Two abandoned souls are on the hunt for one powerful man. Soon, their paths will cross and lead to one twisted fate.
Danny Hansen is a Bosnian immigrant who came to America with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother’s life. Now he’s a priest who lives by a law of love and compassion. It is powerful men and hypocrites who abide by legal law but eschew the law of love that most incense Danny. As an avenging angel, he believes it is his duty to show them the error of their ways, at any cost.
Renee Gilmore is the frail and helpless victim of one such powerful man. Having escaped his clutches, she now lives only to satisfy justice by destroying him, regardless of whom she must become in that pursuit.
But when Danny and Renee’s paths become inexorably entangled things go very, very badly and neither of them may make it out of this hunt alive.
Judge not, or you too will be judged.
Before you pick up this book you have to commit to seeing it through to the end. If you are a new reader to Ted Dekkker be forewarned that this is not your typical inspirational fiction suspense novel; in fact, I hesitate to box it into that category because everything about Dekker’s writing pushes against boundaries. There is graphic content that is not for the faint hearted and, unfortunately for you skimmers, if you skip over those pages you will miss out on substantial character conflict and motivations. The first 40 pages or so held my throat in a vice grip and I had marks on my face from where I had unconsciously clamped a hand over my mouth. I cannot recall ever physically reacting to a storyline as much as I did with Dekker’s vengeful tale.
Great authors provoke debate and deep critical thinking. There is a fine line between coaxing a reader into interaction with the moral and maxim of the story and pressuring them to superimpose the mindset of the characters from the first page. There were times when Dekker crossed the line from prodding into pushing. If you feel like the author is playing you, that’s probably because he is. Nothing is as it initially seems and, because of this, the plot incited emotional reactions across the spectrum as I was pulled deeper and deeper into the belly of the beast. I love Ted’s fast paced plots, but at first I felt jarred from the jumps between one highly emotional and traumatizing scene to another. This may have been because it has been a while since I have read a thriller book of this calibre and needed to reacclimatize to the pace.
A quarter way through I began to have conversations (well, more like outbursts) with this book because of my paranoid trepidation for what was looming in the shadows of the next page. I found Danny to be disturbingly compelling and tragically easy to sympathize with in spite of his twisted idea of justice. In Danny’s character I could draw many similarities with Dexter (a television program about a forensic analyst who is a serial killing vigilante). One of the conflicts in Danny’s character that I couldn’t resolve was his hypocrisy in justifying his actions because he was doing God’s work and cleansing the world of sadistic miscreants, yet, he clearly states in his journal that the Bosnian War that brutally robbed him of his mother and sisters was also fought on the grounds of religion and cleansing. Renee at times came across as a caricature of who the story needed her to be. After everything that she had endured, I sometimes found it difficult to buy in to her extreme naiveté and innocence.
The most rampant word used by reviewers and readers of this book is riveting. It cannot be put more accurately. This is one of my favourite books by Dekker, even though I realize that it will not be to everyone’s taste. Will I be rereading it anytime soon? Once was quite enough, thank you. But it is a story that I will not soon forget.
**This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes**