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Ted Dekker's new book, The Bride Collector, has set a new standard in a Christian writer's ability to both capture gruesome deaths and portray the power of love and forgiveness.
The Bride Collector, the alias given to the serial killer, only kills beautiful women for the purpose of delivering them to God. He's aiming for seven brides in total. To him, his intentions are of a noble purpose: to serve God. However, through the story's hero, Brad Raines, the bride collector is forced to reconsider his motivations.
"His motivation is in finding life," Raines says in the story, "not in delivering death. He believes he's leading the women into life."
Once it is revealed to the killer that he wasn't working for God, but for the devil, the story draws a louder gasp from the readers. Sure, the part where the bride collector drains his victim's blood, after drilling holes through their heels and finally gluing them naked to the walls, is quite disturbing to read in the first place. But what most grips the reader is that he keeps on pursuing his psychopathic ways even after the hero opened his mind to the truth about his sin.
"I'm going to finish what I should have finished a long time ago," declares the bride collector as he plots to kill another bride. "And when I'm finished with her, I'm going to find another one. And I'm not going to stop until they're all dead because that's what I do. I kill God's favorites."
Because Raines is so desperate to find the killer, he decides to seek help from unconventional methods. He goes to the Center for Wellness and Intelligence, a private home for gifted mentally ill residents. At CWI, Raines grows close to a young woman, named Paradise, whose ability to see "ghosts" might be the key to figuring out who the next victim will be.
As the story gains momentum, the reader is forced to read to the end. The many questions the reader is bewildered with are answered through latent memories, repressed feelings and disturbing childhood experiences from both the killer and hero.
Although the gruesome details and disturbing images from the novel may be hard to imagine in the Christian reader's mind, it is the familiar image of hope, faith and forgiveness that ultimately captures the reader's heart and presents a world seen beyond the borders of evil.