I just finished reading Thr3e by Ted Dekker and wanted to share my impressions with you while they were still fresh in my mind. I read the book over the last two days and I have to say that I feel like I wasted my time. I was really enjoying it until about over halfway into it and then the plot turned and it became a totally different book and I couldn't believe that the author was actually going in that direction and when he kept going in that direction I wanted to throw the book down and go do something else. But I couldn't, I felt compelled to continue and when I did I was stunned by the sheer stupidity of the ending.
The book is a psychological thriller about a seminary student, Kevin who is tormented by a psycho who wants him to confess his sin. The psycho rigs Kevin's car with a bomb and then threatens to blow it up in three minutes unless he calls a radio station to confess his sin. The psycho gives Kevin a riddle to help him figure out what his sin is but Kevin can't solve the riddle or think of anything so he ditches the car and it blows up but doesn't injure anyone.
Kevin returns to his home to discover that the psycho had been there and wants Kevin to continue playing the game until he understands what he is to confess. The psycho wants Kevin to bring in his childhood friend, Samantha to help him solve the riddles. Is the psycho someone from their past? Kevin's troubled childhood is explored so that they can find the answers to the riddle and discover who is the psycho.
The underlying theme of the book is the conflict between good and evil in the soul of man. This passage is at the heart of the story:
It hints at the sin that Kevin is to confess (don't worry, I didn't give anything anyway by telling you that). There is much discussion about the nature of man and you can tell that a Christian wrote the book (though they don't spend much time talking about grace or the gospel).
Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
As I said the first part of the book is great, it grips you and there is great interest in the story and even when I suspected the direction the book was going in I still found it interesting and gripping but when it was clear that the author was taking you down an even wackier path than you originally suspected I felt cheated, like the author had set up a game of three card Monty. It was a rip off. The author completely deconstructed the story that he took so long to construct. It was an amazing act of destruction. You just sit there in stunned disbelief that the author would think he could get away with something this ludicrous.
Needless to say I'm not recommending the book even from the car wreak type of interest you might have in trying to find out why I disliked the book so much. Don't bother. If you want to know what ticked me off so much, email me and I'll tell you. Or you can rent the movie and waste two hours of your life instead of a couple days like I did.
BTW, I'm stunned that they actually made a movie out of this book. I can't believe that an audience would appreciate such a plot device that was this unbelievable, especially given the fact that the lie would be more obvious when it's put on the screen.