Since he published his first novel, Delirious, Daniel Palmer has been garnering acclaim from critics and loyalty from fans. Now with the publication of his third stand-alone thriller, Stolen, he is poised to receive his best reviews yet.
Stolen is very much a book of the moment. By tackling issues related to the health insurance industry, Palmer immediately makes a connection with his readers. It won’t take long before even the most honest and law-abiding readers find themselves rooting for the “criminal.”
As the novel starts, we are introduced to John Bodine and Ruby Dawes, a loving couple who finally seem to be living the American Dream. John has a successful online gaming business and Ruby is working towards her dream job as an acupuncturist. The prologue to the book details a horrific mountain-climbing incident involving John and his friends. While John is still working through those events, he has the full support and love of his wife and life companion, Ruby.
However, when Ruby is diagnosed with acute melanoma (skin cancer), it quickly becomes clear that it will be John who must support his wife for a while. Thinking that everything will be fine as long as Ruby just takes the medication that is prescribed, John is shocked to find that a loophole in their insurance policy allows the insurance company to deny the claim and refuse payment.
Even the most jaded reader will feel their heartstrings being tugged as John and Ruby struggle to find alternative solutions to this dilemma. Without spoiling anything, readers should expect to be running for their health insurance files to determine if they themselves are at risk.
As this is a thriller, readers know that something is going to happen that will ratchet up the danger. When John decides to steal the identity of one of his online-gaming subscribers, in order to use the man’s health insurance policy, readers know to expect the worst. But no one would expect the man to call and offer to allow the fraud to continue if John and Ruby will simply follow his instructions. It seems that this man wants to make John a better criminal and the only way to do that is to force him to commit additional crimes with increasing illegality.
Crime after horrific crime is thrust upon John and Ruby, to the point that there is no option but for them to break. Through it all, the reader can not help but want things to work out for this couple. Should they continue to do what the man says? Should they go to the police? Should they run? Every possible solution presents new obstacles. Readers will be turning pages long into the night in order to see how this situation is going to get resolved.
Daniel Palmer’s Stolen is about identity theft, innocence lost and broken trust; but at its core, it is a story about marriage and the lengths people will go to in an effort to save the ones they love.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.