This book centers on Kevin Parson, a seminary student living in California. One day, while driving home from school, Kevin receives a phone call. The person on the other end of the line informs Kevin that he has three minutes to solve a riddle and “confess his sin” or the caller will blow up the car. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse involving Kevin, Richard Slater (the caller), Samantha Sheer (Kevin’s closest childhood friend), and Jennifer (an FBI agent with a troubled past of her own). Slater is obsessed with a sin from Kevin’s past and also with the number ‘three’. Each of his riddles somehow involves the number three and takes Kevin one step closer to revealing to the world Kevin’s dark secret. Kevin doesn’t know what sin Slater wants to have revealed and struggles as he is forced to delve deeper into his own troubling past in order to save the lives of Slater’s victims.
This book deals with some very interesting concepts while still being a very compelling psychological thriller. The concept of good and evil residing in every human is a main theme. Slater is a psychopath who is willing to kill innocent people to prove his point and get his way. Alternately, Samantha is an authority figure who is willing to sacrifice her own welfare and safety to help Kevin in any way she can.
Another compelling aspect of this book is how Kevin’s past is slowly revealed to us. In the beginning of the book, Kevin has no idea who Slater is or what he wants. However, it soon becomes apparent that he is living in denial. As Slater continues to ask his riddles and threaten innocent lives, Kevin is forced to face his past and reveal it to those trying to help him. As we slowly learn about his past, we come to feel for Kevin more and more. By the end of the book, we were so empathetic to Kevin, that we couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
The best thing about this book, however, is the way that it kept us guessing the entire time. At first, we were looking forward to reading a good narrative and learning about how things were going to end. Very quickly, we discovered that Ted Dekker was not going to give us the story; we had to guess it. Each new development in the book added another piece to the puzzle. However, at the same time, it also made the puzzle more complex, so that you don’t know how it is going to end up! About two-thirds of the way through the book, we got to the point where we thought we knew how it was going to end but realized that we really had no clue. We were totally guessing, and we are usually pretty good at figuring stuff like this out. We won’t say any more about the end of this book, so as not to give anything away, except to say that it was one of the best endings we have read.
As far as Christian novels go, this one was pretty light on the Christian themes. You really could read this book and not know that it was a “Christian” novel. But, if your idea of a Christian book is one that does not have too much profanity, then this is a fairly good example of that.
Overall, this was one of the best books that we have read in a very long time, and we recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller. Some of the descriptions of Kevin’s past were somewhat graphic, so we do urge a bit of caution to the faint of heart, but we strongly recommend this book.
We will give Thr3e by Ted Dekker… 4 ½ Bookworms.