Daniel Palmer belongs to the cache of crime fiction writers – like Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay – who excel at crafting tales about regular people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. With writing that is sharp and incisive, Daniel Palmer is once again sharing his talent with the masses with his latest release, Forgive Me.
Forgive Me tells multiple stories which intersect with and elucidate each other. At the center is Angie DeRose, a private investigator specializing in runaway teens. She and her most trusted employees work tirelessly to help and protect endangered children. But when her mother passes away unexpectedly, Angie is thrown into a mystery she didn’t even know existed. Within the belongings stowed away in the attic, Angie finds an aged photograph of a little girl with the words “May God forgive me” written on the back, in her mother’s handwriting. The concern is that Angie has no idea who the girl is; and if her Dad knows anything, he certainly isn’t sharing it with Angie.
Meanwhile, Nadine is a sixteen-year-old who is neglected at home and chooses to run away. Her path thrusts her into the realm of some very unsavory fellows. It will not shock readers that this unfortunate decision leads to pornography, prostitution, and drugs. What will be a pleasant surprise is how Daniel Palmer allows readers into Nadine’s world via a diary she secretly writes when alone at night. So convincing is the voice of this teen girl and her most intimate writings, readers will wonder if it was possible that Palmer wrote those sections as well.
Needless to say, Angie gets involved in the investigation into Nadine’s case. Many readers will start out interested in one of these stories or the other, but by mid-way through the novel, both plotlines ratchet up the suspense and will easily keep readers turning the pages. A third strand of the story – the long ago disappearance of Angie’s childhood friend – gets mentioned often enough to pique interest.
Stories such as this require that readers have a stake in the outcome for the main character and in Angie DeRose, Daniel Palmer has crafted a woman who feels very real. Angie is not perfect, but her heart is always in the right place. It is virtually impossible not to empathize with her questioning nature and cheer on her advocacy. Daniel Palmer is known for his stand-alone novels, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Angie pop up in another story down the road.
Forgive Me is a quick read filled with an insightful – albeit depressing – analysis of the plight faced by homeless runaways. Along side that, it also exposes the strain and danger of keeping life-long secrets. Settle into a comfy chair, you are not going to want to move until you know the outcome.
Disclaimer: A 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.