FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he's picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellbeing and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.
It's there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person's life when she touches the dead body.
In a desperate attempt to find the killer, Raines enlists Paradise's help. In an effort to win her trust, he befriends this strange young woman and begins to see in her qualities that most 'sane people' sorely lack. Gradually, he starts to question whether sanity resides outside the hospital walls...or inside.
As the Bride Collector picks up the pace--and volume--of his gruesome crucifixions, the case becomes even more personal to Raines when his friend and colleague, a beautiful young forensic psychologist, becomes the Bride Collector's next target.
The FBI believes that the killer plans to murder seven women. Can Paradise help before it's too late?
©2010 Ted Dekker (P)2010 Hachette
Ted Dekker does an awesome job of hooking you right from the get-go. It is at first horrifying, while eventually it almost starts to seem logical. This story is very suspenseful and, at the same time, enlightening. I've recently learned that the true meaning of kindness is not just being nice to someone; but being nice to them while they are at fault, or at their worst. In a most grisly situation, Ted Dekker shows you kindness at every turn.
FBI Agent Brad Raines has a difficult case on his hands. Someone in Denver is kidnapping beautiful women only to kill them and glue them to the wall. The killer leaves them completely drained of blooded dressed up in a bride's dress. Notes are left inside a heel of some of the women. If decrypted correctly, Raines can take the next step in finding who is committing this string of murders.
But Raines is stumped. However, one of the clues sends him to the Center for Wellness and Intelligence where he meets a group of individuals who have suffered significant emotional trauma that leaves them unable to cope with the world on its terms. The administrator calls their mental incapacities gifts. Raines and his partner, Nikki, buy in to that concept and allow the group to assist them in solving the case. Part of that includes bringing in the body of the fifth victim for Paradise, one of the patients, to touch because one of her gifts is the ability to see ghosts, although no one is really sure if it's real or part of her illness.
Throughout the novel Raines questions his perception of mental illness as well as certain concepts of spirituality. He also plays around with an old psychological concept that we all have the potential of becoming mentally ill if faced with a certain stressor or trauma. He's a tragic figure, yet does experience personal growth to which we, as readers, are included.
At the end of the book, we are treated to an interview with Ted Dekker who explains how he came up with the idea of having patients from a mental institution as intricate players in the mystery. As he explains, he wanted to explore a different way of thinking about these individuals and what would happen if we, as a society, perceived them as having gifts.
The characters in the book are well developed and we find ourselves drawn into their world. We even like them.
Dekker handles some difficult subject matter in the novel and does so with grace and alacrity. There are spots in the novel which run a little slow and it takes longer than it should to get the story moving. However, the tension and suspense within the novel are well worth getting through those places.
Glover does a nice job of reading and makes it easy to identify each of the many characters within the novel. I recommend the book.
This is a great book. It was my first Dekker and will browse for more. He is a great story teller and a wonderful builder of characters. Narration is so important and Glover does it right! Highly recommend.
I wouldn't rate this as Ted's best work, but its definitely intriguing. There were a few times that I found the circumstances in the book a bit... out of place in the overall flow of the storyline (In terms of the manner the villain acted)... but I still found the book interesting. You are thrown into the plot at the beginning and the rest of the book builds at a fast/slow pace. Quickly shifting from one to the other may cause fatigue for some listeners/readers, but overall worked out in the author's favor.
It's no Circle Trilogy or Showdown, but I'd recommend it to any core Dekker fans.
If you are a Dekker fan you will love this book. He has come back to his "thriller" roots and grabs you from the start. First time I can remember Dekker writing from the killers perspective. It will make you think about your own faults and imperfections in way you probably have not done before. If you collect Dekker's books, like I do, you need to have this Bride Collector.
Suspenseful and full of intrigue! Dekker creates colorful characters, rich with idiosyncrasies, and masterfully weaves them through this macabre tale of a serial killer and the degrees of mental illness that plague the extremely intelligent mind. I can't wait for more from this brilliant author!
I've listened to a number of Dekker's books and loved this as much, if not more, than the others. I especially appreciated how the combination of a serial killer, mental illness, and a girl that doesn't shower so thoroughly demonstrated how much God loves us.
A stronger female protagonist. I do not like romance novels at all, so I did not like those moments in the novel however they felt very cliché.
I should have investigated this more before I purchased it - Had I realized at the time it is published I Harlequin I would absolutely not have gotten it.
I really enjoyed this book because there were so many unexpected moments. I would love to see this as a major motion movie. I hated when I had to stop listening, because I would find myself consumed with thoughts of what will happen next. The story twists and turns in ways that took me off track, but delightfully so.
Very interesting characters - would love a sequel featuring more from the institute. The drill was just creepy. Good read.
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