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posted: 4/30/2014 1:00 AM

'Desperate' is well-crafted thriller

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  • An act of kindness turns a young couple's life upside down in Daniel Palmer's "Desperate."

      An act of kindness turns a young couple's life upside down in Daniel Palmer's "Desperate."
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/KENSINGTON PUBLISHING

 
By Jeff Ayers, Associated Press

An act of kindness turns a young couple's life upside down in "Desperate," Daniel Palmer's latest peek behind suburbia's facade.

Anna and Gage, a young married couple researching adoption methods, find a woman named Lily crying on the sidewalk. Her boyfriend has just thrown her out of the house because she's pregnant. Lily later visits the couple and tells them she wants them to adopt her baby. Anna and Gage have a spare room, so they let her stay with them and help her as much as they can while awaiting the birth of her child.

Both Anna and Gage have known trauma and grief, so getting a fresh start and having a newborn in their lives would be the perfect way to move on. As Lily becomes more entangled in their daily routines, Gage begins to notice strange inconsistencies in her story, and remnants of the past he's trying to forget are thrust in his face. Anna hears his concerns but thinks he's imagining things. As Gage's paranoia grows, their marriage begins to fall apart.

The story of a houseguest who may be an invader isn't new, but Palmer has a way of telling the story and making it fresh. He can also make readers believe one thing while something entirely different is going on. Gage and Anna's journey is worth taking, and fans of well-crafted Hitchcock-like thrillers will enjoy "Desperate."

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