The Bride Collector
by Ted Dekker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The Bride Collector / 978-1-599-95196-6
I picked this up at the library, and it's my first Ted Dekker novel. I understand he's quite famous, and I don't want to be overly negative, but I just really didn't enjoy this novel, and it didn't hold my interest. I really like crime dramas on television, and this novel definitely doesn't seem to fit that demographic.
There seems to be very little emphasis on either the physical hunt or the psychological chase. CODIS and AFIS are mentioned about once each, very perfunctorily, and after that it seems like every crime scene is described (and dismissed) with a quick "Brad knew the killer was too smart to leave any X behind" where X is biologicals, fingerprints, useful fibers, etc. This gets sort of frustrating after a time, as if Brad has a direct line to the author; even on CSI when the clues don't pan out, we still get to read about the search. The psychological profiling is almost as flimsy - the detectives operate by a stream-of-consciousness rapid-fire profiling, where they just say the first thing that comes to their mind, because rapid guesses are "more real" or something. It's all very mystical.
For the first 100+ pages, the only detective work we really see is that the FBI detectives consult a psychic! This is kind of hand-waved by her being some kind of mentally gifted savant who "sees" ghosts as a way of processing all the extra information she picks up that other people miss, but at the end of the day that "extra information" isn't being processed by anyone except the psychic, so that's what she fundamentally is, within the boundaries of the story. Since this thread seemed so tenuous, it didn't hold my interest at all, I'm afraid.
A lot of this is written like a romance novel to me. The lead investigator is a "blond George Clooney" (and please can authors stop writing like this? I can count on one hand the number of Hollywood dead-ringers I've met in my life. I'd really rather go back to "tall, dark, and handsome" than these Tom Cruise, George Clooney, and Matt Damon lookalikes in all my books), and pages and pages and pages are spent describing the women in the novel studying him, thinking about him, desiring him, and feeling like they aren't worth his time, etc. Also, one of the female main characters is named "Paradise", which makes me feel like I'm being beat about the head with Meaningful Names.
Little details are missing that bug me. When the serial killer breaks into a woman's house, he carefully cuts through the window glass to avoid triggering the alarm contacts that she has on all her doors and windows. At the end of the chapter, though, he strolls out the back door. What happened to the alarm system? He can't have turned it off from the inside, because modern alarm systems require a code - there's not just an "off" button. Maybe he cut the wires or something, but it's a strange thing to omit.
Anyway, I'm sorry to be so negative, but I just couldn't get into this novel the way I wanted to. The lack of "investigative meat" bugged me. I'm sure this would be a great novel for anyone looking for a romance / thriller-lite novel, as long as you don't expect forensics and don't mind the psychic consultations.
~ Ana Mardoll
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