome details. Sometimes the situations border on nauseating.

Daniel Palmer certainly has creative writing skills but there are weaknesses he will probably outgrow as he progresses as a novelist. Some of his plot points are beyond the realm of believability and make the story less appealing than it otherwise would have been. Plus his characters do not seem to be consistent in their actions. Granted they are caught in a horrific trap but some of what they do is not true to how their characters are drawn. Finally, the epilogue to this story is its weakest point. It is nice to have a summation of sorts but this presentation is just annoying.

Still you have to admire Palmer's talent. He knows how to hook the readers and reel them in. He also keeps the rapid pace of the plot going from beginning to end, and makes you scared to turn to the next page. More seasoned authors could learn a thing or two from him in that respect.

Stolen is published by Kensington Press. It contains 416 pages and sells for $25.00.

www.jackiekcooper.com