Murder, mayhem and madness - what more could you want in a quick-paced thriller? You'll find those things and more in Ted Dekker's new novel, "The Bride Collector," scheduled for release in April.
In "The Bride Collector," Dekker takes the time to lay the foundation for the story, then quickly picks up the pace. We're introduced to FBI Agent Brad Raines, a young, smart g-man who is tracking the Bride Collector, a demented serial killer who captures his female victims, drains their blood through holes drilled in their heels and poses them crucifixion-style on the walls of desolate barns.
A clue from the killer leads Raines to the Center for Wellness and Intelligence. Essentially an upscale mental hospital for people of superior intelligence who also suffer from mental disorders, the CWI brings readers an endearing and gifted cast of characters who just might be able to help Raines solve the case.
At the CWI, we meet Roudy, a self-professed sleuth, and his gang of pals, including Cassanova, Andrea and Paradise. Twenty-four-year-old Paradise was traumatized seven years ago and believes she might have the ability to see ghosts when she touches a dead body, and her talent makes her an integral part of the plot. Roudy, Paradise and the others are devoted to helping Agent Raines capture the Bride Collector, and the four provide valuable insight into the killer's mind.
Raines believes that the Bride Collector has a religious agenda: He is murdering beautiful women he considers to be God's favorites and delivering them to God as brides. Seven is the magic number, and the seventh bride will be the most beautiful woman, God's favorite among favorites.
As Raines strives to stop the Bride Collector from killing more women, he finds himself a in the middle of the Bride Collector's madness when the Bride Collector targets Raines's partner, Nikki, as the sixth bride. The Bride Collector's notes become more and more personal for Raines, and before you know it, Raines is in the thick of the Bride Collector's bizarre plan.
Dekker is a great writer with the ability to tell an engaging story. His clan of crazies at the CWI aren't really crazies but rather standout characters that readers will find quite likeable and sympathetic. Dekker treats mental illness with respect and compassion, suggesting that we're all a bit crazy, just to different degrees.
Many suspense authors fail to satisfy because they become so attached to their characters that the reader knows certain characters will survive at the end of the story. One of the things I like most about Dekker's books is that he creates characters that the reader likes and expects to survive, but Dekker has no problem killing them off. This brings a unique element of suspense to his books and makes it difficult to determine whether a character in a dangerous predicament will actually survive. When you read one of Dekker's books, you just have to know that anything goes and anyone could die.
Dekker is also a master in that his stories take so many twists and turns that just when readers think they have the story figured out, they learn they are wrong. By the story's climax, you realize that any character could die, anything could change and you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride. To me, that's the definition of mastering the art of suspense writing. --A.R. Goldyn