Monday, April 19, 2021

Review: The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer


Title: The Perfect Daughter
Author: D.J. Palmer
Published: April 2021, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

The Perfect Daughter is 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.

Grace never dreamt she’d visit her teenaged daughter Penny in the locked ward of a decaying state psychiatric hospital, charged with the murder of a stranger. There was not much question of her daughter’s guilt. Police had her fingerprints on the murder weapon and the victim’s blood on her body and clothes. But they didn’t have a motive.

Grace blames herself, because that’s what mothers do—they look at their choices and wonder, what if? But hindsight offers little more than the chance for regret.

None of this was conceivable the day Penny came into her life. Then, it seemed like a miracle. Penny was found abandoned, with a mysterious past, and it felt like fate brought Penny to her, and her husband Arthur. But as she grew, Penny's actions grew more disturbing, and different "personalities" emerged.

Arthur and Grace took Penny to different psychiatrists, many of whom believed she was putting on a show to help manage her trauma. But Grace didn’t buy it. The personas were too real, too consistent. It had to be a severe multiple personality disorder. One determined psychiatrist, Dr. Mitch McHugh, helped discover someone new inside Penny—a young girl named Abigail. Is this the nameless girl who was abandoned in the park years ago? Mitch thinks Abigail is the key to Penny’s past and to the murder. But as Grace and Mitch dig deeper, they uncover dark and shocking secrets that put all their lives in grave danger.


My thoughts: This is the third book I've read by D.J. Palmer and once again he has managed to write a twisty thriller that keeps you on your toes all the way through. As much as I have loved his previous books, this one might be my new favorite!

I loved that this one explores so many different topics, yet does so in such a compelling, captivating way. It literally opens with such a shocking scene, one that grabs your attention immediately and from there things take off, with no real lulls in the book at any time. The use of multiple points of view really keeps things moving and gives us different lenses from which to view everything.

I loved that this was such a unique story all the way around. I'm always fascinated when an author decides to use DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) with a character because it always calls into question whether that is truly the case or whether the character is just psychotic. Then there were other mental health issues addressed and the emotional toll that all that was happening was taking on the family members was just fascinating to watch. 

Every time you thought things were moving forward, that the doctor was making progress with Penny, a new twist would pop up that would send things sideways. I never knew what to expect with this book and I absolutely loved it. And that ending was one that I never would have predicted - it completely blew me away! So much so that I almost want to reread the book right away to see how I missed it!

This book had everything I love in a thriller - a complex, multilayered plot with relatable, flawed characters. The writing is addictive and pulls you in from the start, and the intensity is there from the beginning, amping up as the book goes on to a thrilling conclusion. I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait to see what D.J. Palmer writes next - he is absolutely on my must-read list!


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