After enjoying Delirious by Daniel Palmer, I'm back for more with the author's latest novel Helpless. Some of the topics (sexting, estranged families coming together) are very timely.
Former Navy Seal Tom Hawkins is thrust into the role of both mom and dad following the suspicious death of his ex-wife Kelly. His teenage daughter Jill has spent most of her life hearing bad things about her father. Kelly did everything in her power to destroy Tom's relationship with Jill. If you've been taught all your life to resent a person, what do you do when you're forced together? In Jill's case she rebuffs every attempt Tom makes at affection and concern. It's pretty hard for Jill to ignore Tom considering he is also her soccer coach. Their tenuous relationship is put to the test when Tom is accused of a horrible crime.
Tom is accused of rape and of running a child pornography ring. Once that happens Tom becomes a pariah in the small town of Shilo, New Hampshire. The town sheriff is just eating it all up. The sheriff, Brendan Murphy, can't stand Tom. Guys like Brendan are just waiting for you to screw up. At this point I was scared to keep reading. I was fully in Tom's corner. As a reader, I hate it when an innocent person is framed. Or they get caught up in circumstances beyond their control. It's the same for me with television and movies. There isn't always a happy ending in stories like these.
To make matters worse an FBI agent, Rainy Miles, is also on his tale. She's convinced that Tom is the ringleader of a large child porn ring. She believes another person, James Mann, was one of Tom's biggest customers. Despite their being no obvious connection between the two, law enforcement is convinced there is a connection.
A long-buried secret is eating away at Tom. He once smuggled heroin into the U.S. and buried it, which was a source of major contention with Kelly. She wanted to make money off of it, while Tom wanted a normal life. Is this secret the source of Tom's misery? Does someone else know?
I love the dynamic between Tom and Jill. It feels very real. Despite Jill's attitude, Tom refuses to give up on their relationship. Tom fights through the teenage angst, breaking down Jill's tough exterior. What I didn't like was all the technical aspects. There is a lot of computer lingo in the book. It's broken in the simplest terms possible, but sometimes I still felt like I didn't understand it. A second read would probably open my mind up a little more. If you're a sucker for mysteries, give this one a try.
Rating: Give it a try
Note: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.