Sunday, July 01, 2007


I recently finished reading Skin by Ted Dekker.

I've read most of Dekker's books. There are a few I haven't gotten to yet. By and large, this is a pretty good book. The story is complex and keeps you guessing as to what is actually happening. I had the major plot figured out about halfway through, but I do that. I overanalyze books and try to figure out the plot. This time it worked. Next time it might not.

The story is basically about a killer named Sterling Red (what is with Dekker naming his villains after colors?) who has five people trapped in a small town outside Las Vegas. These five people have some sort of connection with Red and he's out to punish them for some past misdeed. He engages them in a deadly game where they have to determine who the ugliest is and then kill that individual. But since this is a Dekker story, you know it's not as simple as that.

For the most part, I enjoyed this story. It's not as blatantly Christian as some of Dekker's other work. As a matter of fact, aside from some references about beauty and ugliness that's kind of Christian and a few references to snakes, this book could probably pass as a secular thriller. I'm not complaining about that; I think it's fine if an author who usually writes Christian stories stretches his or her legs in the secular realm once in a while.
What bugged me about this book is that Dekker can't seem to break free from his Circle Trilogy. He had the same problem in Showdown, only it's not as pronounced in Skin. Dekker can't seem to get his mind out of those previous books. If you've read the Circle Trilogy, you'll recognize elements of it in the story. Thankfully, a person who hasn't read the Circle Trilogy can still get into this story and follow it, but I just wish that Dekker would write a book that didn't in some way reference the trilogy (although that'll be a good trick; according to a blurb in the back of the book, Dekker's next four books are a continuation of the Circle Trilogy!).

Perhaps the one thing that bugs me the most about this book is the fact has such broad overarching science fiction elements. I can't get more specific than that without revealing some major spoilers, but I can't help but wonder why so much of the CBA is so closed to sci-fi and yet Dekker can publish this. Doesn't seem fair, but then, I suppose, most sci-fi authors don't have the track record of Dekker.

So I guess if you like a good thriller, this book won't let you down. But if you're looking for a blatant Christian message, it's probably better to read something else.

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