BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker
Boneman’s Daughters tells the story of Ryan Evans, a naval intelligence officer whose life gets turned upside down after being taken hostage in Iraq. Despite his extensive training and understanding of the techniques used during hostage-type interrogations, the stress and strain associated with his captivity break him down and make him resolve to change for the better, especially when it comes to his estranged family. Early on in his daughter’s life, he chose his military carrier over his family. As a result, he has very little contact with his wife Celine or his daughter Bethany. After getting clearance, he returns home to Texas in hopes of reclaiming what he now knows is the most important thing in his life.
Unfortunately, his revelation may have come too late. Celine has found love with the local district attorney who won a recently overturned conviction in the Boneman serial killer case and wants a divorce. Bethany, who doesn’t necessarily get along well with her mother, wants nothing to do with her father. Perhaps because of his Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, Ryan does not handle the rejection as constructively as he should. After therapy and making one final gesture toward Bethany, Ryan is able to move on with his life alone. Once again, his resolve comes to late. When Bethany is taken from her home by the Boneman, the State of Texas and his ex-wife look to him as the primary suspect.
This novel was more than just a good read. It is a story the reader experiences through almost every sense. I saw the words upon the page, felt the Boneman’s cool and smooth, smelled the ever present scent of Noxema, and heard the popping sound of breaking bones. Having almost my entire body engaged in a novel added to the suspense and the thrill. During the time in which I read this novel, my daughter got sunburned. I grew up using Noxema to sooth the pain at night. As it turns out, we were completely out. So, not long after reading a detailed account of how Boneman continuously slathers Noxema all over his body to keep his skin perfect, I had to buy some at the drug store and rub it on my daughter. This seemed just a little bit spooky to me and I will never look at or smell Noxema in the same way again.
The one source of objection I had was over the way that adoption was used almost as a tool. Ryan and Celine never tell her about this and it is used to partially explain Celine’s odd and distant parenting style. This left wide open the possibility to assume that Celine didn’t love Bethany as much as she might have loved a biological child. This stereotype – or at least stereotypical concern – about adoption only made Celine feel that much more like a caricature. The adoption plot line came in to play substantively only as a setup for a revelation Ryan makes at the end of the novel. That twist didn’t work for me either, especially since it didn’t further or complete the story.
I don’t read suspense all that often, but I usually enjoy them when I do. After reading Go With Me by Castle Freeman, Jr., I was really put in the mood for a great thriller. Boneman’s Daughters hit the spot. This is my first Ted Dekker novel, but it will not be the last. I found this novel interesting and engaging from the moment Ryan’s Hummer was attacked in the Iraqi dessert. There was not enough graphic violence to disturb me, but enough to get my heart racing. Best of all, the ending isn’t as happily ever after as you might expect. It left me wanting to know what happened afterward. This novel was not perfect, but it was perfectly enjoyable. If you enjoy a thrilling, suspenseful novel, this should be high on your list.
Miriam at Hatchett Books has graciously going to provide a copy of Boneman’s Daughters to three of my lucky readers. The giveaway is open until 11:59 EST on 5/4/2009. If you haven’t entered already, what are you waiting for?
To buy this novel, click here.