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Stolen Hardcover – April 30, 2013
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When John Bodine’s wife, Ruby, is diagnosed with cancer and their medical insurance won’t cover the drug she needs to save her life, John does what you or I probably wouldn’t do. He steals someone else’s identity and files a fraudulent claim with another insurance company. This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Palmer establishes that John operates an online computer game and that he sifts through his subscriber files to find a suitable identity to borrow for a while. But he doesn’t count on the unwitting identity donor finding out, tracking him down, and threatening to kill people unless John plays along with his sick, twisted game, in which John is required to do increasingly illegal things. Someone like Gregg Hurwitz or Linwood Barclay would have hit this one out of the park, but as it stands, the book is more like a ground-rule double—solid contact but not quite enough oomph to reach the fence. Helping hold it back is John’s plan to extricate his wife from one of his tormenter’s games, which, frankly, is so “oh give me a break!” implausible that it almost deserves to fail miserably. There is one pretty nifty plot twist about three-quarters of the way into the book, but by then we’re starting to grow tired of John and Ruby and their plight—they are committing major insurance fraud, after all—and by the tormenter’s increasingly unbelievable cat-and-mouse game. Definitely weaker than the author’s excellent debut, Delirious (2011), and about on par with its weaker follow-up, Helpless (2012). --David Pitt
<DIV>"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
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. --Library Journal
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. --Publishers Weekly
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Top customer reviews
This book will etch itself into your mind as you read. You will try to plot a way out for John and Ruby, but you will come up empty. You will examine yourself and ask: "What would I do in a similar spot, to save a loved one?"
The story feels realistic enough, especially with the insurance company hassles at the beginning. The route that John takes is a response to pure desperation, also quite understandable. But some of the later instances may stretch credibility, although it is tough to say this for certain. And some of the most terrifying parts are a bit drawn out (maybe).
I found myself reading fast - skimming some excess wording - so that I could learn "whodunnit" -- WHO was the man in the mask? At the same time, I think the story was a bit too lengthy and that invited a skim-read. But at some times, it was the sheer psychological stress that prompts the reader to move quickly, to pass the more disturbing scenes.
This is a cleverly plotted thriller, filled with emotional and psychological nuance. How does one deal with a psychotic who has you in his power? Author Palmer leads us along a dark and frightening road, and you won't forget this one for a while.
I am usually very good at guessing what will happen and who the bad guy is, but Stolen kept me in the dark until just before the reveal. Fast moving, good read
I see many reviews on the Amazon site that tell you all about the plot and how the story captivates you. I can only add that the story is topical around the health insurance industry and ID theft but boy does our hero pick the wrong ID to steal. As I read through the story I could see it as if I were watching unfold on a movie screen. I hope we get to see this made into a full length film.
I would highly recommend this book to any fan of the thriller genre...actually make that any fan of reading....
The book was sometimes a bit too graphic for my taste, which prevented me from giving it the fifth star, but if you're ready to be hooked and taken for a fast ride, one that includes the depths of depravity to which a human can sink, then climb aboard. Stolen is the book for you.
It would make a great movie.