Toni's Review of Helpless by Daniel Palmer ***5 Stars***

In Daniel Palmer's electrifying, emotionally charged thriller, a high school soccer coach finds his world upended by shocking accusations and long buried secrets. . .

Nine years after he left Shilo, New Hampshire, former Navy Seal Tom Hawkins has moved back. It's not an auspicious homecoming. Tom has returned to raise his teenage daughter, Jill, following the murder of his ex-wife, Kelly. Despite Tom's efforts to stay close to Jill by coaching her high school soccer team, Kelly's bitterness fractured their relationship. But together, they are on the mend, and life in Shilo is starting to shape up into something approaching normal.

Normal doesn't last long. Shilo's police sergeant makes it clear that Tom is his chief suspect in Kelly's death. In the days that follow, an anonymous blog post alleges that Coach Hawkins is sleeping with one of his players, Internet rumors escalate, and incriminating evidence surfaces on Tom's own computer and cell phone. Soon the FBI and police are investigating Tom for what appears to be a very disturbing and unprecedented series of crimes.

Someone is out to frame Tom--someone capable of destroying everything he loves without laying a finger on him. As he races to prove his innocence, he must unravel a tangle of lies about his family, the friends and colleagues he thought he knew, and about his past. For deep amid the secrets he's been keeping--from a troubled tour of duty to the reason for his ex-wife's death--is the truth that someone will gladly kill to protect. . .


What makes a good book for me?  I think most of all it is really three things; characters, continuity and plot. 

I want likeable characters.  I need to be able to connect with them and see them as real people.  The book must also have solid continuity.  I don’t like to be reading a book and have to stop and think - no wait, they were not there or nope that never happened.  Then lastly a great book needs a smooth intriguing plot.  No matter how real or farfetched; I need to believe in it, feel it and breathe it.  Helpless had all this and more!

This book kept me up late and I mean really late.  I kept telling myself one more chapter, but the way Mr. Palmer wrote his novel, I couldn’t find a great stopping point.  At 6am, yes you read that right, I simply had to say ENOUGH!  I was absolutely engaged from the beginning of the book to the very end. 

One would think that Tom had an ideal start to his adult life.  He worked hard and became a Navy SEAL, reconnected with his high school sweetheart and now has a baby on the way.  Unfortunately, that was the beginning of the end for him.  From that moment forward, Tom’s life would never be ideal again.  After their divorce, his ex-wife Kelly took every opportunity to turn his baby girl against him.  Now that she is dead, he needs to work especially hard to earn his daughters trust and love.  All they have is each other, but when they should be grieve the loss of Kelly’s life; they are thrust into a conspiracy of lies and betrayal.  Can they repair their already shaky relationship?

Tom is an innocent man whose life has been ruined by falsehoods.  He has no idea why these awful things are happening to him, but he will do anything to prove his innocence and protect his daughter.  Helpless has a scary realism to it that should not be ignored.  In our current world of technology, anyone is at risk to the perils that Tom faces.  It’s a reality that any one of us could face at any time.  Seemingly innocent actions can have lifelong terrible repercussions.  One message or photo can change a person’s life forever.

While Tom’s ordeal was on the extreme side of things, this could happen to anyone.  Not just the horrible events that happened to him, but also to the innocent children.  Mr. Palmer has written an engaging and captivating tale.  He kept me guessing and wondering what could happen next to this poor man.  Within society it truly is a misconception that we are innocent until proven guilty and what happened to Tom is a prime example.

Helpless is an amazing rendition about perseverance, tenacity, faith and love.  Tom’s fight was a long arduous journey, but he has the heart of a loving father and the ferocity of a warrior.  Helpless is a story for anyone who devoted to technology.  This is an eye opener to the scary possibilities of our current reality.  So sit back and take a look at what there is to fear.

Thanks for reading! - Toni


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