The Bride Collector
Ted Dekker

Center Street
Hardcover/432 pages
ISBN: 1-59995196-7
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". . . thriller cubed, written by a master prose stylist . . ."

Flawless prose that plumbs the depths of true evil and the wonder of the awakening heart and mind.

She hangs from the rough wooden boards pale and perfect as an angel, a bridal veil covering her beautiful face, her head tilted a little, leaning forward on the pegs that support her arms, the bride of the Almighty, one of seven gifts that pave the way for one man to live again. She is the handiwork of a serial killer who walks among us undetected. He is handsome, urbane and wealthy and he is good at his work.

Special agent Brad Raines hunts the Bride Collector, determined to catch him and keep another woman from dying, but he’s getting too close to the killer and that cannot be allowed. The work must continue. The Almighty must have his brides so the killer can have the most beautiful woman in the world. To keep Raines from catching him, the killer targets those closest to Raines, and the match begins. The only ones who have a chance to stop the Bride Collector are four unusual people who live at the Center for Wellness and Intelligence, a private home for the mentally ill who are also gifted with great intelligence.

Ted Dekker slides easily and comfortably into the serial killer’s mind and that’s what makes The Bride Collector so chilling. It is easy to imagine this masterful monster sitting next to you at a restaurant or in line at the grocery or hardware store, or sitting at a light with his car idling next to yours. It is the unusual cast of characters and Dekker’s insight into the workings of the schizophrenic mind gifted with intelligence that adds suspense, deepening the trance cast by Dekker’s flawless prose and finely tuned pace. Despite the horror and nightmarish quality of The Bride Collector it takes real will power to put the book down.

A mere chapter and a half into Dekker’s nightmare in the daylight, I spent the night tossing and turning in the grip of horrific nightmares. It’s not just quality of his writing, but the insidious images that crept upon me unawares as I was caught inexorably in the grip of the killer’s world. It probably didn’t help that I know most of the places here in Colorado where Dekker laid his scene, but I do not doubt the story would have the same effect on me no matter where I lived.

The Bride Collector is thriller cubed, written by a master prose stylist who obviously knows not only criminals and the men and women who hunt them, but the view from minds affected by the cognitive dissonance of schizophrenia. His characters are memorable and his story unforgettable. I will add only one caveat: read The Bride Collector only in the daylight.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell