Friday, February 22, 2008

Book review - ADAM by Ted Dekker

Captain's Log, Stardate 02.22.2008

Adam by Ted Dekker

He died once to stop the killer...now he's dying again to save his wife.

FBI behavioral psychologist Daniel Clark has become famous for his well-articulated arguments that religion is one of society’s greatest antagonists. What Daniel doesn’t know is that his obsessive pursuit of a serial killer known only as “Eve” is about to end abruptly with an unexpected death--his own.

Twenty minutes later Daniel is resuscitated, only to be haunted by the loss of memory of the events immediately preceding his death.

Daniel becomes convinced that the only way to stop Eve is to recover those missing minutes during which he alone saw the killer’s face. And the only way to access them is to trigger his brain’s memory dump that occurs at the time of death by simulating his death again…and again. So begins a carefully researched psychological thriller which delves deep into the haunting realities of near-death experiences, demon possession, and the human psyche.

"As always with a Ted Dekker thriller, the details of ADAM are stunning, pointing to meticulous research in a raft of areas: police and FBI methods, forensic medicine, psychological profiling-in short, all that accompanies a Federal hunt for a serial killer. But Dekker fully reveals his magic in the latter part of the book, when he subtly introduces his darker and more frightening theme. It's all too creepily convincing. We have to keep telling ourselves that this is fiction. At the same time, we can't help thinking that not only could it happen, but that it will happen if we're not careful."

New York Times best-selling author Ted Dekker unleashes his most riveting novel yet...an elusive serial killer whose victims die of unknown causes and the psychologist obsessed with catching him.

Camy here:

I’m almost ashamed to admit this is the first Ted Dekker book I’ve ever read. (I have tried to read Thr3e a couple times, but I kept getting bogged down by the first few pages, plus I already know about the explosion early in the book so it’s not a surprise.)

Anyway, Adam was an amazing page-turner that kept me reading to find out how it ends. I know now why he’s a best-selling author—his pacing is amazing and he reveals information in tantalizing pieces, riveting my attention to the page.

His storyline seems well-researched and is completely plausible to someone like me, who is not an FBI agent, medical doctor or forensic pathologist. People “in the know” might start arguing about points in the story, but I’m not one of the types of people who complain that CSI doesn’t portray real crime scenes or procedures—I just enjoy the stories! And I did that with this book.

Alex and Daniel seemed a bit too much alike in personality, and sometimes I got them a bit muddled in my head, but that might also be because I was reading at such a fast pace to finish the book.

People expecting the deep characterization of a women’s fiction novel will not find it here (then again, I would hope readers would realize before picking this book up that it’s a thriller and not a women’s fiction, and not judge it based on the criteria of what it’s not—sorry, a pet peeve of mine), but the characters are fleshed out enough for the reader to want to follow them through the story.

I’ve heard the author speak at Mount Hermon and have read several interviews with him, and I know he shows the darkness of evil in order to show the power of light—God’s power, God’s light.

However, this book is very dark, and I think he could have shown a bit more light.

The spiritual thread is very realistic—nothing cheesy or unbelievable to me, which I think is Dekker’s trademark anyway. But I do think that he could have infused a bit more hope, a bit more of Christ’s power, a bit more of Christ’s light.

I would not give this book to one of my high school students for that reason. Most teenagers that I’ve worked with don’t have a good conception of their own mortality, and therefore not a strong conception of God’s power and sovereignty. These are kids who are either frightened by the supernatural things they see in movies or contemptuous of demons, and neither type of teen is ready for a book like this, which is very graphic about demon possession.

So while this book is an incredible read, it also leaves me with a slightly haunted feeling that I don’t think is completely glorifying to God. My suggestion is to read cautiously and give all glory to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

4 comments :

  1. Good review. Adam didn't quite live up to my enjoyment of Dekker's other novels, but it was a thought-provoking read. Thr3e and Blink (rereleased as Blink of an Eye) remain my favorites. Don't worry about the explosion ruining your surprise in Thr3e - I think it's in the second chapter, and the book takes many turns after that.

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  2. Thanks for the review, Camy. I own a couple of his books (in my TBR pile) and need to pull them out. But maybe I shouldn't read late at night. :)

    Missy

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  3. Hey Camy, I read Adam about two weeks ago and loved it. I have read almost all of Dekker's books and they are always full of unexpected twists. I think I like Saint best. I'm not sure if I would agree with you about it being to dark for high schoolers, as I am a high schooler. I do think it could have had more emphasis on the saving power of Jesus Christ!
    About Thr3e, the explosion doesn't ruin any part of the book and it gets really good! If you like suspense and Ted Dekker, I would read House (which is coauthored by Frank Peretti). It doesn't have a really strong Jesus theme but it does have some incredible supernatural ideas in it. Don't read it at night though! Okay, I'm done yammering on and on! Your Sister, Sarah :-)

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  4. Thanks for the recommendation, Sarah! I also just found out that there is a CBA version and an ABA version of the book. The only difference is that the ABA version doesn't have a rather spiritual scene at the end, which lifts the story a bit more. I read the ABA version, apparently.
    Camy

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