Series: Hansen & Gilmore #1
Published by Center Street on April 2011
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
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In The Priest's Graveyard, Ted Dekker engages the eyes of those that can see and the ears of those who can hear to ask deep questions about the nature of morality, the purpose of the Law, and the power of Grace.
Two broken souls. Two very different, very twisted paths. Two ways of looking at life. But when their paths converge, both of their lives will be shaken. Danny Hansen is a Bosnian immigrant to America who grew up amidst a terrible war between those who called themselves Christians. Now he is a priest to those who acknowledge their need for redemption, and an avenging angel to those who are not.
Renee Gilmore is a captive, but she doesn’t know it. Her life started out so innocently, but soon devolved to a place where it took a special man to save her – Lamont Myers. But there’s more to Lamont than meets the eye. Renee adapts slowly to his strange behavior and weird sense of control, but soon comes to accept it as completely natural. But then one day Lamont never returns, forcing Renee to seek out the man she believes killed him. Thus it is that Danny and Renee meet, forging a friendship that based on their mutual interest in one man.
Ted Dekker’s writing has never been better than in The Priest’s Graveyard. His ability to keep the reader glued to the page just gets better and better as he weaves a unique tale about a very unlikely duo. Unlike most novels, where the protagonist’s goal is to stop the serial killer, Dekker puts you into the minds of the killers themselves and makes them the good guys. Empathy comes easy. Danny only kills those who despise redemption; Renee seeks vengeance for a great wrong.
The pace is blisteringly fast—perhaps too fast at points—as Danny and Renee’s story all leads to a final shocking conclusion. The story that precedes is totally written for the twist, bringing the novel thematic depth and personal introspection. From a thematic aspect, Dekker is completely in his element, penning one of his most interesting takes on Law and Grace yet. My one complaint is that I would liked to have seen Lamont’s character developed more fully to really draw out the symbolism Dekker was trying to convey.
But overall, it is my love for the theme of being saved from the power of Law that really caused me to enjoy The Priest’s Graveyard. In the process of telling a page-turning story, Dekker engages the eyes of those that can see and the ears of those who can hear to ask deep questions about the nature of morality, the purpose of the Law, and the power of Grace. Dekker challenges those who think they have their lives together, suggesting that the monster within is something they are not without and that it is but by Grace can we stand victorious. The only question is whether or not Danny and Renee will discover this to be true before they are judged with the same judgment through which have judged.
Dekker’s writing continues to get better and better as he tackles more complex themes and brings to life more complex characters. His writing shines like a light upon the soul, inviting introspection and demanding thought into humanity’s deepest issues. More than just an author who seeks to solely entertain, Dekker is a Storyteller—one who laces their tales with meaning, purpose, and passion for the sake of helping the reader discover some new Truth. And The Priest’s Graveyard is another solid accomplishment in that goal. Good thing too, because Dekker has recently revealed that his April 2012 release is going to be a sequel called The Sanctuary. I can’t wait to see where Dekker takes these gripping characters.
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