Quinton Gauld, aka The Bride Collector, believed himself to be a messenger of God. His task was to find the seven beautiful women God had chosen as his favorite and present them to God in an elaborate ritual that included draining their blood. Special Agent Brad Raines was trying to stop him. After three victims, though, the FBI's investigation was getting them no closer to the killer. When Quinton leaves a note with his fourth victim, Brad is given an unusual lead--a mental health facility for wealthy, highly intelligent people. While following up on this lead, Brad meets an intriguing quartet of residents, all exceptionally intelligent individuals with gifts and abilities capable of making the connections necessary to finding the killer. However, one of the four, Paradise, quickly becomes more than simply someone who can help locate the killer. This mysterious woman, trapped by fear and panic, afraid of men and distrustful of almost everyone, is able to see a person's final memory before death by touching their body. After touching the fifth victim, an image of the killer is trapped in her mind, but before she can describe him to the FBI, she must first overcome her fears and be able to trust Brad. In a story as much about love as murder, The Bride Collector, is both dramatic and touching, reminding the reader of the love God has for each individual.
When Adam was released, I remember reading a thread on Dekker's website questioning the number of serial killer novels he had written. At that time, Adam was the only true serial killer novel. While his other books had killers, often brutal and inventive, they weren't true serial killers. However, two more serial killer novels later (plus 8 Circle/Paradise books), I'm beginning to ask the same question. I love these types of novels. In fact they are some of my favorites, but I'm ready for a change. I'd really like to see the imagination and ingenuity that Dekker showed earlier in his career. I miss the original plots and subtle themes of his older books. The recent works are still good, but Dekker seems to be in a bit of a rut with most of his creativity stemming from how to make the same themes seem fresh.
The Bride Collector is a lot like BoneMan's Daughters. They both feature quirky, intelligent killers who stalk beautiful women. While BoneMan believed he was Satan, The Bride Collector believed he was a messenger from God. Both killers have a tormented past and twisted theology to guide them. In each book, the victims have men desperately trying to rescue them. In one book it's the victim's father, in the other, a man who loves her. Throughout the books, there's a repetitive reminder of God's love for everyone and His willingness to stop at nothing to woo and rescue them. Additionally, each book reveals the name of the killer and their personality early in the story. There is little mystery about who did it, just a question as to whether or not the reader knows the killer by another name. There are no amazing plot twists. Pretty much what the reader suspects from the beginning, is what they get. Even with several similarities, though, these books are different enough maintain the reader's interest.
Dekker does not usually excel in character development. His strengths are plot and storytelling, which are normally fast paced and unpredictable. However, he seemed to take a bit more time with this book and more fully developed several of the characters. While none of them are especially deep, there was a decent amount of time spent letting the reader begin to understand the characters, especially the ones in the mental health facility. I would have liked more though. These were four very interesting individuals and while Dekker did a good job of giving the reader a wonderful non-stereotypical view of mentally ill people, I wanted to know these character's lives. The reader is given vague background for some, but I wanted completely developed stories for these extraordinary people. These characters and their interaction was the strength of this book and they separate it from other serial killer novels on the market.
The theme of God's love dominates this story. Dekker is right on and he offers honest truth when it comes to God's equal love for everyone. From the hardened criminal to the wounded child, everyone is God's favorite. I wish Dekker would back off some though. His thoughts are dead on and incredibly important, but I've noticed a trend where his point is repeated more and more often and the subtlety that I so enjoyed in his earlier works is pretty much gone. As The Bride Collector approaches its climax, the reader has been told so many times how special they are, much of the impact is diminished. The closing scenes between Brad and the latest chosen victim feels forced and what is most likely suppose to be raw emotion comes across as dramatic tears. With less reinforcement of the themes of love and beauty, these scenes would invoke the strong emotion they should.
