Sunday, May 16, 2010

Arty -- Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

Adult novels aren't my forte, especially (as much as I hate to admit it) Christian adult novels. There are good ones, there are bad ones, and there are really, really bad ones.

And then there's Ted Dekker.

Shauna McAllister argued with her father the night she drove over the side of a bridge, taking her little brother Rudy with her. When she wakes up after a six-week-long coma, she doesn't remember anything that was once of importance to her. All there is is 1) charges of drug possession and use, 2) a boyfriend she can't remember, 3) a hateful stepmother and an estranged father (who is also running for US President), 4) a little brother with brain damage. All of which is, apparently, Shuana's fault, and none of which Shauna can explain. Naturally, Shauna wants - needs - to find out more.

Cue scandals, conspiracies, death plots, and paranormal activities.

There are many, many books out there, I know, that hinge on amnesia, the rush to remember what desperately needs to be remembered. But this is why Ted Dekker is successful - he can take a cliché and make it throat-grabbing, as he did with Kiss.

That said, most of the characters don't have a great amount of fleshing out; we don't see too deeply what makes them tick in their usual lives. We're told, not shown. Of course, we don't really need character development; there's too much character action going on. And this is not a change-the-MC-into-a-better-person book. Regardless, knowing the characters, especially Shauna, a little better would have made it a more enjoyable experience.

Shauna did have her shining moments; except for a few instances near the beginning, she's not a flimsy, teary heroine always needing her knight in shining armor to hand her a Kleenex. Speaking of whom, her knight in shining armor was better developed, more dynamic than most of the others. If you're a female, be prepared to fall in love. I do wish, though, that Dekker had kept a certain photographer and Shauna's brother Rudy more in the spotlight. They were good characters that deserved more attention, along with Khai's little subplot that went woefully underdeveloped.

The ending of Kiss also left something to be desired. The secret was unraveled; Shauna knew everything; now to apprehend the bad guys! Except, the bad guys weren't really as bad, as it turns out - when it comes to defending themselves against a twenty-something amnesiac woman, at least. Too easy. As was Shauna's development of her paranormal ability that crops up about a fourth of the way into the novel - why did she have it? How did it work? Had she always had it, or was it a product of her coma? All unanswered question.

Despite all the things I put above, I really do love Kiss. It's the kind of fast-paced thriller that I've come to expect and enjoy from Ted Dekker. Was it perfect? No. Was it awesome? Most definitely yes. (And who can't say the cover art isn't amazing?)

As a sidenote, Erin Healy just published her own first novel, titled Never Let You Go. I haven't read it, but if she worked so well with Ted Dekker, I'd imagine it has some merit to it.

1 comment:

  1. KISS was not exactly what I expected from Ted Dekker, but enjoyable even if somewhat predictable. Of course, a good predictable novel always makes me feel intelligent so it was a winner regardless.