Saturday, February 18, 2012

Adam by Ted Dekker (Guest Post by Kate Sutter)

While Ted Dekker’s fiction horror/thriller Adam may be classified as “YA fiction,” it is definitely not for the immature. Written in a similar vein as popular shows like Criminal Minds, it will appeal to readers who like a good crime/suspense thriller. The story is based on an FBI behavioral pathologist Daniel Clark (who is so obsessed with the case that it brought about his divorce) teaming up with a forensic pathologist Laura Ames to catch a serial killer (Eve) with a background in kidnapping and child abuse. Clark's ex-wife is also investigating the case in an attempt to help bring peace. They use some techniques that will be familiar to crime show watchers and some that are not Standard Operating Procedure. Adults should be aware that Clark has his heart stopped twice as an attempt to relive his "near death experience" with the killer from the time Clark saw and almost Eve. The end of the book contains an exorcism when it is determined that the killer is driven by generational demonic possession. Even though Dekker repeatedly portrays the main characters as not religious, they put up very little resistance to the action. 

I liked how Dekker split up the story into sections, beginning each with a magazine article installment about the crime written after the killer is caught. The final segment seemed less developed than the rest of the book and seems to assume the reader has committed to the story long enough to overlook missing details that made the rest of the book hard to put down. It does not take away from the story too badly but left me with questions I did not expect to have when I came to the end. I felt like I needed a sequel just to find out what happened with all the characters.

The book is technically Christian fiction, but like other books I have read from this genre by authors like Dekker, Frank Peretti, and sometimes Randy Alcorn, they tend to be light on being “preachy.” These authors do shy away from the foul language and sex found any much contemporary fiction, but do not avoid it completely. A non-religious reader might not notice much “Christian” in some of these author's books at all, though most reference Christian views of themes such as redemption and good versus evil, and the supernatural world more overtly than secular novels. 

3 Stars

Teacher Advisories
Sex 0/5 
There’s some sexual tension between the two FBI agents, and at one point the pathologist tells Clark’s ex-wife that they haven’t been together. Definitely nothing a teenager will be concerned with, and probably not their parents either.
Language 0/5
I don’t remember seeing anything….
Substance Abuses 0/5
Unless you count getting totally intoxicated on someone's soul...than I bump it up to a 1/5.
Violence 4/5
This is a horror book about a serial killer, ya know. ☺ There are details without being overly gory especially in the final scene. It's also on the creepy side.

Touchy Subjects

Supernatural/Spiritual Concerns
The killer’s relationship with the Catholic church, unbelief in God, and demon possession are all prominent in the story and become more so as the story progresses. As a Protestant, I was not offended by anything until the very end where I saw parts of the exorcism as gimmicky, mostly due to lack of detail. The book is not trying to convert any readers to a belief, but religious elements are an overarching part of the story.
Final analysis – this book should be read by mature readers who are prepared to confront beliefs (or possibly, suspend them completely) about the supernatural and religion. Even if they do not believe in such matters, a hostile opinion or inability to maintain an open mind to these themes will make if difficult finish the book.
Motivation (and consequences)
For both Daniel Clark (FBI Agent) and Eve/Alex Trane/Alex Price (serial killer)
Medical Ethics
Good vs. Evil
Clark’s obsession with the case, his ex-wife’s obsession with winning him back, the consequences of being obsessed

How this book is used in the classroom
1] Independent Read option
Use as a choice book. Know who is reading it.

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