Category Archives: DJ Palmer

Review: The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer

Title: The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A thriller that explores the truth or lies behind a teenage girl’s multiple personality disorder, from D.J. Palmer, the author of The New Husband.

Meet Ruby, who speaks with a British accent.

Then there’s Chloe, a perfectionist who strives for straight A’s in school.
And along comes Eve, who is spiteful and vicious.
All of them live inside Penny…
Or do they?

Penny Francone, age sixteen, is a murderer. Her guilt is beyond doubt: she was found alone in the victim’s apartment, covered in blood, holding the murder weapon. The victim’s identity and her secret relationship to Penny give Penny the perfect motive, sealing the deal. All the jury needs to decide now is where Penny will serve out her sentence. Will she be found not guilty by reason of insanity, as her lawyer intends to argue? Or will she get a life sentence in a maximum-security prison?
Already reeling from tragedy after the sudden passing of her beloved husband a few years before, now Grace is on her knees, grateful that Massachusetts doesn’t allow the death penalty.

As Penny awaits trial in a state mental hospital, she is treated by Dr. Mitchell McHugh, a psychiatrist battling demons of his own. Grace’s determination to understand the why behind her daughter’s terrible crime fuels Mitch’s resolve to help the Francone family. Together, they set out in search of the truth about Penny, but discover instead a shocking hidden history of secrets, lies, and betrayals that threatens to consume them all.

The perfect daughter. Is she fooling them all?


The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer is an engrossing, multi-layered mystery.

Grace Francone is incredibly tenacious as she attempts to prove her sixteen-year-old daughter Penny is not a murderer. The Francone family has struggled financially and emotionally after Grace’s husband Arthur’s death. She is attempting to keep the family’s business going but Penny’s arrest has taken its toll on their clientele. Her son Jack is still at college, but her other son Ryan dropped out of college to help run the restaurant. Jack and Grace believe in Penny’s innocence, but Ryan is angry, rude and convinced his sister is a killer. Thankfully, Penny’s new psychiatrist Mitch McHugh begins to believe his patient is, in fact, suffering from dissociative identity disorder. But will her lawyer Greg Navarro be able to convince a jury Penny has multiple personalities? And most important, will he win an acquittal for his client?

Grace’s belief in Penny’s innocence never wavers. As the trial draws near, she will take any risk to help prevent her daughter from being convicted. Grace works tirelessly to find evidence that someone else is the killer. She is very grateful that Dr. McHugh is at least willing to keep an open mind about Penny’s multiple personalities. At home and work, she is battling with Ryan’s derisive attitude and active dislike of his sister. Although she would like to get to the bottom of Ryan’s issues, Grace has no time to spare as she works with Mitch to help Penny remember more about the night the murder took place.

Mitch’s personal and professional lives have recently imploded and he is extremely lucky to have his new job at the state psychiatric hospital. He is quite intrigued by the possibility that Penny has dissociative identity disorder. Even after witnessing what her different personalities, a kernel of doubt remains. Mitch is completely invested in her case and he is willing to assist Grace’s efforts to locate the real killer.

The Perfect Daughter is a spellbinding mystery with a fascinating plot and interesting characters. Grace is force to be reckoned with as she tries to save Penny. Mitch’s backstory is unexpected but he is an excellent psychiatrist who truly wants to help the patients in his care. The storyline is compelling and moves at a fast pace. With a stunning plot twist, D.J. Palmer brings this spellbinding mystery to an electrifying conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, DJ Palmer, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, St Martin's Press, Suspense, The Perfect Daughter

Review: The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

Title: The New Husband by D.J. Palmer
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The New Husband is a riveting thriller about the lies we tell ourselves from D. J. Palmer, the author of Saving Meghan.

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone—presumably drowned while fishing on his boat—so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted—or dangerously possessive.

But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.


The New Husband by D.J. Palmer is a suspense-laden domestic mystery.

Nearly eighteen months after her husband Glen’s inexplicable disappearance, Nina Garrity  is moving on. She and her children, thirteen year old Maggie and sixteen year old Connor, are moving in with her new boyfriend, teacher Simon Fitch. All these months later, Nina still does not know exactly what happened to Glen. However, she learns just enough about him after he vanished to realize he is not the man she believed him to be. Nina loves Simon and although he has never done anything to raise her suspicions, she finds it difficult to completely depend on him for everything. Connor is thrilled with his almost stepdad but Maggie is certain Simon has a darker side. Will she be able to convince Nina to believe her?

Nina has mostly come to terms with Glen’s disappearance and she is very happy with Simon.  Which is why she is a little surprised that moving in with Simon raises anxiety and a few doubts. Nina is also a little frustrated by Maggie’s animosity towards Simon but she tries to be understanding of her daughter’s feelings. Although she does not like upsetting Simon, Nina restarts her career and when Simon expresses his unhappiness with her decision, she absolutely refuses quit her job. But will the increasing tension at home lead to a change of heart?

Simon is an exacting man who is well organized and eager to please Nina. He does not like to discuss his past, but Nina is aware of the circumstances that ended his first two marriages. He is so reasonable when unpleasant situations arise that Nina is quick to placate him and smooth things over.  Simon tries to be conciliatory  as he navigates his troubled relationship with Maggie, but she easily manages to get under his skin.  Thankfully he and Connor have forged a close bond and they genuinely enjoy one another’s company.

Maggie is not at all happy about the changes in her family’s life. She greatly misses her dad and she is resistant to Simon’s attempts to befriend her.  Maggie tries her best to ignore him and stay out of his way, but she is stubbornly defiant as he tries to bend her to his will. A shocking glimpse during an argument convinces her that Simon is not the man he presents himself to be. But will she be able to prove her suspicions about him to her mother?

The New Husband is a clever mystery with an intriguing storyline. The characters are well-developed but not always likable as they make questionable choices. The plot is interesting but the pacing is a little slow until a jaw-dropping plot twist near the halfway point. With the tension building with every chapter, D.J. Palmer brings this chilling mystery to an action-packed denouement.  An outstanding mystery I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, DJ Palmer, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, St Martin's Press, Suspense, The New Husband