At Daddy’s Hands: Courage Knows No Age by Jacob Paul Patchen may be classified as teen/young adult, but it certainly has enough appeal for adult readers of all ages. I wouldn’t necessarily classify this as a psychological thriller, but it could be called psychological suspense.
Jim Handler is a homicide detective who solved a major murder case and turned himself into a hero in his small hometown. Jim has a wife, Ashley, and three children, Ally, Tyler and Nikki. The Handlers should be a shining example of the All-Amerįcan family and appear to be on the outside, but the Handlers have a terrible secret. Jim is an abuser. He subjects his wife and children to physical, mental and sexual abuse on a nearly daily basis.
Ashley, the abused wife, has given up so much of herself that she is unable to save her children from their father’s abuse.
Tyler, the middle child, has reached his breaking point and comes up with plan to free himself and his siblings from their father.
Ally is the eldest child at sixteen. She’s an artist, but has resorted to cutting herself and attempted suicide to have some control over her life.
Nikki is the youngest child at eleven. She loves journaling and writing poetry to document and escape the cruel reality of her home life. Nikki becomes the word she uses in an essay that led her teacher to realize the situation Nikki was in: courage.
The secret is out, but no one wants to believe it. Jim is a decorated police officer. His fellow officers and the local judge all refuse to see what’s right in front of their eyes. He receives a slap on the wrist for the horrors he’s inflicted upon his family, and it emboldens him. He will never stop. He is omnipotent. Where children should feel the safest Jim Handler’s children felt only fear and pain: At Daddy’s Hands.
The children realize that they must implement Tyler’s plan if they are to ever get out from under their father’s hands. They want to live without fear and hate. They want to be free.
At Daddy’s Hands is very well-written. The story is mainly revealed from the varying viewpoints of each family member and through multiple timeframes. This could be confusing but the author handles it competently so there is no confusion.
Patchen has done a fantastic job of making a very uncomfortable subject into a story you want to read. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to everyone.
My thanks to Black Rose Writing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
Publication Date: September 5, 2019