Stolen by Daniel Palmer | Paperback | Barnes & Noble


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by Daniel Palmer

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"A twisting, suspenseful chiller of a book." —William Landay, New York Times bestselling author

"Unrelentingly Suspenseful." –Publishers Weekly

The future looks bright for Boston couple John Bodine and Ruby Dawes. John's online gaming business is growing, and they're planning a family. But when Ruby receives a life-changing diagnosis,


"A twisting, suspenseful chiller of a book." —William Landay, New York Times bestselling author

"Unrelentingly Suspenseful." –Publishers Weekly

The future looks bright for Boston couple John Bodine and Ruby Dawes. John's online gaming business is growing, and they're planning a family. But when Ruby receives a life-changing diagnosis, and their insurance won't cover her treatment, John makes a risky move. He steals a customer's identity and files a false medical claim. It works perfectly—until the customer contacts John with a startling proposition. . .

"Tight, Twisty And Terrific, It Further Establishes Palmer As A Force To Be Reckoned With." –The Providence Journal

If John and Ruby play a little game he's devised, he won't report their fraud. The rules of 'Criminal' are simple: commit real crimes. But if they fail, there will be deadly consequences. John assumes it's a sick joke—until people start dying. Now John and Ruby can't disappear—and they can't go to the police. Their only option is to keep playing, while trying to outwit a psychopath who has no intention of letting them leave this game alive. . .

"He Knows How To Hook The Readers And Reel Them In."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the prologue of Palmer’s unrelentingly suspenseful thriller, John Bodine, an avid mountain climber from Boston, faces a horrific choice after an avalanche sweeps his two companions over a ridgeline in Tibet. To survive, John must cut one of the ropes that connect him to his friends, causing one of them to fall to his death. Years later, John learns that his insurance company won’t pay for the expensive treatment his wife needs after being diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Desperate, he succeeds in stealing the identity of another man, Elliot Uretsky, who has the proper insurance. The problem is, Uretsky is a serial killer. Uretsky calls John and tells him he knows what John is doing and will turn him in unless John agrees to play “a game.” John must commit ever-more-dangerous crimes, and when he balks, Uretsky kills someone close to him. Readers should note that Palmer (Helpless) sets a high bar for serial killer brutality. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (May)
From the Publisher

""In Stolen, Daniel Palmer updates a classic premise, the ordinary man thrust into an extraordinary situation, and the result is a twisting, suspenseful chiller of a book."" - William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob
Library Journal
Hanging from a mountain cliff with two other climbers, John must make a gut-wrenching decision: which man should he cut loose in order to save John and one other. John’s action gives us a preview of his personality and capabilities, as the theme of “what would you do to save yourself? plays throughout the rest of this suspenseful thriller. John and Ruby are young, in love, and on their way to success when Ruby is diagnosed with cancer. After finding out their insurance will not cover the lifesaving medicine she needs, John uses his technology skills to steal an identity and file a false claim. But the couple are pulled into a horrible cat-and-mouse game when the identity theft victim threatens to kill people close to them if John and Ruby refuse to play a game called Criminal.

Verdict Palmer’s (Delirious; Helpless) whirlwind of a thriller takes readers into the mind of a psychopath as his victims go to extremes to come out alive. This well-written, well-paced nail-biter will please adrenaline fiction junkies.—Marianne Fitzgerald, Severna Park H.S, MD
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
In Palmer's follow-up to Helpless (2012), an unseen killer with a penchant for twisted games forces John Bodine, creator of a popular online game, to commit a series of crimes. If John doesn't follow instructions, his ailing wife, Ruby, will die. A few years ago, John, 29, survived a harrowing ordeal in the mountains of Tibet: He had to cut the safety rope of a fellow climber and watch him plummet to his death during an avalanche or have everyone in their group die. But now, Ruby and John are supremely happy together--until he discovers a cancerous growth on her foot. Desperate for help after their insurance company refuses to cover the superexpensive drug she needs, he pulls off an elaborate scheme that involves hacking into the policy of one of his online game subscribers and moving into a new apartment under the name of the subscriber and his wife and receiving their benefits. Then, a man identifying himself as the subscriber calls and threatens to expose them unless John plays a game that first involves stealing expensive scarves from a department store, then escalates to robbing a liquor store and setting fire to a warehouse. Along the way, the killer, who follows John's every move with hidden microphones and cameras, brutally murders a female neighbor of his, abducts Ruby's mother and then Ruby herself. Is John's cop friend, a Tibet survivor, the tormentor? Palmer keeps things moving, but his lazy plot contrivances catch up with him. The reader, who is usually several steps ahead of John, won't have much trouble identifying the baddie. Suspending disbelief is a more difficult challenge. Never dull, but feels more forced with each outlandish scene.

