Forgive Me by Daniel Palmer

By Ekta R. Garg

June 1, 2016

Genre: Mystery

Rated: Borrow it / 3 stars

A private investigator uses her resources and her instincts to solve two mysteries at the same time, one of them tied to her own family. As one mystery begins to wrap up, she finds the other getting more entangled and must question everything she knows as truth to solve it. Author Daniel Palmer offers readers a riveting look inside the world of trafficking and the profession of private investigating in the well-intentioned novel Forgive Me.

Angie DeRose spends her days looking for runaways. A strong personal reason drives her: as a college student she lived through the horror of the disappearance of one of her best friends. Angie keeps a picture of her friend on the wall along with photos of all the runaways she’s brought home safely. She’s determined to bring her friend home too one day.

In the meantime, Angie receives a new case. A sixteen-year-old has left home. The facts of the case seem fairly clear cut to Angie: Nadine, an only child, probably ran away because of her alcoholic mother and absentee father. Despite Nadine’s dreadful home life, Angie knows she needs to be found.

As she begins piecing together the last days that Nadine’s mother saw her, Angie finds out that her own mother has died. She splits her time between her parents’ home and Nadine’s case, and in the process of helping her father clean out her mother’s belongings Angie makes a disturbing discovery. Bits and pieces of an alternate life begin to surface, and Angie’s instincts make her start to question everything she thought she knew about her mother and her own life.

In another part of the region, Nadine discovers that life as a runaway can have grave consequences. A handsome man lures her with the promise of becoming a famous model. Following the bread crumbs he drops for her, Nadine makes her way into a forest of dark intentions. Now she waits and hopes for someone who can bring her back to the trail.

Author Daniel Palmer takes readers into the world of runaways and the dismal world of trafficking. The book falls into two parts, one following Nadine and the other following Angie. The sections from Nadine’s point of view will keep readers deeply engaged all the way to the end of the book. Palmer hits all the right notes of a teen’s way of thinking, and it’s easy to follow Nadine’s rationale as she tries to escape her home life. The one objection readers might have is that Palmer allows Nadine’s arc to come to a resolution before the end of the book, which shortens the time spent with her.

By stark contrast, the portions from Angie’s point of view come across as much less polished. The clunkiness of the words Palmer chooses gets in the way of the story. The result is excessive narrative and dialogue that weigh down Angie’s arc. A convoluted subplot involving Angie’s family may also leave readers underwhelmed.

The glaring differences between the characters’ trajectories might lead readers to wonder whether the two points of view were written by two different authors. Angie’s might not have as much of an impact as Nadine’s, but the teen’s circumstances more than make up for the protagonist’s lacking story. I recommend readers Borrow Forgive Me.

(I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)