Like most reviews I post, I have to start this one with a little anecdote. I finished Delirious by Daniel Palmer on Monday while under the dryer at the hair salon. Normally the heat from the dryer knocks me out, and I don't get a lot of reading done. That is until this past Monday. As a whole, Delirious is an engaging mystery, but the last 120 pages is an adrenaline rush. I forgot all about the heat from the dryer because I wanted to know what happened. How was this all going to end?
Before we get there lets start at the beginning. The book opens with the suicide of Charlie Giles' former business partner Eddie. Charlie moves on, selling his electronics company to a large conglomerate, SoluCent. He focuses on business and doesn't dwell on a series of failed romances or his complicated family life. His runaway father, and brother Joe suffer from schizophrenia. His mother is left to pick up the pieces caring for Joe. As much as Charlie wants to remove himself from his family, the pull is always there. Family and business are about to collide with deadly consequences.
A mysterious woman named Anne Pedersen convinces Charlie that his role at SoluCent is one the brink. They hatch a plan to prevent this, but doing so sets off a series of events. Charlie's actions to save his career make him look crazy, especially when no one can find the mysterious Anne Pedersen. He starts finding mysterious notes in his handwriting. But Charlies doesn't remember writing them. Could Joe be responsible? Or is Charlie losing his mind? Is he more like his brother than he cares to admit? Then several of his colleagues are murdered.
As a character, Charlie is man who likes to be in control. When that power is taken away Charlie descends to the edge of sanity. It's a very emotional spiral down, one that results in being committed to a mental hospital. He pushes away the help available to him. If he confides in Joe or seeks his help, Charlie has to admit they are alike and mental illness isn't so attractive in the business world.
Is this the ultimate setup? I started to think that myself. No one could carry out something this elaborate. Why would someone go to these lengths? Charlie has to be going crazy. Everything he says and does sounds like someone who is losing their grip on reality. He starts thinking everyone is out to get him. Even when proof is presented to the contrary, Charlie won't give up the delusion. You can feel Charlie's desperation to prove his innocence. Every time he gets somewhere, something happens to drag him back down. But then in the last 120 pages, you start thinking maybe Charlie isn't delusional. Maybe someone is out to get him. But who?
Right up until the end, Palmer keeps you guessing. It was hard to put the book down in those final 100 pages. The final resolution, I think, does ask for some suspension of disbelief. But this is a well-written thriller, it was hard to believe this is a debut novel. If you like fast-paced, emotional thrill rides, pick this one up.
Notes: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. To learn more about author Daniel Palmer visit: http://www.danielpalmerbooks.com/. I also have a signed copy available for review, click the tab at the top of the page for details.