Author: Ted Dekker
Hardback: 401 pages
They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.
Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.
Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.
But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.
-From the front flap of BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker
When I first heard of this book, I was excited to read it. The interactive site has creepy music and graphic pictures, and it looked as if it was going to be a suspense/horror novel. I was all geeked out when I won a copy from The Literate Housewife‘s giveaway. Alas, it has not lived up to the hype.
It is possible that I am disappointed in it because of the genre confusion. It is, as it turns out, more of a crime/detective novel… something like Coben, but not nearly as good. There is nothing like wetting your whistle for a tall glass of icy sweet tea, only to guzzle down lukewarm pickle juice instead. So the fact I was geared up for some Clive and got Coben-knock-off didn’t help. But… that wasn’t all.
As I read along, there were ways that Dekker wrote than just annoyed me. Choices in words and phrases, as well as the way he stretched credulity beyond its snapping point. By the end of the novel, I honestly didn’t know if the bad guy was going to win, not because his snazzy and clever writing, but because “Hell, at this point, anything’s possible.” Honestly. The Iraqi boneman takes Ryan, then the Texas BoneMan takes his daughter… and then that final connection between the serial killer and Ryan’s daughter was too much. It made my “willing suspension of disbelief” impossible to maintain.
Add to that the complete lack of character development, or believable motives, or any reason I’d feel any sympathy for any of them. By the end of the book I was hoping BoneMan would kill Ryan, the detectives, the publisher, me… Dekker, even. Just get it over with! End my misery! Kill me now so I don’t have to finish!
A positive thing to say about it… Dean Koontz can sleep well knowing he’s not my least favorite author anymore. Also, Dekker does present a fascinating moral dilemma. How far would you go to protect your child? Would you be willing to let another die in your child’s place? Would you be willing to kill innocent people to save them? I’ve found myself returning to this concept long after putting the book down.
I give BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker 2 out of 5 stars.