Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Bride Collector

Ted Dekker's The Bride Collector is one of the better crime thriller novels I've read.  To tell the truth I haven't read a whole lot of fictional books about serial killers and the chase to bring them to justice, preferring stories more like spy-thrillers or historical thrillers.  But when the chance came to review an Advanced Readering Copy (ARC) of a Ted Dekker novel, I decided to give it a try.

Never having even opened a book written by Ted Dekker, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I knew he had roots as a "Christian thriller" writer but I understand he has for several years now branched out into both fantasy and mainstream thrillers, the later usually featuring serial killer plots.  This book is a taut, well written novel that really leads the reader along the plotline but also reaches into the very nature of good and evil.  The main protagonist is FBI special agent Brad Raines who is faced with a serial killer situation.  Somebody is kidnapping beautiful young women, draining their bodies of the blood, and hanging them on walls of abandoned barns and other places, with nothing but a bridal veil to wear.  The reader is introduced early on to the killer, himself, allowing us inside his mind and motivations.  Seems he is fulfilling God's plan for him by offering seven brides, culminating in the perfect bride for God.

Agent Raines, based on the psychotic nature of the killer, searches for clues in several Mental Health Facilities in the area and is drawn to one particular group of patients which includes a young woman by the name of "Paradise".  Through her and her friends' eyes, we actually learn quite a bit about the nature of mental health care as we work our way through the novel.  With Paradise's assistance, and some good old fashioned police work, Agent Raines is able to close in on the killer's identity.  I won't go into further detail for fear of spoilers but I can honestly say it was a thrill ride. The pace of the novel is just right, building up the level of suspense as we near the climax and not letting go until the very end.  Mr Dekker is not afraid to take the predictableness out of the plot and make this one an original idea.  He also isn't afraid to to throw in emotional matters of life and faith and relationships, ultimately tying it all together in a very neat package.  This will not be the last book I read by Mr Dekker!

The novel will be on store shelves in April.

I've also begun the next short story collection, "The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century", edited by Harry Turtledove and martin H. Greenberg.  The first story, "Yesterday was Monday" was written by the late great science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon and is a delightful story about a regular guy named Harry who somehow goes to sleep on Monday night and wakes up in Wednesday.  I say "in" Wednesday because he has somehow gotten off the track of normal time where all of us actors live our lives and stepped into the behind-the-scenes set-building that is going on for Wednesday.  The characters there are trying to put the finishing touches on the scenery before the actors (that are still in Tuesday) arrive.  Harry, trying to get back into the normal time flow makes a quick side-trip to "yesterday" which is Monday. and sees all of the workers there that are breaking down the old, used set.  It's a pretty nice little story; I hope the others in this collection will be as interesting.

Next up, another Advanced Reading Copy, a historical novel by Kate Quinn called, Mistress of Rome.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire