Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Review: The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker is one of my favorite authors. He skillfully crafts each novel with sharp insight in human nature and his ability to convey prounds truths from his experiences as a Christian. Although there was one of his books that I didn't really like, all the others I have read have been excellent. And Bride Collector is probably one of his best so far.

The Bride CollectorHere is a descrption of the book from the author's website:

He loves them because they are beautiful. He kills them because he loves them.

A virtuoso killer is carving a path of death across the west, intent on killing only the most beautiful women, all in the name of love. He has claimed six victims and slipped through the FBI’s fingers, each time leaving behind a handwritten note and a bridal veil.

Now, with the help from an unlikely group of four, special agent Brad Raines must enter the killer’s deadly game. But the Bride Collector is supremely gifted and he has a distinct advantage over them all: this is his game.

The title character in The Bride Collector is truly an evil man. At the same time, Dekker gives us other characters who are good, moral people with their own character flaws. I like how he used the "mentally ill" as illustrations for the insanity that lies inside all of us. Here is an excerpt from the book that demonstrates this:

"He'd met victims at CWI (the mental facility), not perpetrators capable of heinous murder. But there had been more, this haunting that was slowly creeping into his mind.

In their eyes, he'd seen a small part of himself."

And the more Brad saw in these people that was different, the more he saw that he was just like them - afraid and alone and in need of someone who cares.

Here's another excerpt:

"Who was the skateboarder practicing on the walls by his condo, really? A young man who was ready to begin really living because he wasn't yet satisfied with who he was? Life for him was still practice for some real test, which lay a month or a year or maybe five years away. When he passed it, his peers would truly appreciate him. Cherish him even. He would find his significance.

Problem was, that day would never arrive. Everyone was still either telling themselves it was all just around the corner, or they were living with the haunting suspicion that the pot at the end of the rainbow was all a fantasy. That in reality they were alone in a jungle and the rainbows were just illusions.

So then, life was really just a mind game, wasn't it? And most people really were handicapped. Mentally."

I enjoy reading suspense books. Maybe it's because I am fascinated with the study of the human mind and what makes us do the things we do, or perhaps it's because I like the science of forensic criminal investigations. But when I come across a good novel that combines these things, I will devour it quickly, especially when the author is a Christian writer. Because the Christian worldview is (to me) essential in interpreting all that we observe in this world.

And possibly no one does this better when he writes than Ted Dekker. I am amazed at how he can tell a good story while at the same time communicate eternal truths. His observations of the world in which we live are incisive.

Consider this quote from the book:

"Ninety-eight percent of the world's six or so billion inhabitants could apply common sense to the most fundamental, obvious observations of human existence and conclude that a higher power existed. Yet few of the self-proclaimed experts called psychiatrists could see the same thing. So then, were the six billion mentally ill, or were the few psychiatrists mentally ill?"

Something to think about. And just a small taste of why I give this book a resounding five stars!

(I received this book from Hatchette Books for review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.)

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