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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Serial killer thriller challenges accepted spiritual themes

Every Ted Dekker novel I?ve read easily pulled me in with its tantalizing one-word title and refused to let go until I finished the last page. Unwilling to stray from the path of intensity paved by similar thrillers such as Skin and House, Dekker’s newest, Adam, released this spring, captures the same trademark action and suspense.

The plot follows Daniel Clark, an FBI psychologist, and his obsession with tracking down the serial killer ?Eve.” For 15 months, Eve systematically murdered 15 young women by (supposedly) introducing them to an unknown form of meningitis, each time escaping with no clues to his real identity.

On the sixteenth month of Eve’s rampage, Daniel finds himself confronting the killer face-to-face, whereupon Eve shoots Daniel in the head and runs off safely. Later resuscitated, Daniel?s determination to find his adversary’s identity in the recesses of his memory drives him to induce near-death experiences in order to jog his memory about Eve. His determination turns to desperation when the killer captures his next victim: Heather, Daniel’s wife.

The whole plot of the book captivates the reader; it hardly slows down throughout 387 pages. As the novel races along, the focus on the physical world shifts to the spiritual realm, changing the tone from thrilling to a don?t-read-this-after-dark nuance.

Not that the subject of the spiritual realm scares me ? I am fully aware it exists. American culture focuses mainly on the physical world and likes to disregard the presence of a spiritual world, so delving into the supernatural in a novel is somewhat unnatural. The story can become unnerving when evil takes the upper hand in the theme and in Daniel himself.

The sometimes overwhelming subject of evil gives the book sinister, serious tones and may cause readers to think Adam?s style is too dark. I believe, though, that the book bears its heavy tone because of Daniel’s ignorant blunder into the presence of evil, caused by his disbelief of its existence. Even as Dekker forces his readers to painfully examine the darkness of evil, he clearly shows how the light triumphs over opposing forces.

As in Dekker?s other books, good predictably triumphs over evil, but it doesn’t matter how often he uses the theme. His ability to creatively reinvent yet another magnificent showdown keeps Adam from being anywhere close to trite.

What really makes the book come alive is the accurate detail Dekker uses as a result of painstaking research in FBI methods and forensics. Dekker knows exactly what he?s writing about, and it gives me another reason to respect him.

Also similar to his previous works, Dekker writes Adam using multiple perspectives through the characters, giving the reader a broader view of the story. This time, though, Dekker chose to enhance the plot even more by inserting fabricated news articles that eventually explained Eve?s past.

Unfortunately, I found too much passive language in the news articles, which caused a bit of disappointment; the journalism had the potential for more colorful English.

Despite lackadaisical news reports and dark overtones, I recommend Adam to anyone who loves thrillers and exploring the deep mysteries of spiritual warfare.

Adam is available at Barnes and Noble for $20.79.

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