For readers of CBA fiction, the name of the book coupled with the name of the author will not be a surprise. However, this book is considered Dekker’s first “mass market” novel. It is released by Center Street, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group. This book is getting huge promotion, is a Barnes and Noble “Pick of the Week,” and in just a few days is number 53 on the whole site.
A Texas serial killer called BoneMan is looking for the perfect daughter. Seven young women were apparently unable to meet his standards, and were found with their bones broken, but no open wounds. Two years ago a man was tried and convicted as BoneMan, but a problem with evidence is setting him free.
Ryan Evans is a Navy intelligent officer returning from a tour in Iraq. Traumatized by capture, he realizes he had let down his wife and daughter, and only wants to return and atone for his mistakes.
Only BoneMan is back, and has found a new daughter: Bethany Evans.
Ryan is desperate to rescue his daughter and engages BoneMan directly, even as the FBI wonders about his background and the suspicious timing of the kidnapping. Are Ryan and BoneMan one in the same?
BoneMan’s Daughters is unmistakably Dekker: suspenseful, intense, with puzzles and twists to keep you guessing until the end. Is Ryan BoneMan? Will Bethany survive? As a page-turner, Dekker doesn’t disappoint.
I was disappointed to a degree with the characterization though. In a Youtube interview, Dekker says that the primary character is meant to be an “everyman.” This makes sense, as I didn’t know much about Ryan. I cared about the plight of Bethany, but Ryan seemed pretty one-dimensional: a distraught father who acknowledges his previous failure. Bethany is a more compelling character, with a background and a lot of internal conflict as she stives to survive.
BoneMan is successful as a twisted outcast of a man, with unique traits that set him apart from the standard “psycho serial killer.” His allusions from the book of Proverbs were an interesting literary touch. Still, Dekker did a better job with his characters in Thr3e.
Overall, Dekker writes with a message. There’s always wrestling with truth in the context of the battle of good and evil. Questions of war, love, evil are all present. There are some touching themes that deserve deeper thought. I don’t want to prejudice, so see what you come up with on your own.
BoneMan’s Daughters is another solid suspense from the mind of Dekker, but I didn’t feel it was his best outing. It should please his longtime fans and win him new ones. If this is his major market splash, it definitely beats junk like James Patterson.
If you would like to read the first chapter of BoneMan’s Daughters, go HERE.
To win one of three free copies, leave a comment by 4/23, using the name of a Dekker novel creatively in a sentence. Good luck!