The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker Review

An old man named Robert gave me a lot of his time. He was in his 90s, and he was known to me as “grandpa”, because I had married into the family. He was a wise old man. He was brave. He stormed Normandie, then became a barber. Before he died we would spend a lot of hours watching Investigation Discovery Channel, a cable channel completely dedicated to true crime. Within that arena, I saw so many stories of what happened in the lives of so many people, many of them snuffed out early. We bonded together within that arena, and when I picked up “The Bride Collector” by Ted Dekker, I felt as though the story was real, or at least as real as some of the crimes that got dramatized and discussed through the true crime giant.

Dekker’s story is labeled a thriller, but I found it to have elements of horror. In fact, the way the story unravels is very much like that of a horror movie, though it’s still labeled as a thriller overall. The main story focuses on a detective that is trying to crack the latest serial killer case. When he gets caught up, stuck, he finds that he may need help from a pair of mental health patients, and deal with an outside source regarding the world of psychic abilities and more. I liken the storyline to “12 Monkeys” and “Dexter”, as it unravels in the same fashion. The story has a formula, and there are moments that I felt like I was watching, “The Silence of the Lambs”. There is a formula to the writing, and Dekker’s good at plot points, which stunned me.

Like any true crime story, there is a crime, a victim, and the larger portion of what detectives have to do to do their job. There are many things that stand out within the confines of true crime, but one thing that stood out to me in this book was a carefully juxtaposed area of mental health, what it means to be beautiful, and biblical premise. The serial killer uses Song of Solomon to explore the notion of what he is doing, god’s chosen to die, and he uses crucifixion as a premise to leave the victims to be found. Throughout the narrative, Dekker notes serial killer components, and one that speaks to the nature of the mind, which often embraces scripture for motivational progression (Beavis, 2016). This is a consequential thing that works itself out through the A and B story that Dekker writes, and makes you second guess what your standard of beauty truly is.

I found myself lost in the story. I was in the insane asylum with Paradise, and others, I saw them attempting to solve cases, and have a sense of expertise that some call “crazy”. There’s emotional connections sewn throughout, and Dekker seems to be a well-read individual, or perhaps he saw some true crime stuff and ran with it. Whatever the case is, the story highlights the evolution of the human spirit from what some deem insane, to being out in the world and “safe” from the horrors that are manifesting all around.

“The Bride Collector” by Ted Dekker takes you from a simple premise, a serial killer being chased by an FBI agent. But as Dekker reveals more about the mentally ill, and the concept of advanced learning, I begin to think about our own world. How many people around us are genius, or can possess a certain clairvoyance for things? Yet we dismiss them out of skepticism, until we need them, and then we start to believe. Dekker knows this, which is why there’s several sub plots that are slow burning. The sign of a great book for me is when an author can pull attention away from the main plot and develop character mannerisms, and plot points that make sense. Dekker writes a captivating story, and one that has some special call outs to “The League”, specifically when Rafi met Dirty Randy, and they are in an insane asylum. This also reminds me of the “It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia” episode that featured Sinbad in an insane asylum. There are comedic moments, and then there are serious moments, but there’s an overall reach that Dekker creates that you can pull from other existing pop culture references.  That is either a sign that Dekker is a great writer, or I have consumed so much media that the tones and specific story arcs are familiar to me from outside resources. That means that Dekker’s story resonates with me, because I can understand the visual design flow introduced by the words of the book. Even if they are not parallel, I can draw conclusions before Dekker ever has a chance to overexplain.

As you dive into “The Bride Collector” by Ted Dekker, you’re going to follow along several distinctive paths. He purposely weaves the narrative to allow for questioning of what insanity is and may not be. I found myself thinking about clairvoyance, for instance. I’ve heard people saying that they have that gift, but what if it’s just a measure of insanity? Scholars discuss this a great deal, and many look for publishing a great deal of articles and issues within the realms of futurism of sorts. What is genius and what is insanity, for instance, is a defining line scholars argue about and continue to argue (Sully, 1885). Of course, there are more modern examples of writing, including those that choose to focus on entertainment mediums. One scholar discusses the notion of clairvoyance and sanity as it looks into the world of cinema and consciousness, aligning the definitions that we pull from pop culture on the idea of insanity versus genius (McGrath, 1985).  Then it comes full circle. As I saw grandpa fade away, we discussed whether or not many of the true crime killers had a sense of conscience. Most didn’t, it seemed, and Dekker’s book reflects on the larger scope, even until the end.

“The Bride Collector” by Ted Dekker is a fine book, with horror elements, and a thriller pace, I think a lot of people will enjoy it, if they give it a chance. Dekker’s work can seem dry here and there, but he creatively pieces together on hell of a puzzle, and once the solution is received, you get relieved, for what occurs as a result of assistance. This is not the first time I’ve read Ted Dekker’s work, but it’s the first one that I got lost in at times. I did not love the ending, but many true crime stories don’t end with good endings. This is not a true crime book, mind you, but the crimes, the FBI investigation and story line feels a lot like one. If you’re a fan of true crime, but are jaded with the constant ups and downs, you may very well want a break, and here is a great one if you ask me.

References

Beavis, M. A. (2016). ” Angels Carrying Savage Weapons:” Uses of the Bible in Contemporary Horror Films. Journal of Religion & Film7(2), 2.

Sully, J. (1885). GENIUS AND INSANITY. The Nineteenth century and after: a monthly review17(100), 948-969.

Blassnigg, M. (2006). Clairvoyance, Cinema, and Consciousness. Screen Consciousness: Cinema, Mind and World4, 105.

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