The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker (Center Street, April 19, 2011), 368 pages
The Priest’s Graveyard centers around Danny Hansen, a priest who doles out punishment to people who have skirted justice through the usual channels, and Renee Gilmore, who has dedicated herself to getting revenge for the murder of the man she loved.
There’s one particularly bloody scene early on that had me seriously considering quitting this book. I’m not prone to a weak stomach, and I’ve most of Dekker’s recent thrillers (he’s prolific); this is the first one I had such a visceral reaction to. [My reaction could be related to my more-fragile-than-normal state when I picked the book up, but what’s a girl with a deadline to do?]
I’m still going back and forth a bit on what I think about this book. On the one hand, it’s just another — albeit slightly more stomach-turning — Dekker thriller. On the other, I’m getting tired of this. I felt like he yanked the reader around (I survived because I pulled back and didn’t allow myself to engage on that level because of the aforementioned gore.) by the collar, sticking our collective nose in one dung heap after another until we cry uncle and can successfully restate the message in our own words.
The book is about morality, codes of ethics, right and wrong. He’s making a statement, but it’s one I caught a strong whiff of in the first chapter, so the rest of the book felt heavy-handed.
Dekker feels like a provocateur, like he’s playing devil’s advocate. I feel like his books are more sermons than explorations. That may seem off base, since most of his books (recently, especially) barely rate as Christian at all, but bear with me.
Premise: The best art is created when the artist wrestles with something — an idea, a concept, a problem, etc. The best art asks questions rather than purporting a single answer, particularly when the question hasn’t even been collectively asked!
I feel this book (and many of Dekker’s recent books) started out with a stated agenda. Which makes it propaganda, not art.
I did like the connection to the Bosnian war.
Rating: 2.75 stars
About the author
Ted Dekker (Facebook) is a prolific author, having published more than 20 novels. He’s known for stories that could be described as thrillers. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and children.
Other reviews (most of whom liked it much better than I did)
Books, Movies, and Chinese Food
My Friend Amy
The Bluestocking Guide
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