There are approximately 21 million children missing in the United States, according to Daniel Palmer. In a heartrending novel, he brings together two scenarios involving children separated from their parents by either family members or strangers.
Angie DeRose has an investigative practice involved with attempting to find lost children and uniting them with their families. She has developed a reputation for expending the energy and time in logical hunts for the missing.
The first scenario Palmer introduces is Carolyn Jessup, a distraught mother coming to Angie’s office in order for her to find her missing daughter, Nadine. Nadine, in the process of running away from home, has been caught up by a group that uses her as a sex slave. Her degradation and the horror of living this life are brought out via the use of a secret diary kept by her and hidden from those that are holding her.
At the same time, Angie’s search for the girl is outlined, showing the slow, torturous path towards a solution and not the fictional treatment of the quick and superhuman actions of a private detective in a novel. Along the way, Bryce Taggert, a U.S. Marshal helping out with the search for Nadine, is introduced and becomes a love interest for Angie.
The second scenario is Angie’s discovery that all is not as it seems to be with her parents and herself. The question of whether or not they were involved in a witness protection program begins with the discovery of a photo of a young girl found among her mother’s possessions. On the back of the photo her mother had written the words, “may God forgive me”.
Daniel Palmer has obviously been very affected by the plight of children separated from their families and the fact that the sheer numbers have not elicited national campaigns to find them. The children, even when found, will surely suffer lifelong trauma. If not found, and their unknown fate does leave their family completely devastated. Closure is just a word used by professionals dealing with these cases to try and cause people to get beyond the incident. Palmer does not embellish their feelings, but does describe situations beyond most people’s experience and expectations.
A disturbing novel, but one that is necessary. Very well done.
6/16 Paul Lane
FORGIVE ME by Daniel Palmer. Kensington (May 31, 2016). ISBN 978-0758293473. 416p.