Thursday, June 16, 2011

Delirious - Daniel Palmer

I realize I have told you this story, but it bears mentioning again I think, because it is dear.  At the UCF Book Festival, I attended a panel that featured murder mystery writers, including the author of "Delirious", Daniel Palmer.  I was intrigued by the man.  He was handsome, he was the son of a famous author (Michael Palmer), and he had a very easy, likable personality.  But in the middle of his talk, he spoiled the ending of his upcoming book, and I was horrified!  I said so in my recap of the festival, and it didn't go unnoticed by Mr. Palmer.  He contacted me, was terribly sorry (he'd gotten carried away when he was talking about unpredictable villains), and as an apology, he sent me a copy of his debut novel, "Delirious".  I'd heard it was good...and I didn't know how THIS book ended!  Which is a good start.

Synopsis:  Charlie Giles has got the tiger by the tail.  He is an electronics wonderboy, has made his millions by selling his cutting edge concept to a large company on the East Coast, and has his loyal dog Monte to keep him company. 

OK, granted, he has a hard time with long-term relationships.  This might have something to do with his self-absorbed nature, and because of problems in his childhood.  His father, a schizophrenic, walked away from the family when Charlie was young, leaving him, his mother and his brother, who was diagnosed with not only schizophrenia as well, but with a rare type of epilepsy that is triggered by hearing one particular song.

One day, however, things get very strange.  Charlie is accused (and there is proof) that he gave company secrets to a competitor and watches porn at work.  He finds notes that he's written to himself but has no recollection of it.  Then bodies start to pile up that implicate his involvement.  Charlie feels like he is losing his mind.  Is he developing a mental illness, which could be inherited, or is someone messing with him?

My thoughts: Wow.  Well, now, that was a wild ride.  In fact, it really almost bordered on outlandish.  So many bizarre, mind-bending, surreal coincidences, I just shook my head.  I kept muttering to myself "there had damn well be a full accounting by the end of this book or Palmer is going to lose his credibility with me".  By that I mean that everything had better be explained.  This could not have been an easy task...I'm envisioning an elaborate spreadsheets and Gant charts.  But he pulled it off.  Was it all realistic?  No, but I was more than willing to stretch the boundaries for the sake of entertainment.

Palmer's pacing was excellent.  The beginning starts out as a leisurely stroll for a few chapters, then it takes off like a rocket and propels you through right to the last page.  It was really hard to resist the urge to sit up all night to finish it. 

I always appreciate a novel that introduces the reader to a topic of interest, in this case mental illness.  Palmer not only gives us an idea of what it is like to live with schizophrenia through Charlie's brother, but also the sacrifices and hardships shouldered by the surrounding family members.  I was also more than a little excited to see, for the second time in my life, a story that addresses the rare musicogenic epilepsy (the first time being Connie May Fowler's "The Problem With Murmur Lee").  This disease only affects five or six people in the country, but here it is again.  I can't say that I blame Connie or is an affliction that just begs to be written into a story.

At the festival, Palmer shared a story about the development of the character Charlie.  When he originally finished this novel, everyone liked the book but felt the protagonist was a horrible person that would inspire nothing but annoyance in the reader.  The solution, provided by a friend over a beer and a hotdog at a baseball game, was to give Charlie a dog.  I thought this was a clever suggestion...who can resist a guy who is loved by his dog?  After finishing the book however, even without the dog, I didn't think Charlie was so bad.  He was kind of an anti-hero, which I have a habit of liking.  Yes he was selfish and tended to live for his job, but I saw a good deal of personal growth on his part and felt there was hope for him.  (I'm still pleased Palmer gave him a dog though!)

4 out of 5 stars        



Unknown said...

This does sound like an interesting book, but I'd be worried that there was too much going on for me - I prefer things a little more realistic.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

How lovely of the author to have noticed your critique, respond to it, and send you another book! I love it when authors stay human!

Zibilee said...

I an dying to read this one! It sounds like although it can be a little far fetched that Palmer really has a good grip on all of it. Great review, Sandy! I am glad that you ended up linking this one so much, and that you made a friend of Palmer!

bermudaonion said...

I listened to Palmer's latest book and it was outlandish but he didn't tie things up enough to satisfy me. Maybe I need to try another one of his books.

Unknown said...

Sounds like an interesting book, but I really like your back story on this one so much!!!

Serena said...

this sounds like a novel I'd enjoy. I love that he apologized for spoiling the end to his book as he got carried away during the festival. that is just priceless...wish more authors were like that.

Anonymous said...

Funny story about the festival. I have this one on my shelf and really need to get to it.

Melissa said...

I used to read Michael Palmer all the time! I remember your story about the spoiled ending. Glad he noticed your comments, but at the same time I can understand him being excited about his books.

Jenny said...

Ooh I'm glad you liked it! I really liked it which was a nice surprise because I had no idea what to expect when I started it. I'm really looking forward to his next one to since I DON'T know what happens, LOL!!