The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

The Bride CollectorThe Bride Collector. Finished 3-28-15, rating 3/5, thriller, pub. 2010

Unabridged audio 14 hours. Read by John Glover.

FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he’s picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellbeing and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.

It’s there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person’s life when she touches the dead body.

from Goodreads

As far as thrillers go, I thought this was good. I liked the focus on the residents of the psychiatric institute, especially since each of the characters was unique and interesting. The story told from Paradise’s viewpoint was, as you might expect, scattered and increasingly neurotic.  It was an interesting and fresh view.  Brad the FBI agent and the Bride Collector himself were both somewhat standard fare.  Since the story really alternated between Paradise, Brad and the Bride Collector there were three very distinct and unsettling viewpoints.  Brad and Paradise’s attraction was both unexpected and somewhat unbelievable.

I admit that the narration made this story seem so melodramatic that it may have contributed to my ambivalence toward the book.  It didn’t help elevate it, that’s for sure.  I thought the FBI’s use of the psychiatric institute seemed false.  It seemed like Brad wasn’t doing any real detective work and just spent his days planning how to see Paradise again and use her real or imagined powers of seeing death from the dead’s point of view.  I hope this is not how the real FBI operates. I’m okay with using alternative avenues of investigation, but it was the only avenue he was using.

I’ve been wanted to read Dekker for a while and I’m glad I finally got around trying one. I’m undecided on whether he’s worth giving a second shot.  Any Dekker fans out there who have a favorite that I should try?