Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review of The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

I thoroughly enjoyed Ted Dekker’s novel, The Bride Collector, so I snatched up The Priest’s Graveyard in an instant. However, I found it to be nowhere near as suspenseful or exciting as Collector.

The Priest’s Graveyard reads more like a love story, albeit a violent one. Told in rotating viewpoints, first person from Renee Gilmore’s pov and third person from Father Danny Hansen, the story follows the pair as they are brought together by unfortunate circumstances and continue on the same dangerous path.

Hansen was born and raised in northern Bosnia and witnessed the rape and murder of his mother and sisters at the young age of fifteen. Scarred for life, he becomes a resistance fighter and manages within two years to kill the men responsible for his family’s murders.

After immigrating to the United States and becoming a priest, Danny continues his avenging angel ways. He stalks his victims for weeks, watching and studying their movements before he strikes. He’s very similar to Showtime’s Dexter, since he goes after the worst offenders, those who prey on the weaknesses of innocent people, and those who use money and power to oppress.

Renee Gilmore is a drug addict with an abusive boyfriend. During a bad trip, she is rescued from a brutal beating by a guardian angel, Lamont Meyers. He nurses her back to health, treats her addiction, makes her fall in love with him, and then disappears for good.

She knows who’s responsible for his death, Lamont’s employer Jonathan Bourque.

In the meantime, Danny has caught the scent of Bourque as worthy of his ‘attentions’. His mission becomes hopelessly tangled with Renee, who demands he include her in his vengeful task. Danny tries to put her off but she persists.

And persists.

Danny finally agrees to train her and take her in his vendetta against Bourque after she wears him down. Then she systematically sabotages everything Danny plans as she exerts her own agenda, wanting to destroy Bourque on her own time, on her own terms.

One of the most tedious aspects of the book was Renee’s repeated stupid acts that kept ruining Danny’s well-organized plans. I became exasperated with her antics.

But the plans to avenge Bourque’s crimes against humanity provides only a back drop for the blossoming romance between Danny and Renee which grows large enough to take over the whole book.

Among the sneaking around, breaking in places, and shoot-outs, each finds the heart they thought they had lost forever. The violence gives The Priest’s Graveyard its edge but the love story, although never mushy, softens the cut. Not exactly chick-lit but not on the same level as The Bride Collector.

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