FBI Special Agent Brad Gaines is working with criminal psychologist Nikki Holden on one of the most stunning cases of their careers. A serial killer has murdered four beautiful women by draining all their blood out and leaving them at the scene with a bridal veil. They are calling him the Bride Collector. Since they believe that the killer has psychosis or schizophrenia, they turn to a mental health center to try to find information on the diseases and to see if anyone there knows their killer. While visiting, they cross paths with a group of intelligent schizophrenics who claim they can help them solve the case. One woman in particular, named Paradise, steals Brad's heart at first sight. Now he's working side by side with her to try to catch the culprit. But little do they know that the Bride Collector is targeting one of them next. And it could happen any day now...
Ted Dekker has written his fair share of serial killer novels. Adam, Skin, Boneman's Daughters, Th3e, House, to name a few. The last book he needed to write was another serial killer novel-unless he had an innovative idea to share, like Thr3e. But since he did not do this, there was little reason to write such a book.
The character department was the best and worst thing about this book. The best thing is the mental cases-always an interesting cast of characters to have. Paradise and her companions are certainly entertaining and add a fresh element to the plot. The worst thing is Quinton Gauld, the Bride Collector himself. Ted Dekker has too much fun creating sick minds like Quinton and also spends way too much time focusing in on the sick ways of the Bride Collector. As "there was one thing he hated, nay, two things he loathed" littered the pages of Boneman's Daughters, Ted invented a new catch phrase for Quinton. Brad and Nikki are interesting enough characters, yet they lack personality.
The worst thing about the book, besides Quinton, is the plot itself. Ted has become too methodical at his serial killer plots, because they are all the same. There are many typical elements, such as a showdown and several convenient connections. There is one unexpected key character death that adds flavor, yet it is a diamond among the rocky crags.
The good thing about Ted Dekker is that unlike other authors of his popularity level, he knows how to be original and adds some original elements to all of his books, they just sometimes get outweighed by unoriginal elements. The release of Immanuel's Veins this fall will indicate whether he is still on the right track.