19. Burn by Ted Dekker

Burn by Ted Dekker & Erin Healy (Canada) -(US)

Pages: 368 +reader's guide material
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 3, 2010
First Published: Jan. 12, 2010
Genre: supernatural, suspense, Christian Fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Salazar Sanso raised his binoculars and looked out over the edge of the steep drop into the rosy New Mexican desert.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: I've become a fan of Dekker's new mainstream thrillers and wanted to try one of his books from a Christian publisher.

Summary: Janeal lives in a Gypsy community but is not altogether accepted. Her father is the leader but she is half white. She has always felt the need to leave, do her own thing and knew that one day she would. Then Salazar Sanso, a powerful and dangerous man, comes to her with a way to help her father get out of a terrible life/death "business" deal and offers her a life of everything she's dreamed. Janeal has her own life and death choices and consequences to deal with, that leave few of her Gypsy community alive.

Comments: My summery is quite brief, I think the publisher's jacket summary gives away too much information and I hate knowing something that happens halfway through the book so I've tried to keep the mystery remaining in my own summary.

I loved this book! It was a fantastic read. The plotting of the book was superb. Part One takes place when the characters are teenagers and is itself a complete story. Then Part Two picks up fifteen years later and slowly reveals who is left and what is happening now. Then at a certain point we are hit with an absolutely shocking and surreal twist. From that point on it is a fast paced roller coaster ride to the end.

The characters are great. Janeal, the main character, is the one the reader most feels for, though she isn't necessarily someone you will like. She is shown from both sides of her personality, the teenager she used to be and the adult she has become. The book is very well written and while the Parts are quite distinct from each other and the pace goes from slow to fast, it never drags, and it always holds together seamlessly. The shocker was cleverly placed and became a "Holy Wow!" moment for the book, totally shaking things up and moving the book to another level. I really, really enjoyed the plot, the suspense and the thrill of this book.

To speak of the Christian Fiction aspect of this book, I think it's a long shot to be labeled with that genre. The book is clean (ie. no swearing, so s*x). There is one Christian character who is quietly so and could be found in any mainstream book. The real CF part of this book comes, if one looks at it that way, from the theme, which does have a character announcing Biblical prophecy to set it up. I don't want to give anything away so this is a bit difficult to go into. However, I did not buy the Christian theme, it did not correspond with my beliefs, it may with yours, but I felt it could just as easily be interpreted as a supernatural (a la Stephen King) theme.

This all leads to say that it doesn't matter, didn't affect my enjoyment of the book and don't be afraid to pick up the book because it's by a Christian publisher. Christians and non alike who enjoy a good suspense story with a bit of the unexplained thrown in for good measure are sure to enjoy. I surely did!


  1. Thanks for the review, Nicola! As you may have already seen, I didn't enjoy the book as much. I just thought it didn't measure up to his other books. I'm restlessly waiting for Dekker's next one, though!


  2. I'm eager for his next one too! Does this mean you've read Kiss? Better or worse than Burn, in your opinion? As I thought I'd give that a try to decide whether I might like Erin Healy's new (on her own) book.

  3. I did read Kiss, but I don't remember much about it. I guess it didn't leave much of an impression on me. But, if you liked Burn, you will probably like Kiss. Also, did you know that Erin Healy will be putting out one of her own books this year?

  4. Oh, sorry. I see that you DID know about Healy's new book. (whoops!)


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