Friday, November 13, 2009
As I mentioned in my review of The Angel's Game, when I finished the audio, I was so twisted, I bailed on a feel-good audio about 15 minutes into it. And I turned instead to BoneMan's Daughters. Nothing like going from one demented story to the next. I'd never read anything written by Dekker before, but was open to his experience. After all, I knew he'd been influenced by Stephen King, when he'd read The Stand in 8th grade (the exact age I read that same masterpiece.) I liked the sound of this guy.
I tend to be picky when it comes to my murder mysteries. I've read thousands of them in my day, so they really have to do something special and memorable to stand apart from the "masses". And these days, the "masses" seem to be bent on outdoing each other. Your standard mother-hating, religious fanatic that carves up his victims and eats them doesn't cut it anymore (pardon the pun!). It seems that each serial murder just gets more and more outlandish. Which, in part, is what I found here. But I am getting ahead of myself.
In this story, we have a career military intelligence guy, Ryan Evans, who had a life-shattering experience as a prisoner in Iraq. Determined to live his life on the straight and narrow after he is rescued, he runs back to Texas to shower love and gifts on his wife and daughter, who he had abandoned years ago. No real shocker, the girls aren't buying what he's selling. Wife is in love with somebody else and wants a divorce, and the daughter wants nothing to do with him.
While this is all happening, a madman is on the loose. Dubbed BoneMan, he captures young girls and methodically breaks all of their bones without breaking the skin, causing the victims to die of internal bleeding. For a variety of reasons I won't go into, he sets his sights on Evans' daughter, and then incites Evans to commit BoneMan-ish crimes to prove his love for his daughter, putting Evans on the wrong side of the law.
First, let's talk about the characters. I didn't really connect with any of them. I tried! Evans must be some kind of schmuck to think he can abandon his family for over a decade and expect to be able to talk his way back into their lives. I don't care if his heart IS in the right place. Evans' estranged wife is a floozie and is self-centered, and his daughter was a teenager with an attitude. I found myself annoyed with all of them and their theatrics. BoneMan (aka Alvin, who we are introduced to halfway through the book) is your uber-freak. He hates his mother, he is a religious nut, and is on a mission to find the perfect "daughter". If she doesn't measure up, he cracks all their bones, similar to a crucifixion. He shaves his body and lathers himself with Noxema lotion. Pretty formulaic.
Plotwise, Dekker gave us a few unique unforeseeable twists, which I loved. More than a few raised eyebrows on my part, which is always a good sign. However, I'm sure that most of you could predict the end without breaking a sweat. We get good insight on Evans, his background in the military, and his reality check in the Middle East. We don't get all that much background on Alvin, though. We get peripheral glimpses of Ricki Valentine, an FBI agent with a soft heart, and the pompous Austen D.A. who has snagged Evans' wife's attention.
Overall, a fairly unsatisfying but mildly entertaining yarn. It was probably to this novel's detriment that I just recently read "The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo", which will not be soon forgotten. Unfortunately, by the end of this book, I was ready to move on. Will I give another Ted Dekker book a try? Absolutely. Anybody that loves Stephen King is alright by me!
2.5 out of 5 stars