The Review Board

Where Honesty Never Ends.

Wordsmith Prism on Desperation

desperationDesperation by D. W. Carver

Here is the Summary via Amazon:

Kate thought that once her mother died, the pain she had caused would end. Then she discovered that a letter had been sent to a prominent television presenter on her mother’s orders taunting him with the fact that Kate now held photographs which would ruin him and probably lead to his arrest. Suddenly Kate is running for her life. She seeks help from Rob, a much older man whom she has only known for a very short time. While at his London apartment, she rescues a teenage girl, Vickie, from a street pimp and over the following days finds a bond growing between them that feels like a lot more than friendship; but with both their lives now in danger there is no time for thoughts of anything but escape and survival.

Greetings everyone!  Before The Review Board proceeds with its thoughts on Desperation by D.W. Carver, there is some important information regarding this title.

As of the date of this posting:  TRB did attempt to find this other locations for this title.  First we checked the description on Goodreads, which said that other versions of this work was on CreateSpace and Smashwords.  When we went to those locations, the title was not found.  We also visited Amazon, and although the title was listed, the paperback version showed “out-of-print” and no Kindle version listed.

**The following reviews are based on submission directly from the author.**

First let’s get thoughts from Wordsmith Andi:

thinkerwordsmithThe Wordsmith Weighs In:

While the cover alludes to the romantic nature of the story awaiting, it does not prepare you for the darkly beautiful connections between the three characters that bring them together.

I was sucked into the story right away, immediately intrigued by the character of Kate. Carver’s experience in counseling and the healing arts is well plumbed in developing this character. I related easily to her trust issues, her inclinations, and her struggles in adjusting to a world no longer colored by her mother’s overbearing presence. Kate’s darkness called to mine but in a gentle way. Carver treats the touchy subject matter of sexual gratification via spanking with utmost respect. The psychology behind it is plausible for every character which tells me this is subject matter she is well familiar with, and much appreciated.

Kate’s character was not the only hook in the book. Vickie is an incorrigible yet strangely endearing character, full of teenage angst and proclivities yet adult enough to realize the danger she is in and cope with her sexuality. She is naïve and innocent in many ways, making the dichotomy of her often wanton sexuality striking and refreshing. Like Kate I couldn’t help falling for Vickie.

I have to say that I was not fond of Rob as a person or a character. Certainly well intentioned yet predatory in a charming, “don’t see it coming” way, he’s just someone I would shy away from in real life. Once again I credit Carver’s psychology and character development. His choices toward the end of the story are predictable and as such I appreciated Kate’s emotional and physical responses to his betrayals.

The mystery/thriller aspect to the story was as unique as Carver’s characters. A mother probably suffering from paranoid schizophrenia starts a chain reaction in Kate’s childhood that will carry through and threaten her life and the lives of those she loves decades later. I enjoyed that the story did not veer down into trying to figure out the reasons why her mother might have done the things she did, but kept to the immediacy of the storytelling. The plot pacing was steady and appropriately suspenseful and gripping when necessary.

Carver keeps you guessing as to the reasons why Kate’s life is in danger right up until the very end. I’m usually pretty good at predicting an ending but the conclusion to this story left me both surprised and disappointed. My actual thought was an incredulous “Really? Over and done that easily? That’s it?” but then I took a day or so to think about it a little harder.


And it clicked. This book isn’t really so much about the mystery thriller that propels the characters through the events, but instead to take part as Kate’s emotional awakening, development and acceptance transpires. Kate begins the story more than a little emotionally broken. The crazy mother that controlled every aspect of her life and taught her how to interact with the world has just died. Suddenly the boundaries that were in place previously are gone and the wide world is a scary place. It takes her strange relationship with Rob to lead her to Vickie, who arouses in her such a gamut of feelings that she has no choice but to process them on the fly, and does so admirably. She achieves a great deal in the way of learning what love is and how to overcome her trust issues. She isn’t whole and hale by the end of the story but she’s mostly healed of the trauma her mother’s insanity caused. Vickie’s love is the salve to all her wounds. The mystery thriller is just the vehicle transporting the romance from start to finish.

My overall opinion is that this is a phenomenal book that communicates on multiple levels. I loved every minute of reading it.

Wordsmith’s Verdict: 8 out of 10 TRB Stars

I had to give Desperation a rating of 8 out of 10 stars, not the 10 of 10 I was hoping for.

The first deduction came from poor formatting. Paragraphs had no uniform indentations, sometimes starting halfway across the page. This made the appearance of the text sloppy, almost disheveled.

syntaxThe second deduction resulted from poor editing in spelling and punctuation. The writing is superb but a lot of words were missing their ending possessives. Passages of dialog were more often than not missing opening or ending quotations. These deductions pain me to make. A better eye to editing and formatting would have earned a full ranking which is what this book truly deserves.

Now let’s go to Casey Prism for her observations:

Warning: *Slight Spoilers*

Trouble seems to follow Kate. In all fairness, a great deal of it does seem to be brought on by her mother. We meet Kate as she parades up and down a stretch of street in an attempt to work up the courage to step inside a sex club for discipline night.

Kate never makes it through the door. Instead she meets Rob who helps keep her from being arrested by the cops mistakenly for solicitation. They move to a diner for coffee and have a discussion on her wants and his needs.

When Kate’s life is further disrupted by her deceased mother she has no choice but to abandon her life and hide. With minimal options she ends up staying with Rob. Kate saves a young girl, Vic, from getting arrested much as Rob did for her. Together the three of them try to unravel the mystery Kate’s mom leaves behind and navigate the dangers in its wake.

Things that I liked: The story kept me entertained. It had a good pace to it. There’s a definite shock factor when Kate finds out her mom’s secrets.

There are a few typos throughout but not enough to take away from the story.

I was a bit frustrated with the ending—everything about it was too easy and a bit disappointing because it was very anticlimactic after a very fast paced beginning and middle. I also found myself a bit frustrated with the lack of defined relationships between the characters. I felt they could have been built better and more clearly explained—even if they’re meant to be confusing they still need some clarification…if that makes any sense.

Prism Verdict: 7 out of 10 TRB Stars

Overall Desperation was an enjoyable and easy read. The plot kept the pages turning.

Now let’s add the points together and divide by 2.


Overall, Desperation gets a 7.5 out of 10 TRB stars from The Review Board.

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About nolabels

I have an appreciation for the unique, love for all types of art, and fierce attractions to brilliant intellectuals (from book smarts to street smarts). Lover of humanity but feel humans have lost their way, just trying to stay true to myself as conformity threatens to take me away. Simply one head, many crowns: Author. Reviewer. Columnist.

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This entry was posted on June 19, 2014 by in June, reviews and tagged , .

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