Goodreads Review: The Priest’s Graveyard

The Priest's GraveyardThe Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Priest’s Graveyard is fairly standard Dekker; take one part ritual abuse recovery, one part religious overtones, season with self-doubt and hints of romance, incorporate slight twist towards the end and bake until ready.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you; it’s quite competent and interesting and kept me turning the pages until I reached the end. Once I reached that end, I did not feel any revulsion or any qualms about why I had bothered to read it at all. I was satisfied, but that was all it was.

On the technical level, the book does its job; there are no detectable grammatical, spelling or typesetting errors. The language is clear and concise, though thoroughly sanitized as Dekker is prone to doing. The characters are reasonably well formed, with distinct identities, arcs and mannerisms, with most of them providing enough information for you to get inside their heads and understand them without drowning you in exposition; only one stands out as lacking full treatment, our assumed antagonist, but since we never get a POV chapter from him and he’s meant to be at least a little ambiguous, I can live with that. Overall, nothing spectacular, but nothing that ruins the reading experience.

There are a pair of quibbles that I have with the book, however. Were it not for those, it would have bumped the book up to a solid four-star rating, rather than the 3 (and maybe a quarter) I would give it at this point. First is Renee’s backstory. Her interactions with Lamont are painted with rose-colored glasses – which given the circumstances is understandable and expected – but when you reach the end and discover certain things, it feels incomplete, as though there are things that should have been brought up – if not directly, at least hinted at – earlier. It could have been done without spoiling the twist, and given his performance in other novels (Three comes to mind), Dekker is more than up to the task.

The second is the last two pages. The apparent epilogue and the dialogue between our abuse victim and fallen priest is decent if a little saccharine, and could have closed the book out nicely. Then we’re treated to a post-epilogue scene that just feels out of place and, honestly, stupid. Chop those last two pages out, I think you’d have a better book.

Overall, though, a satisfying thriller, and would certainly recommend it to fans of Dekker’s other works, assuming they haven’t gotten sick of his basic formula.

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