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Reviewed by Alma Boucher for Readers' Favorite
The Palms by Clay Anderson is about a Vietnam veteran who spent thirty-six years of his life in prison for a senseless murder. Ronnie Wells had learned to kill effectively in Vietnam but in prison, he learned to think things through before acting. Ronnie made friends with his neighbor Clara and her daughter Mary. Clara did not trust Ronnie and resisted the friendship. Clara was used to being abused and was not familiar with kindness. Ronnie helped Clara in her frantic attempt to get away from her boyfriend and pimp Joe and stood by her while she battled addiction. Ronnie's and Clara’s worlds were turned upside down when Mary was kidnapped. If Ronnie wants to protect Mary from traffickers and sexual predators, he must decide whether or not to use violence, which he has pledged never to do.
The Palms by Clay Anderson is a heartbreaking story of redemption in the middle of a world heading toward chaos. I was hooked on the first sentence and could not turn the pages fast enough. It was a compelling read, and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. It was fast-paced and full of action. The characters were well-developed. Their backgrounds added depth to the plot, and the characters grew throughout the story. I was rooting for Ronnie to win for a change, despite the odds stacked against him. At times, it was hard to read about Clara and Mary’s struggles. The story is well-written and entertaining to read. It exceeded my expectations by far, and the ending was a big surprise.