How many times would you die to protect the ones you love? This is the question that Daniel Clark faces in Ted Dekker’s bestselling novel, Adam. Clark finds himself investigating a mysterious serial killer dubbed only as Eve. The hunt has become his life’s obsession. But to finally put Eve behind bars, Clark must be willing to die — more than once. Like many Dekker novels, Adam doesn’t fit into any particular genre and has the ability to take cliche’s and transform them into fresh and exciting concepts. This, alongside a strong cast of characters, makes Adam amongst the strongest books by Dekker.
The book begins like so many other mystery/thrillers: there is a serial killer murdering woman after woman and the FBI is still struggling to bring him down. Yet, it doesn’t take long for Dekker to freshen up the old “get the killer” storlyline as the book takes turns its focus to everything from Near Death Experiences to demon possession. Although Dekker’s handling of these topics isn’t exactly fully realistic, it doesn’t need to be. Looking at the work as a piece of fiction by a writer who doesn’t hesitate to mix in elements of fantasy into his thrillers, this book just works despite its lack of realism.
Perhaps one of the best strengths of the book is the characters. While I’ve always felt that Dekker’s characters weren’t as strong as his plots, Adam contains a strong cast of characters that compliment each other well. Even the lead female roles are strong, particularly for a Dekker novel. Further, the mysterious killer, dubbed simply as “Eve” (I felt the killer’s title was a bit forced) is one of the best villains in the genre. One can’t help but pity the character as his entire backstory is revealed and in reality, Eve is just as much a victim as the women he’s murdered.
The narrative is rather typical of a Dekker novel; simple, easy to read, engrossing, etc. Its not beautiful or artistic but it keeps the reader turning the pages. The use of newspaper articles spread throughout the book was a useful and creative way to tell the story and helped the reader gain a fuller understanding of the events. The dialogue was strong, aided by the strong characters. Dekker avoids some of the ridiculous lines that have plagued some of his later works (such as the horrendously misplaced “party pooper” line in Immanuel’s Veins). Overall, the story is very well told.
One of the bigger criticisms readers will likely make against Adam is the ending. It is a bit of a different feel from the rest of the book; however, I enjoyed it myself. The plot twist felt somewhat forced but it worked. The biggest flaw about the conclusion to Adam was that it ended rather abruptly. It would have worked much better if Dekker had allowed some more room for the falling action. But, all in all, even a flawed ending doesn’t take away from the strengths of the rest of the book.
I would have to rank Adam amongst the strongest Dekker novels; not far behind such masterpieces as Thr3e and Showdown. While Adam most certainly has it flaws, the book works as a good yarn. Ted Dekker is amongst the best writers of our time and books such as this show us why. Any Dekker fan has to pick this book up and its a good place for one to start a Dekker addiction. Any thriller or fantasy fan should find something to enjoy about Adam. Even if the book isn’t perfect, its more than good enough for a good read.
Content: R for mature thematic elements, strong graphic violence, and some disturbing narrative