One factor that strongly affects my opinion of The Bride Collector, is Steven James' Patrick Bower's series. The latest book, The Knight, is an FBI serial killer novel and is absolutely outstanding. That book has set a very high standard for serial killer novels and The Bride Collector simply doesn't measure up. So while it is a good story, it lacks the depth of characters, plot development, and research that James adds to his books and has consequently spoiled me a bit. Regardless, for readers who loved BoneMan's Daughter, it's pretty much guaranteed they'll enjoy The Bride Collector.
I have read many thrillers over the years by Jeffery Deaver, Patricia Cornwell, John Sandford and others and, while I love the genre, thrillers can tend to be rather formulaic and often push too far beyond the realm of believability. This was my first book by Ted Dekker and, while certainly there are plenty of "out there" elements to the story, it never got to the point where I was irritated by it as I have been with some books of this genre. The thing I liked … more
I've been reading Dekker for years - he is one of the few decent Christian authors. He is a very good writer and he can really get into the mind of the characters. With other books, Dekker has woven an intense story around a Christian theme that has made me look at things in a different way. The theme was cleverly disguised as a suspense novel. The Bride Collector, however, I found to be predictable and lacking subtlety. I think … more
This is the first Dekker book I've read, and I'm not sure I'll pick up another. Though the plot has lots of wonderful elements, they never really gel into a thriller in this book- I get more chills from an episode of Criminal Minds. Though Raines was an interesting and well-drawn character, I never really warmed to Paradise or bought into their interactions. The other patients at the hospital are interesting, more interesting than the spiritual questions they raise for Raines, but do seem to have … more
It took me a while to finish this book. It's not because I hated the book or the author. I adore Ted Dekker's books. And I enjoyed the story. I was just completely creeped out by the story. Not in a scared to death that I can't go to sleep way but in a "Blargh, I want to throw up because I feel creepy crawlies running up my arm" way. I have discovered that I really don't like stories that involve psychotic killers who have mental problems. My guess is that I don't like how there is no reason for … more
This is my first Dekker novel - don't really know why I haven't read anything by him before - but that is definitely soon to change. The Bride Collector was an edge of your seat suspenseful thriller that I really enjoyed. It started off a bit slow for me, but midway through the book I was completely hooked. I just had to know what would happen next. Raines and Paradise were both great. I enjoyed their interactions with one another. But I have to say that I was really taken by some of the residents … more
As part of the Amazon Vine review program, I recently selected the book The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker as one of my review items. I've not had the opportunity to read any of Dekker's works before, and the psychological thriller sounded like a decent way to spend a few evenings. Overall, the book was enjoyable. I'd have liked it to be a bit tighter in places where the action seemed to drag, but there were definitely enough characters to keep my interest. Brad Raines is an … more
Taut and well written, this is a suspenseful psychological novel. A serial killer in Denver captures beautiful women and impales them by gluing them to a wall, one woman in each of seven different sordid locations, each woman dressed in a bridal veil. Of course they are all beautiful and they are all young. The killer leaves no DNA, no fingerprints, no tire tracks, nothing that investigators can use to discover his identity. But we the readers find out who he is early in the novel, a brilliant, … more
The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker is another terrifying novel from the king of Christian horror. Brad Raines is tracking a serial killer who has come to be known as the Bride Collector for his posing of the victims. When the FBI runs out of leads, a letter the killer leaves behind takes Brad to a mental institution where he finds that some of the residents may have insight into the mind of the psychopathic murderer. One of the residents, Paradise, is rumored to see ghosts and be able to see the … more
A little bit about me. I read primarily Christian fiction. My favorites are suspense, with supernatural elements always being a plus. I most enjoy books that will keep me thinking well after I'm done … more
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'Ted Dekker is a true master of thrillers, and this is his best.' -- Nelson DeMille 'It doesn't just get under your skin. It crawls there, nests, and raises its head with a bitter tug, as if it's living within you.' -- Brad Meltzer '...a tour-de-force of suspense that demands to be read in one sitting.' -- James Rollins--This text refers to thePaperbackedition.