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Ted Dekker’s The Priest’s Graveyard is a riveting suspense/thriller character piece. The story starts with a woman named Renee Gilmore who feels a pressing need to deliver a written confession to a Father Andro, a Bosnian priest, from a Danny Hansen, who suffers a terrible personal heartbreak that shapes the rest of his life. It ends with a plea for God to have mercy on his actions. The scenario concludes with Renee's confession to Father Andro, “The rest begins with me.”

From here, Dekker employs a two-character narrative that switches Point of Views between Renee and Danny. In broad strokes, the two angst-ridden figures' middle names spell T-R-A-G-E-D-Y. Danny's a priest who respects the office well enough at least to those who don't know about his dark impulses forged early in life. Renee's a drug addict on her own after a lousy start in life and on her last legs when a knight in shining everything named Lamont Myers scoops her up in his arms amidst a shootout. Despite the life or death threat, Myers takes her to safe confines and sort of nurses her back to health. Something about the setup doesn’t feel genuine. But if a stranger sweeps you up and away from drug dealing killers in the thick of night amidst a barrage of gunfire, hey, a grateful heart is a grateful heart.

Seems a Jonathan Bourque's a monster on the radar of both Danny and Renee. Why? For him, he’s a name atop a list of some of the viler human beings that Hansen believes sucks up oxygen better used for the more deserving amongst us. For her, he’s Myers' assassin. In the eyes of both, Bourque's actions require vengeance. Without giving away too much, Renee becomes Danny’s apprentice, or does she? Talk about a learning curve!

Dekker had my mind in lock step with a literary trend called the Unreliable Narrator, currently white-hot in the domestic noir genre. These two are so cerebral and complex with philosophical thought, several times throughout I didn’t know if I believed either one of their stories. At the story's heart, Dekker paints two flawed but sympathetic people whose ends I was uncertain of. I think Dekker boxed himself into a corner a bit with this tale, and I’m not sure he got all the way out of it. I trust what integrity these two broken persons have left will back up the words they speak to each other and Father Andro. But I agree with the reviews of Dekker’s fellow authors on the hardback cover edition: “…utterly compelling…”, “…thrill-a-minute ride…”, “…will haunt you…”. I say yes, yes, and yes!
Posted By: Cortez Law III
Saturday, March 11th 2017 at 10:10PM
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