Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Priest's Graveyard

Ted Dekker strikes good again! Actually, I'm a little late on reviewing this book, which came out in the spring. I read and reviewed his fall release first since I got an advance reader's copy in the summer. I like to receive Dekker for my birthday (he does write at least one book a year these days), so I waited on the spring release.

Lately, Dekker has been writing murder thrillers, geared toward a mainstream audience, and The Priest's Graveyard falls into that category. But no matter how crazy his books get, I always find gems about God and what it means to be a true believer within the pages of his crime stories. Really, that's why I keep reading. I absolutely love the way Dekker sees the world and God. He's not preachy, but oh, is there always a message! And a very good story. The message wouldn't be much without that first and foremost.

Dekker's surprises don't jump out at me as much as they did in his earlier books. I guess I know too well what to expect now! I could see some of the ending of The Priest's Graveyard a mile away, but what mattered was getting there, and it was worth it. In comparison to his other recent murder thrillers like Boneman's Daughters and The Bride Collector, The Priest's Graveyard is perhaps less dark but more soul-gripping. A book that makes you identify with the killer is a fascinating read, especially when it deals with issues we all struggle with, in this case, justice for evil. In those other two books, the villain is truly the villain, evil and psychotic, but the priest in this book is a man whose heart might match many a Christian's. He just takes justice into his own hands rather than leaving it to God or even to the law.

The priest is Danny, a survivor of the religious war in Bosnia, an immigrant to the United States. He meets a formerly abused woman, Renee, with justice and revenge on her mind, and the two form a bond over their mutual interests. I'll leave the plot at that for the benefit of those less familiar with Ted Dekker's twists and turns.

My husband often asks me when I finish a Ted Dekker novel how it compares to his others, particularly my favorites. Unfortunately, when I was first getting to know Dekker and he was first coming into his own, he had some really crazy story plots that I read with the proverbial rose-tinted glasses, so I don't know if anything he could ever write now would compare with those first impressions. But some are definitely better than others, in my opinion. The Priest's Graveyard is one to read, and when I rate Dekker novels between three and five stars and give this one a four, that's no average rating to scoff at.

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