Product Details

Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt




Copyright © 2013Daniel Palmer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7582-4666-0



Let me tell you how it feels to learn that your wife is going to die. It's like you've swallowed something bitter, something permanently stuck in your throat. In an instant, the future you've been planning together is gone. The sadness is all-consuming. Trust me, a heavy heart is more than an expression. You try to act strong, sound reassuring. You glom on to statistics, study the odds like a Vegas bookmaker. You say things like, "We can beat this thing. We're going to be the twenty-five percent who makes it."

At night, darker thoughts sneak past your mental defenses. You imagine your life after the inevitable. You think about all the holidays and birthdays that will come and go without your beloved. You cry and hate yourself because you're not the one who is dying.

My name is John Bodine. I'm twenty-nine years old. I'm married to the love of my life. And no matter what it takes, or how far I have to go, I'm not going to let her die.

Eight weeks earlier ...

I'm like a dog. Soon as I heard the sound of keys jangling in the front door lock, my heartbeat kicked into overdrive. I got all excited. Five years of marriage hadn't dulled my pleasure. The sound of keys meant Ruby was home. I glanced at the electric stove, the only working clock within eyesight. Twenty minutes until midnight. Poor Ruby. Poor sweet, tired—no, make that utterly exhausted—Ruby. God, I was glad she was home.

I greeted Ruby in the cramped entranceway of our one-bedroom apartment with a mug of mint tea at the ready. Ruby's strawberry blond hair, cut stylishly and kept shoulder length, glistened from a light nighttime rain. She shivered off the cold and inhaled the sweet mint smell emanating from the steaming mug.

"My hero to the rescue," Ruby said.

Ruby cupped the mug in both hands and let the aroma warm her bones. She kissed me sweetly on the lips. Her eyes, the color of wan sapphires, flashed her desire for a more prolonged kiss with a lot less clothing. But her shoulders, sagging from the weight of her backpack stuffed with textbooks, told me otherwise. For an acupuncture and herbal medicine school that taught the healing arts, Ruby's education took an extraordinary physical and mental toll.

"Hold this," Ruby said. She handed me back the mug of tea, slung her backpack from off her shoulder, and then knelt down to unzip it on the floor. From within she pulled out a brown paper bag. The second I saw it, my eyes went wide.

"You went to Sinful Squares?" I asked, feeling my mouth already watering.

"That's why I left so early this morning. I'm sure you forgot, but it's your mom's birthday on Thursday. I mailed her a dozen of her favorite brownies, and it just so happens that I knew they were your favorite, too. Don't eat them all at once."

She gave me a soft kiss on the lips.

"Ruby, Sinful Squares is way out of your way. You didn't have to do that."

"Well, I love you, and I love your mom. So, happy birthday to us all."

We shared a brownie. Heaven.

"Want to watch TV?" Ruby asked.

"You know it."

We didn't have cable, way too expensive on our limited budget. We had cut back on most all expenses now that we had tuition to pay. But I like to please Ruby, so I rigged Hulu up to our thirty-inch television. Now she could watch her favorite shows anytime she wanted. Ruby didn't have much time for TV, but after a late-night study session, it helped her clear the brain, decompress.

As I expected, Ruby wanted to watch her favorite HGTV show, Designed to Sell. She sank deeply into the soft sofa cushions, almost vanishing between them. I always watched with Ruby, even though I'm an ESPN sort of guy, and this episode, one we'd never seen, featured a three-million-dollar Beverly Hills mansion in desperate need of a makeover before going on the market. Ruby spread her long and beautifully toned legs across my lap.

"Wait," I said, after watching a minute of the show. "The challenge is to redesign an enormous mansion with a few-thousand-dollar budget?"

"Yeah. Cool, isn't it?" Ruby said. Her voice drifted off, as if she was already in a dream.

"Well, it seems a little bit odd," I said. "I mean, they live in a mansion. You'd think they could spend a bit more, is all."

"That's not the point of the show. The point is to teach people how to do more with less."

"So if our one-bedroom got featured, they'd redesign it for what? Fifty bucks?"

Ruby dug her toes between my ribs until I cried out in mock pain. Actually, it felt pretty darn good.

"The show doesn't use a sliding scale, darling. And besides, our place doesn't need to be redesigned. I like it just the way it is."

"Small," I said.

"I prefer to think of it as conducive to closeness."

"Oh, in that case ..."

I changed position and kissed Ruby, long and deep. Ruby responded in kind as best she could, but tonight her romantic mood had the life span of a mayfly.

"Baby, I want to," Ruby said. Her voice sounded as sweet as the mint tea tasted on her lips.

"All right, then, let's go," I whispered between gentle kisses planted on her freckled cheeks.

"But I need you to quiz me."

I sat up.

"Quiz you?" I said. "Ruby, it's after midnight."

Ruby surprised me by breaking into song. "And we're gonna let it all hang out," she sang.

The melody was to the tune of one of our favorite Eric Clapton covers. Ruby held up a finger for me to see. That was her way of marking the musical reference as being worth one point in our longstanding game. A point could be earned if either of us completed a song lyric, tune required, from something the other had said. We didn't keep a running tally, because it was obvious Ruby possessed an insurmountable lead. Let's just say if Jeopardy devoted an entire board to trivia about music and bands, she'd clear it without giving the other contestants a chance to buzz.

Ruby got off the sofa to grab her schoolbooks.

As I waited, I ran my hands through my hair, half expecting to feel the long locks I had chopped off after the Labuche Kang tragedy. A lot about my appearance had changed in the aftermath of that day. My face still looked young but had weathered, with newly formed creases and crevices, which Ruby thought made me ruggedly handsome. My eyes had grown deeper set, too, and like mountain river streams, changed color with the day or my mood. Sometimes they were clear like a well-marked path, but at other times they'd cloud over, and Ruby would ask, "What are you thinking?" Ruby was the only person who could see through my haze, burrow into me, to get beyond the surface layers I allowed others to see. After the shock, the therapy sessions, the black depression, it was Ruby who brought me back from the brink. She held the map to my soul.

Ruby returned with backpack in hand.

"You can't really be serious about wanting me to quiz you," I said. "How can your brain even function?"

"Remember when I said that I loved how small our place is?" Ruby asked.


"I lied."


"Well, not entirely. I do like being close to you."

"We could be closer," I said with a wink.

"Come on, baby. Just a quick quiz tonight."

I pretended to have fallen asleep, and Ruby needled me again in the ribs, this time with her fingers.

"I'm up! I'm up!" I said, feigning alertness.

Ruby ruffled through her backpack, looking for her notes, but something else caught her eye. "Oh, I almost forgot," she said. "I went to the computer lab and made you something today.

Excerpted from STOLEN by DANIEL PALMER. Copyright © 2013 by Daniel Palmer. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Daniel Palmer spent a decade as an e-commerce pioneer helping to build first generation websites for Barnes & Noble and other popular brands. An experienced musician and songwriter, Daniel has recorded two CDs and licensed his songs for commercial use. Daniel's co-written two short stories for the trade organization International Thriller Writers. He holds a master's degree in mass communications from Boston University, and currently resides in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.

A veteran of stage and screen, Peter Berkrot's career spans four decades. Highlights include feature roles in Caddyshack and Showtime's Brotherhood, and appearances on America's Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries. His voice can be heard on television, radio, video games, documentaries and industrials. Peter has recorded a number of audiobooks, including three by Peter Hessler. Other favorite titles include The Wood; English, August; The Fifth Vial; American Brutus; Better; and Some Sort of Epic Grandeur.

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