by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Historical thriller, Christian
It’s 1973, and Stephen Friedman is a realtor in Los Angeles. He has no family, no history, no roots, but that doesn’t bother him–or so he claims. When he finds out that a Jewish Holocaust survivor who died recently might have been his mother, it doesn’t affect him–or so he tries to convince himself. But then he learns that she may have left behind a vast treasure…and some very real danger, both of which are now his to uncover.
This book is quite captivating, as basically a conjunction of many different people’s obsessions. Shown in dual timelines, love, hate, hope, thirst for power–all of these combine into a story that spans almost 30 years. The second time period shown, besides Stephen in 1973, is that of 2 women in a concentration camp in 1944-45. And while their lives are threatened by the man who runs the camp, Stephen’s life is threatened by that Nazi’s serial killer son. It’s really interesting to go back and forth and see the story play out, but also see how the son, Roth Braun, was shaped into a psychopath by his equally sadistic father.
The biggest downside in the story, in my opinion, is right there in the title. It’s not the obsession, per se, but how unrealistically quickly it’s developed by Stephen. And the jump from being obsessed with getting his hands on what his mother might have left to being in love with a woman he’s never met, simply because he’s told they were born for each other, doesn’t stir any emotion in me. Except eye-rolling. Is that an emotion? Plus, too many people in the story seem to have the same take on love and obsession, which is fairly unrealistic.
I also think suspense could have been built a little more without some of the scenes shown from Braun’s perspective. And there was one particular major action he took that did not really add anything to the plot.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the book a lot. It’s not my first time reading it, but it is my first time in 10+ years. I’m really glad it held up as the book I remember loving, and I would recommend it for all fans of Christian suspense or thrillers (understanding that it’s fairly light on a Christian message).
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