Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: WestBow Press
The following review was contributed by: SHELDON (SHELLY) WAXMAN & click to view Shelly's reviews.
The thriller/suspense/mystery (or as they call Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code—“intelligent thrillers”) genre absolutely requires that the premise be rational, realistic, and believable; that one learn something from it; and that it have a chase theme. I have been writing in the genre; so I may be hypercritical. But I think that my new manuscript, “The Josephus Connection” embodies the requirements. I know how difficult it is to keep things moving so that the reader doesn’t stop reading. An unbelievable scenario is sure to make it difficult to continue reading.
Dan Brown is the King of the genre. His scenarios are “way out”; however, they are believable, or at least don’t make you pause, even in the most credibility stretching scenario. Besides the excellent writing, this is what makes Brown so good. Obsessed doesn’t fulfill the believable requirement.
The story does keep you intrigued to the end, if only to see how it all turns out. You do know from the get-go that good will triumph over evil.
The ideas are good in Obsessed but the story is not only unbelievable and preposterous; it is awkwardly told, bizarre and complicated. And the book has a cookie cutter and padded aspect to it.
Stephen, the protagonist, we later find out, is really “David”, a successful Jewish realtor in Los Angeles in the early 1970’s. His dim past includes being orphaned in Europe after WWII.
A quest starts requiring him to seek out his past, which starts a chase for the mythical “five stones of David”—the biblical King David. The stones were those used to slay Goliath. The stones are a sideline. The “real stones of David” are Stephen and “Esther”. David (Stephen) and Esther survived the concentration camps and became separated. Their mothers and fathers didn’t survive. They are destined to be reunited because they are “the true stones”.
There is the Nazi camp commandant father and his evil son. The father gains his power from drinking the blood of Jews. The son is nastier than the dad. The son goes to LA to find the “true stones” because he wants his father to drink their blood and gain their power. The father had lost his power because he let David and Esther go free from the concentration camp without killing them. After the son has his father drink David and Esther’s blood, giving the power back to his father, he will kill his father and drink his blood to get his power.
Stephen (David) wants the stones because they will lead him to Esther—his one predestined true love. The conflict begins in a rather unintended slapstick scenario—leading to a chase in Europe where Stephen fulfills his OBSESSION and finds Esther. The Nazi son also finds Stephen and Esther. Remember, he wants to have his father drink their blood. Here’s the son’s comment why he needs to drink blood to gain power:
“Because it makes me strong. Pure. What most Aryan purists won’t tell you is that the Jews have more power than any other race—that’s a spiritual matter we don’t have time to go into. Hitler’s solution was to eradicate them. Not a bad plan, but shortsighted. Better to take their power.”
It all ends with the uniting of Stephen and Esther—destined to be lovers and raise a family—the line of King David. The evildoers are slain. The five stones are found and presumably turned into prime real estate in LA. Happy, happy, happy—the end. See what I mean? It’s more complicated than this but I think I have given you a glance at the plot.
Dekker is publicized as a “best selling” author. He has many previous books of the same genre. I haven’t read any of them. I expect that he made his fame on better previous books because this one doesn’t make it.