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Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Sinner

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Sinner: Ted Dekker, August 15—25, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊

SinnerSinner is the third part of the Paradise Trilogy which itself forms part of the Chronicles of History. The trilogy centres around orphan Billy’s decision to write in one of the blank books only for his evil creation, Marsuvees Black, to come to life.

Sinner is very much a sequel and a stand-alone at the same. There are sufficient references to Showdown and Saint, but the plot is removed enough from the preceding instalments to be read in isolation. In fact, Dekker now recommends reading the series backwards and allowing these references to be teasers.

This final instalment is set 13 years after the creation of Black. Billy is now a criminal defence lawyer and his ex-girlfriend Darcy is living a secluded life, traumatised by the events of Showdown. At the opening of the book, Billy gains the ability to read minds while Darcy becomes capable of making minds up. No sooner does this occur do they find themselves working with the FBI, CIA, Senate, White House and other assorted national leaders.

Sinner explores the balance between free speech and tolerance, and how that fits into Christianity which is, by definition, exclusivist. It’s a genuinely tricky issue which is handled badly by overstating the reaction of the government. In general, Dekker rams every message down your throat to the point of distraction. Every character insists on banging on at length about how much they never think about a person’s race, which sounds unnatural and forced. Subsequent themes about the shunning of Christians by a secular society are similarly heavy-handed, and it seems as though the story is very much a vehicle for Dekker’s sermons.

Character development is rushed for all concerned. It seems to happen suddenly, dramatically and then lead to a plateau for a while. It’s not believable, the characters are not likeable and it’s difficult to invest in them. The plot is very over-the-top and uncertain of its purpose. Is this a supernatural thriller? A political thriller? A spiritual exegesis? And whatever it is builds quite suddenly to a very dramatic over-the-top climax where characters insist a quickly changing rainbow of ideas are each ‘the only way’ without ever really explaining the need for them.

Most disappointing is the short shrift handed to Marsuvees Black, who is largely absent for the majority of the book. He steals the scenes he appears in early on, but later he is badly mistreated by the author later on which betrays his earlier menace.

There are some good points. It’s great to be back in Paradise again and to live in that little close-knit village for a while, however short lived. There are also a couple of genuine surprises and the traditional Dekker twist at the end is clever, even if not particularly – dare I say it? – interesting.

Undeniably a Dekker, he has gathered some complex issues but hasn’t constructed them well into a narrative. Sinner misses the mark, and the high bar set by Showdown and overall it’s a little disappointing.

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2 comments on “Sinner

  1. Pingback: Renegade | Simon's Bookcase

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This entry was posted on August 25, 2014 by in 3 star, Books Of History Chronicles and tagged .

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@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare